a video blog of my 1st China experience

July 6, 2011 - August 8, 2011

for·tune cook·ie
Noun: A thin folded cookie containing a slip of paper with a prediction or aphorism written on it, served in Chinese restaurants.

According to Wikipedia, the exact provenance of fortune cookies is unclear, though various immigrant groups in California claim to have popularized them in the early 20th century, basing their recipe on a traditional Japanese cracker. Fortune cookies have been summarized as being "introduced by the Japanese, popularized by the Chinese, but ultimately... consumed by Americans. In short, FORTUNE COOKIES ARE NOT CHINESE! 

Nonetheless, we've all gotten them, enjoyed the cookie, and then become temporarily amused by what the contents may reveal about our future. They tell and give us advice about our relationships, finances, and all other aspects of our lives. In all seriousness, the "fortune" inside is as useful as the message in the picture above which I personally got sometime last year. However, on occasion, we get fortunes like this (below) that make us wonder.  

I started working for the Confucius Institute at San Diego State University in July of 2010, after interning during my Fall semester in 2009. The Confucius Institute is a non-profit organization that aims to present Chinese culture and language to the Southern California region especially among K-12 schools. As I continued to work here, my interest in the Chinese culture went from a level 2 (based on a 10-point scale) to a level 9. I figured how invaluable I would be as a professional to be able to speak English, Spanish, and Chinese. That's about 70% of the world's population I'd be able to communicate with!

Since the beginning of this year, I would learn so many things about China, the language, writing, music, food, etc, and because of my job, I would always be talking and sharing the culture with hundreds of people while not fully knowing what it's like to be in this place I speak so much of. Many of my coworkers would be sent to China for work, various delegations that we organize would go to experience the country first hand, while I, could only imagine what China would be like through their words and pictures. 
I began to feel very passionate about someday getting a chance to travel 6,000 miles across the Pacific. Then one day, my boss, Dr. Lilly Cheng excitedly called me into her office. She spoke to me about a government program called the 100,000 Strong Initiative, endorsed by President Obama himself. This initiative calls for 100,000 American youth, over time to visit China in hopes of a closer cooperation between the two nations. She then asked me if I wanted to take part in the 2011 International Youth Summit in Beijing in August and that under the 100,000 Strong Initiative, I would qualify for one of the 100 grants awarded to outstanding American students and of course, I accepted and expressed how much I wanted to go to China for the first time. You can say it was a "dream come true". HAHAHA

In the next month, follow me through my journey of China as I explore everything it has to offer. I want to present China through my eyes and show friends and family back home what China is like today. Since I'm unsure of when I'll have access to the internet, I'll do my best to update as much as I can. 

Thank you to my family for the utmost support in every aspect of this trip, I love you. This trip would not be possible without Dr. Lilly Cheng and everyone at the Confucius Institute at SDSU. I know how excited you all are for me to go to China so this one's for you guys! Thank you to my friends for all the encouragement, you know how much this means to me. To all the educators, administrators, staff, and students I have worked with, thank you for making my work so rewarding and enjoyable. Finally to everyone else, may this video blog or vlog be both informational and entertaining that would encourage you to one day visit CHINA!    
Music by Dawen