Friday, May 25, 2012

Countdown to China

In a little more than forty-eight hours I'll be heading to the Indy airport to fly to Chicago; I'll stay overnight at an airport hotel there, and then on Monday morning, I'll hop on another plane and travel half the world away to CHINA!

I was lucky enough to be invited to the inaugural Chinese/American children's literature conference, hosted this year at Ocean University in Qingdao, China.  Ten American scholars and ten Chinese scholars were invited to attend.  The theme of the conference is "The Image of the Child in Chinese and American Children's Literature."  My paper is titled "Wimpy Boys and Spunky Girls: The Image of the Gendered Child in Postwar American Children’s Literature."  It looks at the trend in chapter books to create series starring strong, sassy girls versus series starring hapless, overwhelmed boys and locates the origin of this trend in the Henry Huggins and Ramona Quimby books of Beverly Cleary.  All of our papers had to be submitted by April 1 to allow time for translation, as the conference will be bilingual.

Before the conference begins on June 1, several of the American scholars are meeting first in Beijing for sightseeing.  I'll have one day on my own with two scholar friends going to the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square and one day going on an organized tour to the Great Wall and the Summer Palace.  We'll also have a sightseeing day in Qingdao, which lies right on the Yellow Sea.

I think I have everything in order: passport, visa, hotel reservations in Beijing (everything will be taken care of for us in Qingdao), high-speed train reservations from Beijing to Qingdao, business cards (I learned on my trip to Taiwan that people in Asia love exchanging business cards), gifts for our hosts, travel guide, and lots of books downloaded onto my Kindle to read on the plane, as well as plenty of pads and pens for writing, of course.  

I'm only going for a little more than a week, but it's so far away - and it's CHINA!  So today I feel like Marco Polo must have felt as I double-check my piles to make sure I haven't forgotten anything.  Oh, maybe I need a plug adapter so I can recharge my Kindle and Ipad at the hotel?  And maybe I need a special notebook for journal of my trip?   Oh, and I should charge the battery for my camera!  And put a vacation message on my email.  And just let myself get as excited as possible.  In just two more days, I'm on my away to CHINA!


  1. Have a safe and wonderful trip, Claudia. They are lucky to have you as part of their conference.

  2. Thanks, Pat and Peggy! I leave for the airport in two hours!

  3. Wow, what a wonderful opportunity. Congratulations!