Wednesday, January 28, 2015

China Today: A happy community

Arriving in China was definitely a culture shock. But even more shocking was the amounts of food they gave us. Usually we wake up and grab something quick in America to munch on before a day of work. Then, we eat a quick sandwich for lunch and hope for a home cooked dinner once we arrive back at the house. But every meal here is a “home cooked dinner”. We woke up Dec. 29 and walked one minute down the street to a little Asian diner. Breakfast was a big, and I mean BIG, bowl of who knows what. It was amazing! From that point on every meal was huge. Every meat you can imagine mixed with vegetables, rice, noodles, etc. Putting it lightly, we were treated very well upon arrival in China.

I was in complete awe when I saw the amount of labor women did. In America we all basically go to school and find a decent paying job. Nothing too hard and definitely nothing that forces us to work all day. Yes, some may say their work is hard. But I’m talking labor, sweat, pain, survival.

You do that? These people work their butts off. The men seem to be out in the fields or working with construction. The women are carrying sticks on their backs from one place to another. They don’t just watch babysit. The babies are being carried along with them while the kids go off and play alone. So it’s not just staying at home and cooking. These women are carrying all types of heavy materials to the men. Personally, it looks to me like the women do more work than they should but that’s my personal opinion.

The Chinese community is incredible. They still use electronics like Americans, but they don’t let that come between them in terms of communication. They’re always outside with one another. You see a lot of the men playing cards on the side of the street. Or they just hang out together smoking. Almost every time they eat it’s with a group. In America we barely even make time to eat one meal with our family. Playing cards? I’m pretty sure most Americans would prefer sitting in a circle looking at their phones, facebook, twitter, etc. Chinese don’t have this and I can see a happier community because of it.

I want to take every kid back with me to America. They are too cute! The only sad part was seeing the kids beg in the poor areas of China. It’s unbelievable how young they are, and they come up to you asking for money. Even worse, the parents use them to get money! I saw multiple mothers dress up their kids in fancy traditional clothes when they noticed tourists coming. We would take pictures and they would have us pay. I admit I gave a few kids some cash, because it’s impossible to say no to their adorable faces. When the kids weren’t with their mothers they would roam around alone. We passed so many kids walking along the street as we traveled to different cities. It’s different to see since in America we keep a close watch on our kids in public even when they just go out to play.

Many of the different cities we visited had markets along the street. Some were just fruit markets. Now the huge difference in China is that we couldn’t eat certain fruit like strawberries, grapes, and apples. We could eat bananas, oranges, and cantaloupe.

Why? The fruits without peels could get you very sick because of their water. So we had to be careful. Luckily, we had our awesome professors and tour guide to buy us a bunch of Chinese fruit to try that they knew was safe. My favorite was the jack fruit. It was huge! It tasted like every fruit I have ever tried combined into a smoothie. Not lying! If you ever come across a jack fruit, get it. The colors in Chinese clothing blew me away. As an art major, I love all the colors of the rainbow together. The people of china sure know how to use the colors to create beautiful clothing.

The best part is they handmade ALL the clothes and accessories. Practically everything they sewed. We would see them sitting outside their shops working on a fancy design for their next product to sell. Some parts of their outfit represent what village they are from. So we could just look at what they wore to understand where they were from. It is all simply amazing. Of course I bought a few hand sewn accessories with every color imaginable sewn in. I had too. I don’t know many good sewers in America, not like this.

— Jennifer Felegi, art studio major #HuskyAbroad

Led by Vera Viditz-Ward, professor of art and art history, and Jing Luo, Ph.D., professor of languages and cultures, a group of Bloomsburg University students spent three weeks in China studying language, culture and photography. The group, hosted by Yunnan Normal University, traveled to Kunming, Hekou, Yuanyuang, Mengzi, Dali, and Lijiang, where they had close contact with a variety of ethnic groups and learned about their lives and cultures.

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