Thursday, July 8, 2010


Not just the blog's new makeover (which, anyone on blogger should jump on this new template designer, it's pretty slick) but overdue to return and report about China. I lagged on Shutterfly explanations and picture postings, but one day, one day I will really finish all my picture posting and summarizing. Obviously that should be sooner rather than later but...let's be honest about my very real problem with procrastination.

No, I'm not going to post pictures or descriptions of places here. This "Debriefing of China" post is more reflection. Many people have asked me what I studied, what was my favorite part, what I learned in China, etc.

I studied globalization, which was fantastic. I thought it would be a distant secondary part to us trapezing around China for tourist attractions, but it was a closer second than I realized. It's happening, it's happening now, and I don't believe it will ever stop happening. Is it a bad thing? I don't think it is, but at this point in the game, I think it's less about what it "is" and how countries, companies, and citizens are going to respond to it. Some citizens have less of a say than others, so that's the rub, countries like Ethiopia and Ghana and others in Africa. All in all, my study lead to the discovery that globalization is one murky topic and if anyone asks me what I studied on my trip, I'm going to say "a mixture of economics, social policy, and business."

My favorite part...another conundrum to answer. The obvious answers are seeing the Terra Cotta Warriors, being on the Great Wall, climbing Yellow Mountain, etc. While those were all amazing, and it's rude to downplay any of those, I don't think of those when I think of my favorite moments in China.

I first think of a tomb we visited that was surrounded by an ancient brick wall. Two friends and I looked through the whole thing then had some time to explore the wall before we went back to the tour bus. It was sunny, (I can't say clear because I think there were 5 days in China that I saw blue sky), quiet, peaceful, and there wasn't another soul on the whole wall. There was foliage in the countryside around the area and we just walked around, without saying anything. Why did this matter? Because it was the first time in China (also the 4th week in China) where I had a quiet moment to myself. Technically, I suppose I still wasn't by myself, but it was as close as I could possibly get, given the 1.3 billion populous and the buddy system that was in full force (and rightly so). For the first and last time in China, I felt all encompassing peace.

The second thing I think of is a 3 day river cruise we took down the Yangtze river. I was never alone so it lacked the same magnitude that the city wall had, but it was peaceful in its own right. We took a side trip down a smaller tributary, then got into row boats to go down an even smaller tributary, and it was immensely beautiful. I think people's view of China is rice patties and cracker jack box sized housing. I'm grateful to have had the opportunity to change my view to how beautiful China can be.

I've been ruminating quite a bit of this last question, what I learned in China. I don't think I can give a concise answer to this. Instead, I just have been keeping a running list that I'm not sure will stop growing in the next few months. It's probably cliche, most of the readers will become exasperated and say "she was only there for 6 weeks!" but what can I say? I guess I'm naive and easily influenced, but in situations like this, I'm not so sure it's a bad thing. I'll throw out the caveat on this list that many of these things I knew once before, but forgot them along the way.

The List:
1. I love my family more than I thought I could.
2. God doesn't care who you are, where you're from, what you look like, He loves everyone. Everyone.
3. I enjoy my alone time (see above).
4. The Chinese are beautiful people, inside and out, and China is a beautiful country.
5. For all the hurdles facing the Chinese government, I think they're doing the best they know how...for the most part. Let's just say I have no idea where a group would even begin to make policies for 1.3 billion people.
6. I can do hard things.
7. A little bit of optimism in the face of pessimism can work wonders.
8. People are good. There might be some bad things that happen, but all people are good.
9. Change is healthy, positive, and necessary.
10. I'm not an impulse buyer.
11. I need to go to graduate school.
12. I will change the world, one way or another.

To be continued.