...I'm ready to go.
Who knew that you could travel to Asia using only carry-on luggage? Well, I didn't, until I found out I'd be packing for 80- to 100-degree weather. Then I realized... shorts and T-shirts take almost no room.
This is the farthest I've ever traveled. And the first time I'll be in a country in whose language I have no hope of making myself understood. I'll go through customs all by myself -- they'll even take my temperature, to make sure I don't carry H1N1 or SARS or MERS in with me -- and then I'll get to spend the next nine days hanging out with a good friend from college, almost the only other person in whose words I'll find meaning.
Despite everything, we've stayed in touch, and now she'll get to show me all the places that now feel familiar to her. Her apartment complex that alone is home to almost as many people as my entire city. Her school. Some of the little restaurants she's learned to order food at (how, I don't know, since everyone speaks Mandarin or some other dialect).
I'll even ride an overnight train with "squatty-potties."
It'll be amazing. I pray I'll grow to understand the country and its peoples in a deeper way than I possibly could just reading a book. (I also pray I don't catch some disturbing disease, haha!)