Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 10
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

All packed…and we aren’t leaving for the airport right now?!

I (and the rest of my family for that matter) am notorious for waiting till the last minute to pack for a trip. I spent 2 months in Thailand this past summer and did not start packing until 6 hours before we were supposed to be en route to LAX. When it was time to head to Walla Walla as a first year, I didn’t start packing till 3 pm the day before (my plane left at 8 am the following morning). Despite the last minute craze, I rarely forget anything. Luck…I mean, skill, I suppose.

In less than 24 hours, I will be en route to Shanghai, China! Here’s some quick facts about Shanghai:

  • Shanghai is the largest city in China with a total population ~24 million as of 2013.
  • Shanghai is China’s global financial center. I have heard the comparison that Washington D.C. à Beijing what NYC à Shanghai.
  • Shanghai, written in characters, is 上海。上 (shàng = above) and æµ· (hÇŽi = sea), so it translates together as “upon-the-sea.”
  • Some English nicknames for Shanghai are “Pearl of the Orient” and “Paris of the East.”

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shanghai

Shanghai is a pretty big city. 24 MILLLION people. New York City’s population is 8.3 million. Los Angeles County is 9.9 million and the entire state of Texas of 26 million. Only 2 million more people live in all of Texas than in the city of Shanghai. So, yeah, Shanghai is kind of huge. Source: US Census Bureau.

Shanghai: 1987 and 2013; Source: Reuters/Stringer; Carlos Barria (www.theatlantic.com/infocus/2013/08/26-years-of-growth-shanghai-then-and-now/100569/)

You may be wondering why I’m leaving SO late to go on my study abroad trip. This is the sixth week of classes for Whitties, most likely everyone’s already had some midterms, and I have been lounging around in sunny Southern California for the past 8 weeks (no winter storms here, if you’re wondering). Yes, my winter break was looong. The reason we start so late is because of the Chinese New Year.

Chinese New Year, also called the Spring Festival, is celebrated from Chinese New Year’s Eve (which is the last day of the last month of the lunar calendar) until the Lantern Festival (which is 15th day of the first new month). Chinese New Year is the longest Chinese festival and this year, it began on January 31st. Chinese universities take their winter break during the festival, so classes don’t begin again in China till mid to late February, which is why I’m leaving February 22. My program (CIEE: China in a Global Context) doesn’t finish till June 8th, so it is a little longer than Whitman’s semester. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_New_Year

You may also be wondering why my blog title is so long. Well, it’s because it’s a Chinese proverb! 燕雀擁有鴻鵠志 – little sparrow with dreams of swans. I tried looking for a shorter one, but this was my favorite, so I figured y’all would be fine (or could just get over it).

I found the proverb in Adeline Yen Mah’s book, A Thousand Pieces of Gold: Growing Up Through China’s Proverbs. To be honest, I haven’t read the book yet, but it will be my companion on the 15 hours worth of plane flights that loom before me. In this book, Yen Mah translates the proverb as “someone with lofty ambition and high aspirations,” which is how I am currently imagining my trip to China (243). My greatest goal is to drastically improve my Chinese, which I think will be quite possible having 4 hours of Chinese class Monday – Thursday, in addition to the fact that I will be living in CHINA! Yeah, I’m starting to get excited!

For now, 再见!

-The Sparrow

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