Thursday, August 29, 2013

Textbook pictures and stories

I am less than a week away from my return trip home. I am happy yet sad as my flight approaches. Out of necessity, there are many things I need to attend to when I arrive home. I only wish I get everything I can from this trip. I hope to drain China of its lessons. This is futile with countless lessons to be had I know but I will become a better man with this goal in mind.

The main event this past week was our trip to the Great Wall. This was the trip we were all waiting for. I knew it was going to be worth it, but I didn’t expect to have so under-rated that statement. It was another step climb but not nearly as treacherous as Mount Tai. It only took about 20 minutes to reach the top. The second I stepped on the wall’s walkway and gazed out at the spear-like mountains, a rush of happiness and accomplishment washed over me. “This is why I’ve come”, I kept telling myself. I thought about how textbook pictures and stories could never compare to the real thing. To hear about something your whole life, then finally have it right there, to touch, to smell and to relish is a satisfying feeling indeed. I wanted to sit up there for hours with that view, meditate and bask in it. It was awe-inspiring and I will mark it off the bucket list.

As tradition, the trio (Myself, Devon and Chris) did back-flips, pushups, and handstands at this historical spot. Bodies by Harry. This tradition yields excellent photos which my mother will be more than happy to welcome into her scrapbook. We made our way down where I then purchased a hat for my boss in America. I haggled a bit during this transaction, one of my best actually. The hat started at 85 kuai which I then was able to bring to 30 kuai using my stone cold features and many attempts at departure. I’d make my father proud.

Yesterday my class and I took our professors out to dinner. We got to know them a little better and I made plans to challenge my professor in bad mitten. I am very competitive being raised as a wrestler, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous of his skills. We shall see. It was a wonderful dinner and it is a shame it’s the last for the foreseeable future.

Well I’ve got some studying to do. I hope you’ve enjoyed my blogs thus far. Feel free to live vicariously. I hope to visit China sometime again and better my Chinese in the meantime. It has been such a journey so far. Now I just have to get gifts for too many people. I’m curious how this trip will affect my USD spending at home.. Did I mention I love dancing in China?


It's a good feeling to be accepted amongst peers even though you're different in so many ways

It has been a long journey. I feel as if I’ve been in China for 3 months instead of 1. This is most likely due to the many events and tours we’ve had over the course of our visit. We had to be up and ready by 5 a.m. Sunday morning, so an early wake up of 4 was in order, or would be for the normal breed of man. I am an extremist at times. I have a hard time sleeping on planes, or in a sitting position anywhere. So I decided to stay up the night and tire myself to exhaustion so I could sleep better on the plane. This backfired a bit. I was up all day Saturday, stayed up all night Saturday night, and was still unable to sleep on the plane, a 14 hour flight might I add. There is good to be had here though! Due to this extended plight of sleeplessness, I was able to somehow drastically decrease my jet lag. I crashed for 20 plus hours, and woke up Monday morning feeling light as rain. With all bad comes equal good and with all good comes a denser meaning.

I look back on my visit to China and two things come to mind. One: We are all the same. Of course there are differences. There are differences that make towers fall. But there are differences that shape our souls! In the grand scheme, we all require the same things for survival, we all strive for and enjoy communication, we are all naturally accepting of peace, and we are all very curious; of other cultures, countries, and any unknowns. Two: I miss my new friends very much. It is a good feeling to be accepted amongst peers even though you may be very different in so many ways. This acceptance molds camaraderie, deep friendship, and the ability to look at the bigger and more important picture. To the nights we felt alive, and a bit out of place. Cheers.

I’d like to make a note about our favorite place Laker’s. These wonderful employees, who we’ve come close to despite the lack of dialectal communication, shared a round of shots with myself, Devon, and Chris, free of charge. It is a small gesture but one I appreciate very much. An important toast is a strong thing where I am from. Farewell Laker’s for now. I can only hope I visit again.

On my arrival, I had Monday to rejuvenate, visit the loved ones, and prepare myself for normalcy. Immediately on Tuesday I was back at work, putting in two long, 12 hour days. My co-workers were very happy to see me back in action. I missed them very much. Personally, China was my last stop for now as far as school goes. As I returned home it sunk in that I just procured my Bachelor’s in Science, Mathematics. It took me a long time, leaving school and returning at the age of 23. Perseverance is a hard lesson to learn but a necessity if one truly wishes to accomplish anything worth accomplishing.

This trip has opened my eyes to traveling! I can’t wait to plan summer trips all around the world. There is so much wonder out there. I strongly suggest that people travel. Then after the world has been sought, I urge all to look up at the stars, to our vast galaxy and unfathomable Universe. Take chances and push yourself to your limits. It is the only way to progress.

    — Harry Schultz, mathematics major

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