Nine months in China and nine Chinese friends.
I've lived in China twice, for about four and a half months each. Those nine months were some of the best months of my life. I feel like I learned more about life and myself in those nine months than I have in any given year of college. I've learned about love and patience and doing hard things and believing that I can do hard things and endurance and how communication doesn't have to be through words but can also be through service and happiness. Some of my favorite people couldn't speak a lick of English, yet they showed me they loved me through their temperament and their actions. I learned that my way isn't necessarily the best way and that different isn't necessarily wrong. Here's an entry from an old myspace blog that I wrote the night before I left China the first time:
~Every bike that passes has some sort of squeak or creak to it.
~When something is "clean", it's not really clean. It's less dirty.
~Showering is a chore. Though it feels good once you're in, it's hard to make yourself take one.
~All hard candy has a soft layer around it that you absolutely must bite through.
~Bikes can balance ANYTHING on the back of them. Even towers of Styrofoam.
~There's no such thing as a matching outfit.
~Tables don't have to be clean to eat off of them.
~Directions are only reliable 30% of the time.
~Schedules are more like guidelines.
~Answering machines are non-existent.
~No matter how scared you are on the road, you'll live through it. You're invincible.
~Time quickly flows at a slow pace.
~Strangers become friends in a smile.
~It's an oddity not to smoke.
~There's more parking for bikes and vespas than cars.
~Don't ever order water unless it's in a bottle. Otherwise it will be boiling hot.
~The honking of a horn doesn't necessarily mean "Watch Out!"
~Lines are for children and soldiers, no one else.
~The world is our toilet.
~You don't sit on the ground, that's dirty. You squat over it.
~Chewing with your mouth closed is a hassle and makes the food taste horrible.
~Refusing to buy a product at the given price will "braykuh" your salesperson's heart.
~White people are all millionaires.
~Telling someone you don't understand means that you will soon get the Chinese characters written in the air for you, thus enabling you to feel even more handicapped.
~Kobe Bryant, Yao Ming and Michael Jordan are more famous than George Bush and Chairman Mao.
~ McDonalds oddly enough tastes like Heaven.
~Pizza Hut is a sit down restaurant.
~Meat is REALLY fresh. Like, "Five minutes ago this was alive" fresh.
~People don't say "Thank you" or "I love you" to people they truly care about.
~You don't tip.
~Just like coughing or sneezing, when you laugh you must cover your mouth, especially girls.
~Nobody here is gay, but that doesn't stop anyone from large amounts of physical contact with people of the same sex.
~Sex is art, very graphic art that can be bought in the form of statue or tapestry.
~Taking things without asking is not impolite.
~Grocery stores with more than one floor have escalators that are not stairs, just moving walkways that slope upward. They are also magnetic so that your cart doesn't roll back and crush you.
~Children's shows are so violent that they would be rated "R" in America. And they don't have to end happily. (Ex: A woman bear gets beaten bloody and then burned to death while her husband tries to save her.)
~The best way to dry your clothes is to wear them.
~Most new foods taste horrible on the first bite, ok on the second and addicting on the third.
|Bridge in an old town|
|Buddha with Chris|
|Pulling a cart|
|Part of Crazy Town|
|Lady sitting on me on a train|
|Hong Kong Disney|
|Handmade Fan Costume|
|Handmade Harry Plopper Costume|
|I was part of our Haunted House. The kids were TERRIFIED.|
|Hot Air Ballooning.|
|My Head Teacher blurb written by Sharon|
|Joshua, Kevin, Tim|
|I'm in that Balloon.|
|Joshua, Josh and Brett|
|Puppy and Rebecca|
|Principal in the black and other teachers|
|Right before one of our many performances|
|Jeff and Jeremy|
|Rice at the grocery store|
|Smoothie ladies sweet little kids.|
|Bored Americans on the train. Making friends.|
|Turtle and snake soup.|
|Dancing with an old man on the street in Beijing.|
|Hangzhou with Elizabeth, Kiera, Marshall and a random man.|
|Friends at the Forbidden City.|
|Re-furbished Noodle Shack|
|The one and only time he actually sat and ate with us was when we visited Wuxi a year later.|
|Me, Lloyd and Elizabeth a year after we left Wuxi|
|Brooke and Uncle Lloyd|
|Sign for Smile|
|Streets of Beijing|
|Helping me with some roller-skates that attach to shoes|
|Lucas in my glasses|
|Taking pictures during time-out|
|Being angry that Johnson tried to sit on my lap, too|
|Minnie, Hebe and some other local kids|
|Minnie and Hebe|
|Walking to the mall with Minnie|
|Ice cream with Hebe|
|Love of my life|
|Love of my life|
|Love of my life|
|Love. Of. My. Life.|