Tuesday, January 4, 2011

2010 Reviewed

Shanghai - 9 months
Florence, Oregon - 2 months and one week
South Korea - 12 days
Hong Kong - 5 days
Kuala Lumpur - 4 days
Suzhou - 2 nights
Beijing - 1 night
Moganshan - 1 night
San Francisco - Several hours

I became a resident of the PRC, I got a job, then a promotion, I wrote two cover stories, plus a bunch of inside articles, I stayed at the Shangri-La, the Marriott, and the Hyatt for free (three Hyatts actually). I had a bunch of free food, a complimentary bikini wax, a couple massages, a tea ceremony lesson, a trip to a hairy crab farm, a free round of virtual golf, plus some other swag odds and ends I know I'm forgetting. I met loads of interesting people. Basically, this magazine thing is a pretty cool gig.

This time last year I still felt like I would move back to Los Angeles rather soon, now it doesn't seem like I'll ever go back there to live. I'd rather be in the Northwest if I came back to the States, but who knows!

I'm not sure how long I'll be in Shanghai, but definitely through the next 12 months. It all depends on what kind of opportunities arise and where.

Most importantly, I'm writing. There are so many amazing stories in China and I'm lucky to be in a situation where I have a free hand to write about what interests me (except for that annoying censorship thing).

2010 was a good year. It was busy. The first six months in Shanghai were a struggle. It took awhile to adjust to my job, and loneliness is unavoidable when you're starting out as an expat, but now I feel like I have a large, fabulous network of interesting friends from all over the world. And I'm really grateful to have a job in journalism where I get to write stories of my choosing, especially in consideration of the U.S. economy and present state of upheaval in the media industry.

It's not all roses, but I definitely have more to be happy about than to complain about.

2010 Resolutions, revisited:
1. Ruin less stuff - Unsuccessful. I think I ruin the same amount of stuff, probably more since I moved to China and I have an evil washing machine that dismembers socks, nylons and other things.
2. Continue serious Chinese studying, begin learning simplified characters. - Successful. My reading is coming along. It used to happen only rarely, but more and more I'm looking at advertising and street signs where I'll know 80 - 100% of the characters used.
3. Write more. - Very successful.
4. Don't be afraid to fail. - Not sure. I don't think I had any really notable failures in 2010, so maybe this is still one to work on?

2011 Resolutions
1. Travel more within China
2. Save a bit of money each month
(I realize these two are in conflict, hopefully at least one will play out successfully)
3. Find more language exchange friends
4. Drink less Coke
5. Go to at least one new country (I hit two last year!)
6. Read more books than I did last year
7. Make the first move more often: I'm good at making friends and I know a lot of people, but I feel like I usually wait for people to approach me in mingling situations.

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