After months of preparation, immunizations, packing, planning, and waiting, the day before our 3 month adventure in Beijing, China is upon us. Never before did I imagine that I would be immersed in an entirely new culture for 3 months, but I feel blessed that we have the opportunity to experience it. At the request of my Aunt Cindy and others, I will be writing this blog in English, not Mandarin :) Having never been out of the country before (Sorry Canada, you don't count), we have already had some exciting new experiences in preparing for our journey. Being immunized for Japanese Encephalitis (among many other things), obtaining our Chinese Visas, meeting students on CouchSurfing who are excited about taking me around Beijing and teaching me Mandarin, and finding out the company Zack will be working for all summer have been among them.
After finishing up at work last Monday and with Zack finishing his exams last week (and ending the semester with 4 - 4.0's and 1 - 3.5!), we have been busy preparing our apartment for our subleasor. Had it not been for meine Mutter coming down to help with these tasks due to my incredible intelligence causing me to puncture my palm last week with glass, I'm not sure if we would have managed to be ready to move out in time. Leaving East Lansing and our home of MSU has made me realize how happy I am that I have chosen to continue my education at MSU this fall for Grad School, as I am not sure that I could feel at home without being on the banks of the Red Cedar.
Having the past few days to be able to visit friends and family before leaving have been absolutely wonderful. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday were spent spending time with parents, siblings, grandparents, and aunts & uncles, while yesterday brought lunch and consignment store shopping with friends who are like my sisters.
As for what to expect when we arrive; I have no idea, but that's OK! After being in a lab environment for the past 3 years, I am looking forward to having a few months of adventure outside of my niche before jumping into the next part of my career. As for Zack, I am confident that he will return from the trip not only with fine-tuned language skills, but also many connections that will help him in his approaching job search. Being at the top of his year for Chinese already and a Chinese Fellowship winner through MSU (I have to brag), I can't wait to see how this experience allows his Mandarin to blossom. Please pray for us as we embark on this life-changing experience. Love and blessings to you all for supporting us. China is upon us!