Posted by: 1of10boyz | June 3, 2012

Contrasts – It really is that different!


One of the things that I really love about the experience we have living in China is that we are here consistently enough to see daily life for the majority of this country’s population. China isn’t what you see on television, it isn’t what you read in books, it isn’t even what you see as a tourist travelling through the country. The color and flavor of China is something much more complex than what you get in a passing glance. It is like trying to explain an alcoholic drink, the flavor of a wine or a whiskey is complex and really not understood unless experienced (so I am told). The propaganda writers for these products struggle to make their product sound different than the 100s of similar products, yet the only way you will know the difference is to try it.

China is the same, I can try to describe what I see, hear, smell, and feel but you will never really understand it until you have experienced it. Even now, 10 months into the living experience, we are still only beginning to experience the Middle Kingdom. It is such a complex experience with all of the uniqueness that comes from being on the other side of the world from everything I grew up knowing. Every day we feel different about this experience. We wander the streets of our tiny city of 700,000+ people and we are amazed when we see and feel something that strengthens our connection with the people that live here.

I appreciate the opportunities that are mine and my family’s as we grew up in the USA. I have a much greater love for what our ancestors did to bring me there through their immigration a few hundred years ago. How different my life would have been without the opportunities that came from growing up American. I appreciate that so much more now that I have lived away from it.

I have really enjoyed the experience of walking and “driving” here in China. You’ll remember that we don’t actually drive here because the company doesn’t want us to, so we are driven but the experience is the same but much less frustrating. I have been able to see a lot more because I don’t have to pay attention to the road. We see and feel the experience and it makes us more aware of how lucky we are. I am indeed fortunate to be here seeing and experiencing this country. The opportunity is worth it most of the time, we still have days when we struggle with the culture, the people, the government, the job, the differences, etc. Those days are fewer now than they were a few months ago.

I think that it will be difficult to share with you what it is like to live here. I know that we marveled this past week at the uniqueness of this experience. The drive through town with the scooters and bikes, the vendors on the street selling, and the peasant farmers with a basket or two of fruit or a half dozen zucchini all seem so normal now, yet I know it is not “normal”. I hope that my little slice of what it is like might help you to see what I see, that you can smell what I smell, and that you hear what I hear, with the hope that you can understand how this experience is changing me and maybe it will change you too.

I am going to try and focus on some things that we can easily contract and still let you visualize what it is like here in China. I hope that the next few blogs will show some of the contrasts that we have observed while living here.

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