I learned a new word today. No, not necrophilia, jeez. Neophilia. The love of novelty. In Chinese that would be…what, 恋新癖? I have no idea.

In exactly two days I will be boarding China Eastern Airlines and flying into the unknown. I don’t know where I’ll be staying. I don’t know what my job will entail. I don’t even know what city I’ll be living in, after my brief training period in Shanghai is finished.

All I know is that I will be meeting new people, fumbling through a difficult language, and going on unimaginable adventures. I will get lost. I will be misunderstood. I will eat things with names and flavors indescribable to the English-speaking tongue. And I know, with (almost) certainty, that I will have fun. How do I know this? Because I am a neophile, and I am an optimist.

Still, I am going to miss the familiarity and comfort of my life in Vermont. Specifically, I am going to miss:

-Reading the newspaper without a dictionary

-Raw arugula salad from the farm down the road

-Macaroni and cheese

Anything and cheese

-Walking barefoot through the woods, feeling cool water and dead leaves ooze and crackle beneath my feet

-Blending in

Leaving home for a foreign country isn’t about deleting these familiar memories and replacing them with new ones. It is about expanding one’s awareness and taste to include as wide a variety of human experience as possible. When I first ate the numbing 麻flavor of Sichuan peppers during my semester abroad in China last year, I caught my first glimpse of something entirely new, beyond the realm of familiar experience. I hope you will follow my blog as I continue to stumble upon new flavors, new places, and new adventures in China. Thanks for reading!