Sleet and Progress

Hi guys. Sorry for the lag in posts, 最近事比较多! Right now it is 4:21 pm in Boston and I can infer that the sun is out because its still light outside, but it is grey all over and snowing hard. I’m inside the Harvard square Starbucks (all the other coffee shops were full, okay) watching people slip around the slush outside and have their umbrellas blown inside out.

Despite the grey skies, I’m feeling extremely cheerful for a couple of reasons.

First, I have this sweet 10 year visa which will cease to be valid when I am 31. So time isn’t tight here. Second, I have an outline I feel good about which I will try to link here, which will probably excite exactly four people, the people who REALLY love me (hi mom and dad) and my project advisors. Third, I leave for China in less than 10 days and in a flurry of scheduling interviews and trains etc. As it is spring festival, (春节) and the largest population in the world is trying to go home all at once scheduling trains and planes has been kind of crazy. Also happy to know that the couchsurfing population in Xinjiang, at least the provincial capital is pretty active.

Here’s the travel plan: fly into Beijing, stay a couple days exploiting the nice Qinghua and Beida chinese language resources as well as the kind people who will agree to be interviewed by me (NGO’s and some connections from my last year in Beijing), Fly to Urumqi and use it as a base to see Urumqi #1, the creatively named glacier that supplies much of Urumqi’s water, the Bingtuan capital of shihezi, and Turpan, where the Karez irrigation system has been used for centuries. From there, and this is the part I’m most excited about, I’m taking a 24 hr. train across the province to Kashgar, the Uyghur cultural heartland, and from there fly back to Beijing and then Boston. *subject to change tho.

In the last week I’ve been hustling around the east coast for my Chinese visa and Princeton interview, and continuing my research in the lovely libraries of Boston. I’ve been doing a lot of reading of case studies, employment reports, books, academic papers etc. but have been losing some direction. I thought Here’s what the inside of my brain looked like before I finalized my paper outline:

photo (6)

I hope you’re able to read this but whether you can or not I think you get the picture: my research question, How does water scarcity affect political stability in Xinjiang province?, is pretty broad, and perhaps my outline is a bit jumbled. However,  in the outline I linked above I think I’ve wrestled it into something manageable for a 40 pg. paper or so.

Header image of snow, which looks prettier in close-up then in the macro-level-boston-form.



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