Where you are from?: Seattle
Where you currently live: Seattle
PacRim trip/year: 1990-91
College Major: Asian Studies/Chinese Minor
Occupation: Personal and Business Coach
Research/370 Topic: Don't remember the title. I MIGHT still have the paper around here somewhere. I just moved back to Seattle from the Bay Area, so there are boxes everywhere. But something like "Two Societies' Return to Fundamentalism: An Overview of the Role of Religion in Buddhist Thailand and Muslim Malaysia"
Best PacRim memory:
1. the incredible graduation party that the juniors threw for us seniors and 5th-year seniors on the Tunghai campus. Really, that was stunning.
2. any time Amber Pearsall got laughing hard, because if she did, I couldn't help but join her.
3. hearing Mr. Yang from Sichuan University tell the following story, on a bus ride somewhere, in his sweet, strange storytelling voice: "today I tell you the story of the famous Chinese goose and the egg of gold. One day the farmer discover his goose shit out the egg of gold." (pause while we all laughed. he asked David Satterwhite why the students were laughing, and David said, in a very diplomatic way, that we usually say "lay."). "Sorry," continued Mr. Yang, "the goose shit it out and lay it on the ground."
3. skinny dipping on China Beach in Vietnam.
4. listening to dharma talks at the monastery in Thailand where we learned all about the trappings of desire, only to divebomb on the village women when they brought those amazing donuts dipped in condensed milk.
5. hearing those huge tortoises having their way with each other while we were trying so hard to meditate at the monastery in Thailand.
Best care package item: can't remember
Best item brought with you on the trip: 1. I had this one shirt that I probably wore every third day, if not every other day. somehow it dried quickly, so served as a great towel, and it also was a great pillow when I wadded it up, as well as something I could put over my head during hot van rides when the sun was intense. 2. a copy of Umberto Eco's novel Foucault's Pendulum (okay, i didn't bring it with me. another Pac Rimmer did. but BOY, was that a good book!)
Something unique about PacRim: An incredible experience where we were able to study and learn together for two years before leaving campus, then were able to learn more and live and travel together doing amazing things for 9 months in asia. I mean, I guess it's kind of an obvious thing about the trip, but really, what a brilliant design.
Where you've returned to: Japan several times, mainland China, Taiwan
Favorite Food on PacRim: Anything in Kuala Lumpur, from the tandoori to the malay satay to the Chinese noodles nearby. Definitely NOT the cafeteria food at Chung-ang University in S Krea. Mybe it was just that it was the beginning of the trip, and I was still getting used to different foods, but hard rice, fish-head casserole and painfully spicy soup in the morning was tough for those first few days until we discovered Neri (spelling?), that great little village behind campus.
Favorite Place: That's a tough one. A tie between being on Kyushu in October with Brian Renggli and Kim Blevins, Da Nang and Na Trang in Vietnam with the entire PacRim group, Ubud, Indonesia and Heian Jingu in Kyoto on a warm autumn day by myself in Kyoto.
Concluding Remarks: Let's see...I ended up living in Taiwan for a few years after Pac Rim. I doubt I would have done that were it not for the experience I had already had. Then I went on to interpret and teach Mandarin in Monterey after a brief stint in grad school. These were very rich experiences, in which Pac Rim seemed to be the genesis.
I could have graduated from UPS with a degree in Asian Studies without ever once stepping foot in the Pac Rim region, all the while thinking that I knew a LOT about, well, everything. Instead, living in Asia for three years taught me how little I really knew about anything, and that was a godsend.
I'm pretty sure I would have pursued a much more conservative career (something in international trade? academia?) had it not been for the unconventional approach of Pac Rim. It allowed me to think outside the box and pursue a very odd, very rewarding career.
Through the experience I learned to stop accepting the Western paradigm as the only worldview, even as I realize how steeped I was in it. I also developed an incredibly deep appreciation for the fine art of storytelling.
Advice for future Pac Rimmers? While this may sound clichéd, it has also proven to be very true for my own experience. Reasons for going on Pac Rim may or may not make a lot of sense to you. What I mean is, you might be able to see how it would line up on your transcript, or give you a clear sense of a career path. But it ends up being something so much more than that. It has been nearly twenty years since I began the study/travel extravaganza of Pac Rim, and I feel that it is an odd box in which I keep finding things, things that I hadn't initially seen. Give yourself lots of patience to NOT figure it all out, and if the more linear, frontal-lobed part of your brain is pressuring you to have it all make sense, tell it to go balance your checkbook or something so that you can just sit back and enjoy the hell out of the whole experience.
Sarah (Richards) Hedges
Where you are from?: Boise, ID
Where you currently live: Seattle, WA
PacRim trip/year: 1990-91
College Major: Asian Studies
Occupation: Manager at Expeditors International of WA, Inc.
Research/370 Topic: "Women and War" (studying the affects of war on women in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia)
Best PacRim memory: Too many - "Hands Up" at Great Wall of China, Trek in Nepal are right up there
Best care package item: Calvin & Hobbes Cartoon Book for my birthday in China
Best item brought with you on the trip: "The Sweater"
Something unique about PacRim: about our trip, we had a 4 year old with us!
Where you've returned to: Hong Kong, China, Thailand
Favorite Food on PacRim: Bimbimpop (Korea)
Favorite Place: Nepal
Concluding Remarks:I work in International Logistics and much of the focus is Asia; have had the opportunity to travel there both for work and for pleasure (including a 3-week honeymoon). Almost 20 years since we went and I still view it as one of the best experiences of my life. Advice to PacRimmers: Enjoy every minute of it, it goes by so fast.