Because it isn’t New England.  Because I have been blessed with the opportunity.  Because I believe it takes not just stepping, but leaping out of one’s comfort zone to see what you are truly capable of.  Because no one else in my family has ever been to China.  Because I’ve never understood how Bruce Lee could move so fast.  Because I love tea.  Because it’s every school-child’s fantasy, to go on an adventure in the Far East.

Because it’s the other side of the world.  Because it’s a 5000 year old civilization. Because Mandarin is the most widely spoken language in the world.  Because I’m young, and as I get older, it becomes more and more apparent that some day I may live in global culture influenced primarily by the East as opposed to the West.

Because China owns 190 billion dollars of America’s debt.  Because in 2007 their economy grew at an astounding 13 percent, while the United States grew at a more modest 2.4 percent.  Because in 2009, when all other international superpowers sustained a loss, China’s GDP still increased by a vigorous 8.4 percent. Because tomorrow’s dollar is today’s Yuan.

Because of Buddah.  Because of Confucius.  Because of Yao Ming.  Because of Peking Duck, Szechuan hotpot, and fried dumplings.  Because of chicken feet, scorpion kebabs, and a variety of animal organs, all cooked to order.  Because of the earthquake.  Because of Google.  Because of Mao Zedong, Chang Kai Shek, and the Dali Lama.

Because the opening ceremonies of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, was perhaps the most grandiose and stunning display of human ingenuity, entertainment, and synchronization the world has ever seen.  Because theBeijing Olympics were meant as a sign to the rest of the world.

Because of the Eight Great Culinary Traditions of China.  Because of the Great Wall, the Terra Cotta Warriors, and the Himalayan mountains.  Because of pandas, bamboo, and terraced rice patties as far the eye can see.  Because Rosie O’donnell got in serious trouble for making fun of the Asian accent.  Because American pop culture’s go-to comic relief is a little asian man or woman with a whiny voice and aggressive disposition.  Because everything you buy at Wal-Mart comes from China.

Because of Global Warming.  Because of Barack Obama.  Because of Tibet.  Because of Xinjiang.  Because of the Middle East. Because of unprecedented species die-offs.  Because of swine flu, terrorism, and peak oil.  Because the issues of tomorrow cannot and will not be dealt with by one nation, but instead many. Because China is like that little brother that finally hits puberty and can either hit back, or lend a hand, and because I want to have a part in insuring that they would rather lend a hand.   But mostly, it’s because of the dumplings.

Follow my adventures as an American Student studying abroad at Liaocheng University in Shandong Province China.  I leave March 4th, and plan to return July 31st, 2010.  Tell your friends!

-Chris Biddle