I have to confess: I'm a little jealous of China right now. There is so much excitement and optimism here. After visiting the urban planning museum and seeing how much they're changing and architecturally uplifting Shanghai as a city in preparation for the World Expo in 2010, I see bright things in the future for China. It's true that there are propaganda-esque slogans spattered throughout the museum, but it's also true that there is construction at almost every turn, many newly successful businesses, a willingness to be bilingual with Chinese and English, and a changeability that I've not encountered before. The country is only going to continue to modernize, and already its on the cusp of moving from developing to fully developed. And with the Olympics coming up in Beijing and something like 95% of Chinese people believing that China will win the entire games, the hope here is absolutely electric.
It feels quite different than home, where our dollar is plummeting, our president has a historically low approval rating, we're stuck in an unpopular war, the housing and credit markets have crashed, oil prices continue to skyrocket, and global warming is threatening our sanity (or mine, at least). There is a sliver of hope, I think, and for me that's the prospect of Obama taking the presidency this fall. I honestly do not know how I'll live in my country if McCain is elected president. But even if Obama does pull it off, he's got his work cut out for him.
So yeah, I'm happy for the people of China. But I can't help being a little envious too.