Good morning (or evening, depending on your time zone)! I am creating the blog post to share with you the things which I have experienced so far during my life changing journey through China.
I landed in Beijing Monday, July 9th roughly around 8pm. After traveling for around 30 or more hours (as I had left home at 8am the previous day) it was almost surreal to think of all the time which had passed during what had appeared to be one day of traveling.
I will always remember those first few thoughts which ran through my head as I got my first real glimpse of China. Being able to see the world through that separate lenses at 10,000 feet truly enabled me with the ability to see past that surface level of initial reactions and make those meaningful connections between both my ideas and the reality of what I had seen. The main ideas of this country (being values such as community or shared experiences) are truly brought out in the way that towns and communities are structured, showing completely different values from what we can see or experience in America. I will never forget that.
On our first day within the capital of the country, our group was able to view not only some of the current government buildings and sites (such as tieniman square or the national museaum) but also the historical ones, such as the Great “Forbidden City”. Standing outside of this great complex of historic houses was a set of walls meant to guard what was once the center of government and empirical rule. Laid within was a great complex of red buildings with bright orange roofs, all of which were built without a single nail or adhesive substance. Each of these small, almost identical structures once served a greater purpose. Wether they were once used for storage, work or leisure, they weee all used at one point or another. Overlooking it all was one single structure atop a small mountain. Once atop, you were able to see not only the entire complex, but the surrounding city for miles around. It’s almost inconceivable to think of how all of this was built hundreds of years ago.
traveling through alleyways and small passages, we eventually made it back to our hotel at what appeares to be the heart of the city, but for all I could know the heart could be anywhere. Community is valued here, and as I previously said this is shown through out the entirety of this city. Houses and apartment complexes are built together in uniform style and shape. The communities have been built together, not around each other. This was even shown in their restaurants. As I learned while trying new foods such as hicama and ducks feet, eating is a social experience. People don’t order their own meals, they order together. The food is prepared to be shared together, to be eaten as a collective . There is single experience, it is a shared one.
Visiting the Great Wall was probably one of the most eye open my experiences which I have had the pleasure to partake in to this day. It was not even the task of climbing each and every step up to the wall (along with every step for almost two miles along the wall) which made the experience, but it was also journey along there with it. Seeing the suburban and rural areas of this country as we traveled along to this historical sight was, yet again, one of the most influential things that I have done. Seeing the ways that communities have been built and lives have been sculpted has always been something that has mattered to me. I have the definite pleasure in saying that it was the journey which made the trip.
the entire time that we climbed that wall, it was pouring. However, one should always look to the upside in situations like this, to see the good in the bad. In this case, it meant that no one else way on the wall. During the entire span of the three hours which we climbed, there was not a single other pseron outside of our group which was on that wall, and I would have to say it made the world of a difference. At the final, acesable tower, where we had reached the top of what once appeared to be an insurmountable mountain, I can tell you that I have experienced one of the most beautiful sights that I think anyone could have the pleasure of viewing. With the mixture of the rain and mist from the mountains, this man made some gut was truly enshrouded by the surrounding nature, allowing for a truly breathtaking sight. However, everything in life has to be earned, and I can tell you that climbing those stairs was the scariest thing that I have ever done. Because the Great Wall was built with the purpose of defending China, no one really cared how it was built, but rather that it just was. With shallow steps, the wall had either two “difficulties” when it came to walking. Stair were either shallow with about a 2 inc step between, meaning short, small and off balanced steps were needed to make it up the wall. The other option was steep steps which often had a foot or more space between each one, meaning that at times it felt as if you were climbing up a stone ladder. Nothing conpares to oooking back down at where you came and realizing how steep that incline was, and that you now just tracked back to return home. It then comes at no surprise that there were a few children from our group that could not bear to go more than 1/2 a mile through the trip.
Now, I have entered my last day in the capital of this vast country, and I am having mixed emotions about it. On one hand, I look forward to what I will encounter at my next destination of Kunming, and what I will experience during the next two weeks at Shaxi. On the other hand, I am leaving the familiar things which I have seen and that can be scary. However, I know that I will be safe in my travels, and that all will turn out fine.
On a final note, this will most likely be my last post before I reach Shaxi. Due to limitations with internet, this blog was most likely posted through a family menber or personal mentor back in the United States. Along with this, I have been having issues with pictures being posted within this blog while I have been in China, so I’d you wish to view any updates photos please visit Delivering Hopes Facebook page where you can find the pictures which I have been able to send back. Thank you so much for your support during these last few weeks and days, and I look forwards to seeing you all again once I am back in the States.
P.S. I have been keeping a hand-written set of entered from each day that I have been here, and will do my best to transfer those posts onto this blog when I return to the states.