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Two months in Shanghai, and what does she have to show for herself? She had been full of plans on the plane ride over, had studied her phrase book as if cramming for an exam, had been determined to refine her computational model with a new set of data, expecting insights and breakthroughs, plotting notes for a new article. Only the time has trickled away so quickly. She has meandered through the days chatting with James instead of gathering data. At night, she has gone out to dinners and bars. [James'] Chinese has not improved; her computational model has barely been touched. She does not know what she has been doing with herself, and now an airplane six days away is waiting for her.

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