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Katie's China adventure


Thursday, August 20, 2009

This experience, this two week experience that seemed more like two months, is now apart of what makes me, me. The people I met there, the absolute beauty of their history, of their diverse culture, and the impossibility of past tradition clashing and coinciding with modern capatilism, created a country I know I will return to. Everything, down to the bolws of rice, and up to the great wall was infused with the warmth of the country. There were always smiles, always laughs from the waiters, store venders, and random curious people on the street, as we spoke the few phrases we knew ' I like girls ' being one of our favorite. And the people, you could get lost in the people. But always in a good way, you WANTED to let yourself go, let the crowd take you, let the city mix you up with everyone else. Yet then you had the country, and the second you walked into one of the villages, you immediately felt yourself find a niche with the people. You could find everyone there, in these small islands, and you wanted to be found. At the dinners, you wanted to let everyone know you were there, having the time of your life, and you wanted them to join in. Wanted to let the whole village in, let them know their kindness and hospitality was the reason you were laughing so hard tears were streaming down your face. You became apart of that village and apart of the life there as much as you became apart of the city, as much as you yearned to get lost in that city. It was all so addicting, intoxicating, and wonderfully open to us. Its actually scary how attached we got within just two weeks of visiting those places, that country. So many opened up their homes to us, and in turn, without thinking, we let ourselves mold into everything layed before us, and in turn opened ourselves up to the people, the culture, the country and city.
It was amazing how easy it was. How they welcomed us, and we suddenly found a common language in smiles and friendly gestures, laughes, and food. Haha the food!! If there's one metaphore for China, its the diversity of the food, the subtle different tastes, things you might not notice at first-cant even tell the difference from- but stay there a week, and suddenly you recognize all the sublte differences. Its not just all one people, one culture, one history and it hits you all of a sudden. Like those ridiculously hot peppers you sometimes got a hit of, the ones that made the side of your mouth go numb. Haha
Those were the best though. Those peppers. They always made everyone else laugh and suddenly it was dinner and entertainment for the group. And a new awareness to look a little harder in the dish you were eating. That's what China did though. It made you LOOK. You became aware of everything and everyone. Hyper sensitive. I'm now hyper sensitive, even back in the US, you come back just a little more focused on the little details, on everything.
Its still a little scary, how attached I am to the country, how much I feel it still. We all still do-in the jet lag-haha- in the endless stories we keep telling, explaining, remembering, and in the phone calls and texts we make to one another, day in a day out. Who knows how long it will take for us to fully get back to California time, or Jersey time, or Wisconsin time-we are all still on our own clocks. That's okay with me though, I like my mind still being half in China :)
The country will always be my first outside the US, and I wouldn't change it for the world.

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Karen said...

What a wonderful post! I felt as if I were reading what I have been saying ever seen I got back from South Africa. How could I miss someone I only knew for two weeks? If seems as if a lifetime has gone by since I returned, and I am so ready to go back.

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Essential Programs Details

Duration 15 days
When August 4th - 18th, 2009
Focus History/Culture
Martial Arts
Modern/Ancient Architecture