Written by Julia Johnson
As I sit on the plane from Seattle to Minneapolis I am still struck that I have just spent 5 weeks in China. I suppose that means the saying holds true, “The days go slow but the years (in this case, weeks) fly by.” While conversing about China with friends, family and a few random people you meet along the way, typically the first thing they ask is, “So… What’s China like?” Then and there I have consistently found myself at a loss for words. How can I describe a country so complex and dynamic when I have only spent 5 weeks there? I can’t. After silently staring at them for a moment, not knowing what to say, I answer, “China blows my mind.” Naturally they look at me as if I was a 5-year-old… But really what do you expect? That’s a huge question… Sure, you can tell them about the history, the monuments, the economy, the landmarks, etc. but after all of that, there would still be a large piece of the pie missing– the ordinary everyday people, their motivations and their persistence. You might be thinking… “Then why didn’t you tell them that Chinese people blow your mind?” Well, it’s not only the people but it’s also how/what they have done and created that play a role in how I see China.
Now this topic is something that could be discussed for a long long time and not result in a clear answer. Why? Because everyones perceptions and experiences are different. Not to mention everyone’s unique perceptions of the same experience… Conversation could go on for hours. To make it short though, I recommend visiting China and mingling with locals and exploring their everyday life and formulating these opinions and thoughts for yourself, because it is worth it. If you don’t have the time (or funding) and would really like to know what I have to say after all has been said and done, I believe that despite superficial differences, everyone bonds over a good laugh and a good meal, and possibly some baijiu 🙂
Sorry if you were reading this and expecting my post to be about the course and the research. I would be happy to discuss that at anytime. Feel free to contact me at email@example.com.