Sunday, July 18, 2010

Excerpts from short little updates to friends - 19 June 2008

**This is a never-before-published journal entry from June 2008.

"I CAN'T WAIT to get back home.  The one consistent lesson I've learned in every country I visit is that America is the best place on earth....Don't get me wrong, I love to travel.  But life is so much easier in America."

"I have the most awesome picture.  This morning Christine and I walked over to South China Normal University (I don't get the name) which is literally right next door to her appartment building.  All the sudden we walk by this building which has a huge red and gold banner over the entrance which reads, "A Warm Welcome to all the Principals from Tennessee, USA here for the International Youth Leadership Program."  Haha, who would have ever guessed?  I insisted on exploring all 6 floors of the building in hopes of stumbling upon some fellow Americans but with no luck.
Oh well, I had a good laugh."

"I actually didn't bring my laptop with me to China for security reasons, so I'm storing all my photos on memory cards.  Fortunately these have become very affordable and I'm able to buy a 2 GB memory card here for around 7 USD.  Pretty amazing.  It's been in the high 80's and 90's since I got here, and humidity is hovering around 90%.  So you can imagine that's a big change for someone coming from a mild, dry, 55 degree Australian winter.
Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers; they are truly a comfort in my times of uncomfortable and unassured situations."

"I wake up every morning in awe and anticipation of the day that lies ahead.  There is no way to convey in an email the extent to which my life has changed this month.  I'm going to have to write a book.  I already have actually; my travel journal. It's 8:30pm and we're driving back from a village about 40 km outside of Guangzhou, where I was stared at all day by Chinese rice and pig farmers who have never before seen a foreigner-- especially not one with reddish hair and freckles.  I was warned about curious Chinamen but was not prepared for the intensity of their questioning expressions.  In an attempt console me, Christine tells me that when Chinese people stare it's actually a compliment; that they consider a beautiful woman to be one that commands the attention of passersby when she walks down the street.  Hmmmm.....I get the feeling that it was more my awkward Hello's and various short Chinese phrases (surely spoken in the wrong tone) that got their attention. Haha.
On the up side, I seem to have mastered the chopsticks and receive compliments by all the waitresses wherever we go."
Dinner with the Liu brothers (Christine's dad & uncles) in a local sushi hut
Pig Farmer - Mayor of Small Town - Pig Seller - City Boy (her dad)

"I'm flying back July 1st.  Really can't wait.  I've never really had homesickness before in all my travels- but, as amazing as China can be, it's just too foreign.  There are just too many cultural norms here that really aren't normal.
For one, nobody seems to mind not being able to see the sky or buildings just a km away.  They don't seem to notice the fact that breathing is almost impossible.  I miss America and her clean air more than anything.
I'm sorry for complaining so much."


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