When I started high school, I began studying Mandarin Chinese from a Taiwanese woman who ensured that I could speak by the time I graduated. I practiced reading, speaking, and writing with her for an hour every day. Up until this past year, I'd never put any of those lessons to use aside from overhearing conversations over fruit sales in New York's Chinatown. In November, I got my chance when I traveled to Chongqing and Chengdu, China, to learn and explore a place that seemed to be so profoundly different from anywhere I'd ever known. What I found was a place suspended between ancient and hyper-modern, so vast and populated that it seemed to charge ahead and dig its heels at the same time. Below is a selection of images from my time there.
Cait Oppermann is a Brooklyn-based photographer. You can follow her work here.