Weekly photo: Where is Cole?

Location: Chiang Mai, Thailand

In two weeks we’ll be leaving our apartment in Chiang Mai and heading to… Beijing.  My goal is to become as-fluent-as-possible in Mandarin Chinese in the six months that we’ll be there by doing total cultural immersion, speaking only Chinese at home, taking language lessons with a tutor, hiring a Chinese nanny who doesn’t speak English and generally trying to spend as much time as possible using the language out in the real world.  Shopping, cooking, dining out, sight-seeing, wandering the city, getting directions — whenever there is an opportunity to speak Chinese I’ll do it.  Will I become proficient?  A shaky intermediate?  Fluent-as-a-native?  I’m excited and curious to find out.

As an aside, I’d like to crowd-source my apartment hunting if I can… does anyone have recommendations on good neighborhoods in Beijing?  Seeing as the city is the size of the entire state of Connecticut but with six times as many people (imagine the entire Northeast squeezed into the area around Hartford), I’m feeling a little daunted at the abundance of options.

China… here we come!