Go to China!

“Go to China!” his father said. “See the world!” his mother added. (“Use all those seemingly useless ‘dialects’ you learned in college!” his own brain chimed in, treacherously.)

Somehow, Roger was fairly sure that this was not what his parents had meant: a sleeper car on a zhida train– overnight direct express– from Wuhan to Shanghai.

It wasn’t actually horrible, despite Roger’s initial misgivings about being a foreigner sharing a car with three curious Chinese. They asked questions only at the beginning of the trip, before the train departed, and Roger answered them easily: no, he wasn’t here to teach English; he had an internship at a brokerage in Shanghai waiting for him, thanks to his father; he looked forward to sleeping the entire way.