By Michael Rand
Paige Bromen, a junior on the U of M golf team who was kind enough to break up our slapstick comedy routine with regular dispatches from her trip to witness sports globalization in China, is here to wrap up her stay. Many thanks to Paige for all her hard work and for sharing her experiences. Here are her final words, as well as a picture of her with two bobblehead dolls of the brothers from the 80s band Nelson [that last part is more than likely not true, but that's what she gets for not telling us what they really are].
As my study abroad trip comes to an end, Rand thought it might be good to tie everything together and reflect on my trip … so here goes:
First Beijing. I have become certain of one thing during the past three weeks: China will host the Olympics and they will be spectacular. There are over 100,000 volunteers picked from 500,000 applicants, as well as mass amounts of resources invested into the development — the government is making it rain [RandBall note: Not in the Pacman Jones way. Sorry, Paige, proceed.] preceding the Olympics to cut down on pollution and plans to shut down factories for weeks to ensure healthy looking skies. It is a fact that China, and especially Beijing, will look like a Utopian community.
Next up, Shanghai. Shanghai in general has definitely been the favorite part of my trip. In contrast to Beijing, the city boasts a more entrepreneurial mindset and is less concerned with the political happenings of the party. I could definitely live and work in Shanghai, but I’m afraid you would have to pay me a lot of money to live in Beijing. Maybe it’s the fact that some of the Minnesota Club members play golf every Saturday and softball on Sundays, or that the city has actually acquired suburb-like areas where you can see green grass everyday. I can’t put my finger on it, but it seems like a much more livable city.
Best adventure in China: It’s tough to pick one thing during this experience that was my favorite. I really enjoyed all of the speakers, especially Gordon Fairclough and the Minnesota Club members. But if I had to choose, I think I would have to go with my world’s longest charades game … er … my golf outing in Beijing. It was so much fun to see the similarities and contrasts in the game’s style, and it was one of the only times in my life where I had no idea how to make small talk (back home I learned from the best; we call my dad the Ambassador because he can’t leave a gathering without talking to every person for at least 10 minutes).
OK, so that’s my trip in a nutshell. I have leaned a lot in three weeks, but I am by no means an expert. I have seen a glimpse of the globalization and culture in China, but there is no way I can grasp the entire thing and proclaim I get it.
Special thanks to my editor/roommate, Molly Watters, who I forced to listen to every entry and without whose comments, although sometimes cynical, added a lot of value to these entries.