Between work and dealing with two growing kids (Andrea, 5, and Alex, 2), my past year was busier than ever. But I did get to travel to several quite interesting places, including Garden City (KS), State College (PA), Worcester (MA), Key West (FL), New Orleans, and St. Andrews. The most memorable is my first visit to Scotland. Last July I attended the 1st International Conference on Population Geographies at the University of St. Andrews. In addition to interacting with population geographers from around the world, I thoroughly enjoyed Scotland despite its rainy, windy, and cold weather (A good Scottish summer day is all that, perhaps without strong wind).
It is generally a good idea to travel by rail or bus while in Britain. The rail and bus system is very convenient. I took a bus from Glasgow to St. Andrew, via Edinburgh. The verdant pastures with flocks of grazing sheep and the serene, picturesque villages I saw on the way were just stunningly beautiful. St. Andrews is a coastal city with many fabled castles and ruins. It is the birthplace of golf, with a half dozen public golf courses in the city of about 15,000. Playing in the "Old Course" is said to be the dream of every golfer. Not being a golfer, I was quite content with just walking on the legendary course (not that I would be able to afford the cost had I been a golfer). I did however savor Scottish fare at the Ceilidh, arranged by the conference organizers. On the way back to the states I stopped in London for two days and strolled around as much as I could (The "tube" would take you virtually anywhere, but walking just enables you to see more). London is an exciting and dynamic city with so much to offer. I guess I now know why Karen loves England so much.
This fall semester I will be on a sabbatical leave. I had planned to spend a few months at the Institute of Geographical Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, where I worked before coming to the States. Unfortunately the SARS problem in China is likely to force me to change my plans. But the leave will be a nice change from the routine. I look forward to getting some work done during the leave.
Selected to be a Faculty Consultant for the Advanced Placement Human Geography examination.
Changing China: A geographical appraisal, a book I co-edited with Dr. Chiao-min Hsieh of the University of Pittsburgh, is finally going to be published by the Westview Press in summer 2003, following the extensive additional revisions I made in the last year or so.