I’ve written some heavy posts recently, about transition, culture shock, and saying goodbye. I thought that this week I’d try to be a little more positive and share 10 of the things I’m looking forward to about China, in no particular order (and not an exhaustive list).
1. Learning Chinese
I’m excited to get build on what I already know and work towards fluency instead of just getting around.
2. Public Transportation
I am looking forward to selling my car and not buying a new one. I’ll get around by subway, bus, taxi, and bike (if I am brave enough to venture into Beijing traffic on one).
3. China’s Long History
I love living in a place where the 1800s are considered recent history and all of the longevity and stability that goes with such a history. The interesting historic places and museums are also a plus.
4. The Energy
Despite the long history, China continues to change quickly. It gives the country a really interesting energy and contrasts the long history (see photo of the ancient Bell Tower and Starbucks near each other in Xi’an).
5. Loyal People
China generally has an in-group/out-group sort of culture, which means that if you’re an outsider it can be really hard, but if you become an insider people are really loyal to you. I watched students put everything on hold to care for parents and sacrifice to help their high school classmates (20 years after they had graduated). I am pretty sure that I could contact most of my former students, and they would be glad to hear from me because I was once their teacher.
6. Photography Opportunities
I’m looking forward to the opportunities to photograph iconic places, like the Great Wall and Forbidden City, and aspects of daily life that tourists don’t get to see.
7. Learning to Play the Er Hu
I’ve set a goal to learn to play the er hu, a traditional Chinese instrument. I play the piano and played the violin in high school, so I’m looking forward to applying those skills to a new instrument.
8. The Food
Chinese food is delicious. It is different, and so much better, than the Americanized-Chinese food you get in North America. Yum!
9. Going Deep Into the Culture
One of the things I took away from my recent training was a desire to go deep into my understanding and experience of Chinese culture. I don’t know what all I will discover, but I look forward to learning more so I can communicate better verbally and non-verbally.
10. New Friends
I am looking forward to all of the new people I will meet, Chinese people who will help me go deep into the culture and other foreigners who will help me understand what I am experiencing.