Note: This was the first email I sent to an email list I created before the trip. The list consisted of friends and family who were interested in being up to date on my adventure.

Hi everybody.

As you all know, I'm going to China this summer, and I thought a good way to keep in touch with everybody was to set up an e-mail list. If everything works out, every week I'll go to the nearest (and/or cheapest) Internet cafe and tell you about my adventures.

Please let me know if your e-mail address changes. Anybody who's taking the summer off at SFU should still get the e-mails, just not until they get back. Hopefully I'll be able to access Excite from China, because, after all, Internet access is tightly monitored there.

I leave on Monday for Tokyo, spend the night there, and then fly to Beijing. We (I'm with a group of 13 people) are going to spend a week in Beijing, taking in the sites, like Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, the Great Wall of China, etc. Then we take an 11 hour train ride to Changchun, which is about 1000 km northeast of Beijing. I will be studying Mandarin for 7 weeks, and there will be field trips and special lectures on various aspects of Chinese culture. I'm most looking forward to the caligraphy section.

I hope you get used to long e-mails from me, because I'll probably have lot to report. I'll be keeping a journal, and I'll be taking lots of pictures, don't worry. If I get enough good pictures I'll try to put together some slide show presentations.

I hope I get to see or hear from you before I leave. I'm nervous, but I'm also excited.