In less than a month I will be boarding a plane here on the east coast and flying to China for a week in Shanghai. The closer it gets, I'm actually getting a little less nervous and a little more excited. Even the prospect of the long flight (14 hours!) doesn't seem quite as daunting to me although that is still an awfully long time to be on a plane. I'm sure I'll still have issues with how long the flight is once I finally board the plane, but being in business class will definitely help. I've been starting to think of what I should pack in my bags to occupy me on the long flights (hint: lots of books and my iPod stuffed to the gills with 140 GB of music). For me the biggest stresses of the whole trip at present are finishing my paper and presentation for the technical conference, both of which need to be completed before the end of this month. Thankfully, I've already found out that I'm presenting on the first day of the conference so once I get there and present, I'll get to spend the remainder of the week attending presentations by colleagues and enjoying the conference and Shanghai. Adding to the stress I'm under right now, my home life is in quite a bit of flux as well since Mrs. Chemist and I have recently bought a house and will be moving our family into it at the end of this month. Add in my lightning-fast weekend trip back home to Boston to see Ride in concert with a friend, as well as our son's birthday, both of which happen in the weeks immediately preceding my trip, and you can surely agree with me that my life is going to be more than a little crazy until I get back from China!