Back to School

I jokingly posted on facebook this Thursday that I think it was my 23rd first day of school; while some people where congratulating me on that accomplishment (which made me laugh, since I’m not sure it’s an accomplishment), I had a great first day, and I am feeling really inspired as I enter my second year in Ph.D. program in Anthropology at Princeton. I recently posted about the great trip my husband and I took to China this summer, and since we returned I have been continuing my quest to learn more about Chinese culture, language, and specifically, a growing presence of foster care in the country.
Over the month of August, I worked with a local tutor in Princeton, trying to finish up my study of the Chinese 2 book. I took the placement test last Wednesday, and am pleased to announce that all my hard work in China paid off this summer, and I will be skipping from Chinese 1 into Chinese 3 this fall. It is not only a proud moment for me that makes me feel like I am making progress in my language, but it is also a good confirmation that I need to trust in myself and my ability to see my goals through–the professors constantly told me last year that unless I participated in their summer program there was no way I would be able to test into Chinese 3. As it turns out, I feel my research and language-study trip in China was a wonderful combination that I couldn’t have gotten in their program, and has served me well language-wise!
A couple nights ago, my husband and I were at a local university party, and ran into a Ph.D. student from Nanning, the very city we hope to return to in China! She was just as surprised, given the small size of the city and that it is relatively unknown to foreigners. We had a wonderful conversation–her parents are university professors, which could be a great connection for Evan and I as he wants to teach English, and I need official support for me research.
Finally, I am reminded of just how tenuous the situation is for children in China, and how poignant my study of foster care continues to be. I feel great pressure and responsibility regarding the way I portray this topic through others through my study and my writing; recently China has been in the news regarding adoption (not for good reasons), and you can read more here. But I also feel great excitement and inspiration. I continue to feel that I am blessed to be on a new adventure, and I know this year will be a great part of preparing and planning for it.

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