If I die here…what exactly happens to me?

15 11 2010

And…we’re back from a whirlwind, week and half long trip to the states. It’d been four months since I had the chance to enjoy the awesomeness of Americana, and it was great ten days spent stateside. However, I learned that reverse culture shock is a very real thing, and is a feeling that doesn’t sit too comfortably with me at all. I don’t think I’ll be defecting to China anytime soon…but there are some really strange, wonky things happening in America right now. Just watching the news made me want to fly back to Beijing.

But it was great seeing all the old friends again. Bartz even came all the way up from DC to visit! Most of the time spent in New York was spent eating, however, as my body started developing serious withdrawals from glorious, fatty American food. We’re talking BBQ, texmex, bagels and lox, and awesome awesome awesome fast food. I wish I had pictures…but unfortunately I left my camera in the residence of a friend. Saying goodbye for the second time is no easier, but they’re never forever.

The whole reason for my trip to the states was to attend the NRDC staff retreat that happens once every two years. With 400 staff flying in from the DC, New York, LA, Santa Monica, Chicago, Montana, and Beijing offices, the retreat is usually held at some remote resort in New England. This year, the retreat happened to be in the Poconos Mountains in upstate New York. The four day retreat was fantastically fun. Days were packed with workshops and ridiculous activities (do not drive golf carts blindfolded, ever) and evenings were boozy inter-office soirees. Beyond meeting a really motivated, interesting group of younger staff members, being able to interact and learn from the old senior guys there was nothing short of inspiring. These are old stalwarts who started the organization 40 years ago, fighting everything from big businesses and  Soviet Union nuclear threats, and still have the drive to play a not so friendly game of inter-office basketball. To this day, the NRDC receives no funding from corporations of any sort. Why? Because they’ve built the organization around the principle that whenever necessary, you have to Sue the Bastards.

For a quick video about the NRDC, where you get a chance to meet one of my bosses, Alex Wang.

So I’m back in China now, and as luck will have it, am sick. Bedridden sick. Have no will to live sick. I think it has something to do with crossing 24 time zones in a week, back and forth, confusing my internal biorhythms to the point where they just…give up. Here’s to good health.

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3 responses

15 11 2010
Allen

i was just thinking about reverse culture shock and how strange america/american things could seem once i go back…and i’m kinda nervous about it. good (bad) thing i won’t be going back until june at the earliest! sounds like you’re having a great experience. we’ll have to meet up sometime…i just signed on for another year so i’ll be here til at least june 2012

15 11 2010
Amy Lee

yep and you left your sunglasses with me … and i am keeping them.

15 11 2010
Matt Bakal

Great seeing you, bud.

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