I had the most bittersweet moment yesterday morning: during that 15 seconds when you first are waking up but you haven’t really stopped dreaming, and you don’t remember where you are, just briefly, this vision of my room at home appeared as if it was what I was going to see when I opened my eyes. It was such a sweet and vivid memory that even when it was shattered by the reality of my stuffy, spartan Chinese hotel room, I still felt like I’d been at home, if but briefly.

We’re wrapping things up in China tomorrow, and will begin the trip home (in real life) in the afternoon. Cross the border to Hong Kong, spend the night there, then fly back to Seattle via Tokyo the next day, arriving around the same time as departure, through the magic of the International Date Line. By the time I get to SeaTac on Friday morning, I will have spent 18 nights away, stayed in 10 different hotels (and spent the night on several airplanes). To say I’m ready to be home would be an understatement of epic proportions.

The trip was not without pleasure or satisfaction: I made some new friends and got some good exercise in Hong Kong, got some fancy shirts tailor-made for cheap, accomplished plenty on the work front, learned a ton of new Chinese vocabulary and ate lots of good food. But all that said, I’m not sad about leaving at all. Is it Friday morning yet?

posted March 31, 2010 – 8:51 am

??! (Ni hao!)

No prizes for guessing where I am (hint: there’s a lot of Chinese food here, they speak Mandarin, and it’s not lower Manhattan or Vancouver).

In fact, this will be my longest work trip yet – 3 weeks away from home – bouncing around between Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Dongguan. I’m about a week in, and totally surviving. Having a bit more of the language under my belt each trip I take definitely helps, and at this point, I’m used to navigating the trains / busses / subways / borders crossings / etc. I’ve come to expect craziness on the work side of things, and particularly on this trip, craziness abounds.

I was hoping to make a bit of an escape next weekend and find a cheap flight up to Shanghai or over to Thailand or the Philippines, but it looks like I’ll be working a bunch, so I’ll have to stick with exploring Shenzhen. I may try to play at least a day at the 2nd Shenzhen Hat Tournament, which will at least get me out and meeting new people, and I’ll definitely make a trip back to the Shenzhen Electronics Market at some point, too.

I did manage to squeeze in a great birthday weekend before I left Seattle, though. Pi Day 2010 was spent lounging around the house, largely recovering from the previous night’s excursion to see what was described ahead of time as appalachian death metal and punk rock sea shanties; it totally lived up to the hype.

And I had a lovely crew with me at Hosoonyi for my birthday dinner proper, which was rounded out by an amazing, triple-decker pie (thanks RV!):

posted March 20, 2010 – 9:43 pm
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