Q: Why go back?
A: My lungs were talking smack about how good they’d been feeling lately, so I’m taking ten more weeks to put them in their place. Unless I cough them up.
Really though, I fell in love with the city this summer and couldn’t wait to see it again. Also, I’ve got an internship with a company called Qunar which requires me to live in Beijing.

Q: Who’re they?
A: Chinese version of Kayak.

Q: What’re you gonna be doing?
A: From my job description: “Reviewing public filings, setting up potential investor lists, and helping to set up the structure of MD&A of qunar.com, for the potential IPO. Contents of which include SWOT analysis, future strategy, etc”

Q: Err…
A: Yeah, I don’t know what that means either yet. I’ll probably be fetching coffee. Hopefully I’ll learn some stuff, though.

Q: So is this through Northwestern at all?
A: Nope. At present I’m not actually an enrolled student. But I grabbed four credits this summer, so even taking this term off I’ll still graduate on time and all that good stuff. And I ostensibly won’t have to reapply to the school or any nastiness like that. Will be back on campus, living in plex again come Spring quarter.

~~~~ Old FAQ from June 2010, because I felt like keeping it.

Q: Who are you?
A: Kevin Shepherd, a soon-to-be junior at Northwestern University in Evanston. I’m from Austin, Texas and will be turning 20 in July.

Q: Why exactly are you in China?
A: I’m on a summer study abroad program from NU. I’m staying at Tsinghua University (清华大学) in Beijing.

Q: What’re you studying?
A: Language, the history of Chinese communism, and the contemporary Chinese political economy.

Q: When do you come back?
A: The program ends August 15th, but Dan (my roommate) and I are staying in Beijing for two weeks after, so I’m back in the states on Aug. 29.

Q: What’re those two weeks for?
A: The thought process is that there’s not really enough time between the end of the program (8/15/2010) and the start of school (9/20/2010) to get a worthwhile job, so we may as well stick around. What’s more, our Chinese will be the most fluent it’s ever been, and living here is cheap as hell. Surviving relatively comfortably for fourteen days here won’t break the bank. Really the better question is: why is everyone else going home?

Q: What’s with this URL?
A: Two reasons. First, it’s awesome, and second, China doesn’t know about the Cage Match, so they can’t block me from blogging. Almost every popular blogging site has been censored.

Q: Why not just VPN/Proxy your way around the Chinese internet filter? Surely it couldn’t be that hard.
A: Right now, I’m behind the Tsinghua VPN. This means that I am unable to get on the Northwestern VPN, and consequently that the good ol’ CPC controls which websites I can access. Proxies work but have limited use for things like blogging, because of problems with scripts and cookies that generally prevent one from updating/publishing new content.

Q: But I know of this one proxy that doesn’t have that problem!
A: There appears to be a dude sitting in some basement in Tsinghua actively monitoring the school’s network connections. The NU VPN works for about 2 minutes before the find you and cut your connection. Similarly, when you sign onto a proxy site, it’ll work for maybe an hour or so, or for the day, but so far I haven’t been able to use the same proxy twice — the one I used the day before has been blocked.

Q: Fine, fine. So what’s the Cage Match?
A: Incredible. The best fundraiser Northwestern has ever seen. A truly harrowing and humbling experience. The list goes on.

Q: But what IS it?
A: This.

Q: How do I contact you?
A: Skype me at 1pm, utc+8 time. See the contact page up at the top, or this post for more info.