Past Updates from China
As I boarded the sleeper bus for the overnight ride to Yuanyang, a mystic Chinese township home to the most glorious rice-paddy terraces in the world, I could feel the adrenaline flowing through my hands and out through my legs. The bus was packed and humid, and I felt like I was suffocating in the sweat and body odor of those around me. But it didn’t matter.
We came to China for many reasons: to learn or perfect our Mandarin, to challenge ourselves, to be immersed in a new culture, to learn more about Chinese traditions, to commit ourselves to service, and more. Over the past five months we’ve learned so much, but perhaps the most important lessons have come, not in the form of a Chinese class, or a report written for an NGO, or even a celebration of a Chinese holiday...
China is an elusive beast. Even before setting off on a slow boat to China (it was actually a Boeing 747) our group wrestled with the idea of living in China. Expectations filled the skies as we barreled towards Kunming with a notion of what China would be like. A haven of Communism with Chinese characteristics for sure, but what about the finer things like religion and the family structure we would all encounter in our host families?