I never really understood the power of this word and just how much impact it can have on a life…until I moved to China.
I didn’t really understand just how close-minded my sheltered existence enabled me to be.
But I think I’m starting to see a few things differently.
As I am writing this post, I am sitting in the International terminal of the Guangzhou Airport waiting for my next flight – my first opportunity to come home in eleven months.
I’m sitting looking at the planes land and take off…one after another…as this will be a ten-hour layover.
It is very hard for me to describe for those of you who have known me for a long time. I feel very different from the person who moved out on this adventure in August. I have been places that I couldn’t have even dreamt of seeing. I have done things I wouldn’t have ever dreamt possible. I have lived in China for 11 months. I have taught in an international setting…at a private school – something I’ve never done before. I have eaten things that I couldn’t begin to identify…OR I AT LEAST TRIED TO EAT THEM. I have muddled my way through learning to get around one of the largest cities in the world without speaking the language. (Smiling, nodding, and looking helpless are powerful tools for this task.) I have developed a small smattering of what I call “survival Chinese.” It has not been easy – but I can now say that I love it here.
All of these adventures have had a profound impact on my perspective. When I first came to China, a large part of me felt like…
– My ways certainly had to be better than this…
– This isn’t the way I used to do things…
– There is absolutely no way I can eat that!
– I cannot stand that smell!
– Why on earth do they do that? –
O.K. – so that last one still gets me sometimes. I’m only human.
Over the course of time, I started to see things differently. If the way things were happening around me didn’t work, they would have stopped doing them. I learned to let go of the way I used to do things and started to find a “new normal.” Yes, I can eat that. Surprisingly enough, I hardly even notice the smells anymore. I may not fully understand this new culture that I find myself in, but I am more able to appreciate it now.
I remember the situation that I was in when this shift first started happening. There are people who sweep the sidewalks in the complex where I live with these brooms that are made of totally natural material. The broom actually still has the leaves on the branches. I used to think that they could certainly get a better broom for these poor people than that. One day, I noticed that in one sweep, they got all the leaves and debris up with just one swipe of that broom. That’s when it happened…
My ways weren’t better than theirs…
I have A LOT to learn!
I can’t wait to share more with you as I learn and grow into who I’m meant to be through this incredible journey.
These are just a few of the things that I’ve noticed.
This is the way I NOW see it.