Saturday, March 15, 2008

Reflections on China

Wow...sorry it's taken us such a long time to get this post up. Originally we had gone through all the pictures and decided which would be "blog pictures" - but that was taking so long - so we've just posted the link to Picassa.

What a fantastic trip. Both Donald and I had been wanting to travel to Asia, and the chance to visit our good buddies Steven and Jodee offered us that wonderful opportunity. They were certainly the highlight of the trip, it was such a pleasure to get to know Jodee more and enjoy time with them as a married couple! They are uber-fantastic (Steven - that uber was for you) and we can't wait until they move back to the USA. China was certainly an interesting country - a place booming with "newness" and a seemingly capitalistic society - yet controlled by communism. Not being able to really communicate on any level was a humbling experience - marked with laughter and some uncomfortablity as well.

Apparently Beijing has "manners police" to prepare them for their role as host to the upcoming Olympics. Some of their lessons include 1) Don't push people in lines (yep, experienced that-who pushes pregnant women anyway??!!) 2)Control your belching in public - kinda gross (heard that quite a bit) 3) Hocking (sp??) loogies isn't really pleasant (I agree) and 4) Children going to the bathroom in public is somewhat uncomfortable for others - that was the highlight of interesting things that we saw! And yes - we're meaning both "numbers" and sometimes in front of informational signs in the Forbidden City.

Now, all of this sounds incredibly ethnocentric - it was so different from our western culture - and that was so fantastic to be immersed in! It's kind of sad that there are manners police, embrace the differences! We were able to be there for the end of Chinese New Year, and therefore experienced the culture of the people on a somewhat elevated level perhaps. Everyone had time off from work, so the parks were always crowded with people just enjoying each others company and presence. We loved that. Family is so important, and it seems as though the older generations truly value community. Our favorite aspect of Beijing were the Hutongs (the old style of living where the family lived together in various buildings surrounding a common courtyard) - it is a style of living that is sadly dying - mainly staying perserved because of the increased interest presented by the tourism industry.

The Great Wall was unbelievable, it was so surreal actually walking and standing on something so ancient that I have seen so many times in text books and professional photographs; I hope I don't forget that feeling. We hope to return to China again - it was extraordinary.

1 comment:

kristian & katy said...

sorry- we read this a while ago and never commented...

how amazing!!!! we looked at all the pics and they are so great. i'm so happy you guys were able to have this amazing experience! and jealous all four of you got to hang out!

what an awesome adventure.