I am fortunate to have finally figured out what I am going to be doing for the summer: Going to China!! Plane tickets are booked...still trying to figure out a place to live though. (If any of you have any suggestions I'd be very open to them...) Yes, it means I will not be in Colorado for the summer, which is personally disappointing as I was really looking forward to some time enjoying the Rocky Mountain high and checking a few more 14ers off the list. But I doubt the 14ers are going anywhere, so I will just have to make progress on that life goal a little bit later.
I have been very fortunate to get the opportunity to work for the Natural Resources Defense Council in their Beijing office on low carbon buildings. I'm specifically going to be developing a set of policy and practice guidelines to encourage low carbon light industrial and commercial development that also encourages economic growth. Classic systems thinking/ecological design problem - how do we maximize all benefits while minimizing negative externalities and are there perhaps some new synergies that will make low carbon construction in this context even better than conventional would be? Hopefully so.
On a more cultural note though, I really feel as if I've gotten the hang of this whole Costa Rica thing. My Spanish has come along to a point where I finally feel comfortable navigating just about any situation solo with less pointing and gesturing. So, I get comfortable in Costa Rica just in time to take off for a far more foreign destination...but hey at least the year of adventure is continuing! I'll admit to being torn between excitement and anxiety, but fortunate excitement is winning out. But the plane tickets are booked (direct flight from DC to Beijing...14 hours) so I suppose that is that.
Any travel tips for China are welcome though!