I just wanted to thank everybody who took the time to respond to my questions, by e-mail or in person. The article's now in...no idea when it will be published, but the Phoenix comes out every Thurs., so keep your eyes peeled if you're interested.
Cheers and thanks,
(more recently known here as Italophile)
P.S. to Limster: That's my mom you answered about China on the international board, who is very excited about all the responses she got. So thanks for that as well!