Subject: Culture shock

So what's it like being by yourself in Beijing? Culture shock is starting to bust a fatty cap on my ass. Here are some interesting tidbits.

-My roommate is a 30 year old Japanese guy. He actually speaks good English. Besides that, I know this girl who got the same scholarship who lives down the hall from me. She's a snob who just graduated from Amherst. Too bad she's taken. Those are the only two people I really know.

-Arriving at the airport with 67.2 pounds of luggage (not including carry-on), trying to find a taxi and exchange money by yourself sucks.

-A running theme for me has been a burning hatred towards people who are here on study abroad programs. They get picked up at airports. They have their meals paid for. They have trips arranged for them, all expense paid. I'll get over it soon.

-The air sucks in Beijing. Imagine a city of 11 million people, powered by coal burning power plants. Then imagine as many cars as you would find in Philadelphia, all burning leaded gas. Combine that with 32 degree C heat, East coast humidity, and what do you get: I don't think I'll ever see a blue sky while I'm here. (Ed: a couple of months later I did happen to see some blue sky)

-The cafeteria food sucks as well. When you guys see me again, I'm sure to have a Keys-like frame.

OK, enough whining. I was cheered up by Rose Maio's multiple reserved-students emails. Things should get better once classes start and I get over myself. Keep me in touch with all of the meaningless minutiae of Swat life.