The following is a blog that was originally entitled “I’m Sorry, I’m an American” that I kept while I traveled and studied abroad in Shanghai, China for eight months my sophomore year of college.
I am keeping it here for a few reasons, besides the fact that I don’t want to have to manage a second domain. First of all, while I have gone back and edited the more egregious grammatical errors (most of these entries were written between 1-3am) this blog serves as a mostly pristine time capsule of the first big adventure I ever embarked upon. While both I and my writing skills have matured since I first introduced the internet to my rambling thoughts, I like having such a clear record of my then-thought process. Even after less than three years it already feels like some artifact, a record encased in amber, of a bygone time. There is no telling the meaning this will hold for me as I move out of college into the real world, or even if I eventually go on to having children of my own, who then make their own incredibly questionable decisions regarding street food.
Second of all, I am proud of the work I put into this blog. I endeavored to keep the entries more than a diary or a travel journal, but something meant for others to read and enjoy; otherwise I would just have been the weirdo in the corner typing jokes to myself. In my efforts to analyze the personal travel blog as a distinct genre with its own tropes and clichés I also did my best to remain as honest as possible without succumbing to humble-bragging and saccharine standbys. Self-awareness has always been a trait I prized and I wanted to avoid the self-indulgent white-savior narratives that dominate these spheres of the internet as much as possible. I have so much love and awe for the places and people that took me in as a welcome guest, it is far more important to draw attention and pay respect to these beautiful and unique places than it is to pat myself on the back because I am “adventurous” and “LOl chicken feet are groSs.”
I hope that some of that still comes across, or at least makes you smile. What follows is the genuine account of a very anxious, very excited teenager who was really trying her best.
Thanks for reading.