Archive for the ‘Introduction’ Category

Hi there!

My name is Vincent. Unlike most of my childhood friends, I kept on digging, and digging, and digging that pit, knowing that someday, I would make it to the other side. And now, I’ve made it to China.

In a bureaucratic sense, anyways. I’m actually in Indiana, heh heh, but today, after a months-long, uphill battle with Chinese officialdom, I finally received the paperwork I need to apply for a Chinese work visa. In two weeks, I’ll be working at 农二师华山中学 and will be an official, card-carrying worker bee under the 新疆生产建设兵团外事局。 The former clump of Chinese Characters is the name of a middle school. The latter translates to “The Foreign Affairs Bureau of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps.” Like all things Chinese, it’s got an obtuse, ceremonious name that doesn’t translate well into English, but the XPCC, or “Bingtuan,” which is actually a weird paramilitary army slash economic powerhouse, has a very interesting history that may come into focus as this online journal matures.

For now, suffice to say, I am going to be an English teacher at a middle school located in Korla, an oases city on the northern edge of the Taklamakan Desert which itself is located in China’s northwestern most region. Here’s a thousand words:

That’s where I’ll be, in the heart of China’s “Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.” That ovary-shaped patch of brown under the pinpoint is the Taklamakan desert. Even though I haven’t been to this particular city yet, I think I can saw with confidence that it’s an interesting place. I do know, for example, that it’s almost as far from every ocean as physically possible given the configuration of the continents. I know that this city straddles the ancient silk road. I know that a city that is roughly equidistant from Mongolia, Kazakhstan, and India should provide a delightful cultural cocktail very palatable to someone with budding anthropological aspirations like myself.

In addition to these simple facts, I hope to know even more once my 1-2 year stint in this part of the world is over. The purpose of this website is to record that process, and to share it with friends, family, and passersby.

So welcome to “The Outback of the Orient!” I leave for Korla in two weeks. I hope you check back soon.


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