What did I learn in China?
1. I learned that I am not a sardine. I got on Harbin’s [metro] buses at different times over the 5 weeks and learned when not to take a bus and when to grab a taxi instead.
2. I learned to pay attention to my environment. Silence and close observation work well in unfamiliar spaces.
3. I learned that pedestrian rights aren’t really a thing in Harbin. I would be rich if I counted the amount of times I almost got hit crossing the street when the sign said, “Cross the street.”
4. The 12-hour difference between U.S. and China showed me what it means to enter a different time zone & realm. In truth, it represents time travel, which means I have experienced the science fiction genre [which is not fiction at all. Hhhmmm].
5. I do not like strangers coming up to me [paparazzi style] to take my picture, so being famous may not suit me well. But I’m not opposed to trying out 30 minutes of fame every so often.
6. I learned that having a small cute dog in the store, in the mall, on the bus, in the community…is similar to U.S.’s love for dogs. Some of these pups even wear shoes or socks or something similar to human coverings, which is why I think their dogs were actually humogs or hogs (human+dogs).
7. Big Lesson: When or if you receive rejection, make sure you have a 'go-to' spot [which may be a person, place, prayer]. And when you don’t know what your next step in life is, be grateful that you have a now-moment and breeeathe. Just breathe. Long deep breaths.
8. I learned that rice wine is soooooo good. So so good.
9. Trust what your body is saying to you. Look, I’ve eaten more spice and tofu than ever before. I’ve also consumed something (unsure what) that kept me in the bathroom throughout the night. TRUST your body. In my case, flushing it out with water was key. Water has been one of my greatest allies in China.
10. I learned that I’m not a comedian, but I think I’m kind of funny.
11. If you are in China or certain European countries, walk with tissue, especially when you have to use a public bathroom.
12. I’ve spent a good portion of my time depending on my teaching partner who knows way more Chinese than I do, who has a working WeChat app (mine stopped working a few weeks ago), who is adventurous and is traveling in Beijing and other areas in southern China currently. She has taught me to push the envelope and explore.
13. Make the best out of situations that don’t go your way. Do not travel with complainers. DO NOT travel with complainers. I am grateful for Tiffany Diebold (teaching partner). Here’s hoping I travel with others who are as adventurous, bold and spritely.
14. I didn’t pack much clothes, and even then, I still didn’t wear everything. I had to throw out one of my favorite pants because I wore it so much that a BIG hole formed on the upper-inner-thigh. Each trip shows me how very little I need.
15. I am a writer. I write. I love to write. In all my years I have questioned whether or not I had something to say on paper, and China gave me the answer: You do, Traci. You have a lot to say. You are a talker…writer…talker…writer…If to no one else, at least to yourself. DO NOT MUTE YOUR VOICE!
16. And finally, Home. I learned how appreciative I am to be home.
Goodbye and Thank You So Much, China.
p.s. So now that I am stateside, do I continue this blog or should I find somewhere else to go for another 5 weeks and do this all over again?