Monday, January 07, 2013

Drink to the bird!

Next stop, China! Actually, that's not really true. First we have to stop in Los Angeles, which delights me exceedingly because I get to bid farewell to the USA in (my true home?) California. I'm kind of excited that my international comings and goings of late have included these random little California stopovers, because I can pretend that it is a cosmic sign that I should live in L.A. again once I finish teaching English in Asia. I mean, I plan to return to California anyway, but all of those who know me know that I like nothing more than a little cosmic sign from the universe affirming my random decisions. The problem, of course, is that I also want to live in Chicago when I return from Asia, because I'm not quite finished with Chicago, and this doesn't even address the fact that I still want to live in Boston as well as New York. (See a pattern here? I like the places I've lived. Not to mention the other places I love and in which I want to live but haven't got around to yet like Atlanta and San Francisco and Washington D.C., and that's just in the U.S., because I also have so many places abroad still to dwell in..,.)

I digress. I fully intend to do another stint in Chicago and then hie myself to L.A., where I belong, but first! First, I must go to China!

Brian and I have been to China twice. The first trip was in September 2011, and we did the whole Great Wall/Beijing/Shanghai thing. Loved it. (Really loved all the rooftop bars, in both of those cities. I am a China convert based on the rooftop bars alone. Nothing tops a rooftop bar.) (Literally, I suppose.) Then in January 2012, after we had finished our spectacular Habitat for Humanity experience in Cambodia, we visited southern China "on our way" to Thailand. (It's really not that much of a stretch - check the map. Just kind of a little roundabout circle. OK, oval. Oval-like blob shape.) For our southern/south central China experience we hit up Kunming, Jianshui, Chongking, the Yangzi River cruise (this was our key goal/achievement for that trip), Wuhan, and Guangzhou. Many of these places delighted us. One of the places that delighted us was Guangzhou. And guess what? That's where we're headed now.

So, the English teaching adventure continues, and for those of you who don't know anything about Guangzhou, China, here are some fun facts:
  • It's the third largest city in China. (Population: 12 million+. Estimated metropolitan megalopolis area population: 40 million.) 
  • It's on the Pearl River delta. 
  • That means it's down the road (about 80 miles) from Hong Kong and Macau. Yeah, NOW you totally want to visit us. I knew it! 
  • You might know it as "Canton," the former/Western name. You know, as in Cantonese cooking...Cantonese language (that other Chinese language you hear about that's not Mandarin)...or, as Wadsworth famously tells Mrs. Peacock in the fabulous movie Clue, "And monkeys' brains, though popular in Cantonese cuisine, are not often to be found in Washington D.C.!" 
  • I am not going to eat any monkeys' brains.
  • It has among other things: a nice, modern, eight-line Metro transport system that we love; river cruises; skyscrapers; lots of business; lots of expats; universities; etc. 
  • The Canton Tower is there. It's tall. 
  • Sister cities include Fukuoka, Japan (another place we love) and -- wait for it -- Los Angeles! 
And so we're off. I would kindly ask of my peeps in the United States that you please not start a war with China while I am living there, please, and thank you. Or, you know, any other time either. Because war is dumb, as I may have mentioned before. 

I yield the blog to the Pulitzer-winning poet gentleman Edwin Arlington Robinson for a few lines about life and departures: 

"...The bird is on the wing, the poet says, 
And you and I have said it here before. 
Drink to the bird." He raised up to the light
The jug that he had gone so far to fill,
And answered huskily: "Well, Mr. Flood,
Since you propose it, I believe I will." 
                       ---------E.A. Robinson, from "Mr. Flood's Party"