Saturday, August 4, 2012

More Than Provincial Living

The City of Xiamen
I. LOVE. TRAVELING. Familiar is good, nostalgic, but there is so much value in experiencing new things. I love the obscurity of the unknown and being completely out of my comfort zone. I am probably romanticizing it a little, there's a lot of culture shock and homesickness that comes with traveling, yet, being stripped of all comforts has a life-changing, eye-opening, irreversible impact on a person. You can't walk away from such an experience and ever be the same again. Different cultures fascinate me. I like tasting new food, meeting strange people, and doing things that scare me a little. Maybe I'm a daredevil. Different is terrifying, it's not always enjoyable, but I try to embrace my fear

It's like public speaking (I know...just work with me here). I'm terrified of getting up in front of people and talking. I get shaky, my heart races. But that's why I love it! I love the adrenaline rush, the pressure. It invigorates me. Haha. Maybe I am a little crazy. Yet, I feel like the risk is worth it. If I have something that I can share with other people, why would I keep it to myself just because I'm scared of putting myself out on a limb? 

I think in general, people in the West need to get away from their comforts, to open their eyes to what's going on in the rest of the world.
Next spring (January 11-April 26) I will be studying at Xiamen University in the Fujin province of China. I am seriously pumped! I just got accepted. There's going to be ridiculous amounts of paperwork to figure out, but I'll get through it. Here's and overview of the program I'll be going through: 

{Information taken from this link}
After spending the first eight days of CSP in Hong Kong, students are then hosted by Xiamen University for ten weeks throughout the semester. Xiamen University is located by the South China Sea in sub-tropical southeastern China. CSP also spends two weeks in the ancient capital city of Xi'an (as part of the History module), a week in rural China for a service project, and a week touring sites in Beijing (the Great Wall, the Summer Palace, the Temple of Heaven, Tian'anmen Square, the Forbidden City) and Shanghai. Overall, you'll spend time in the northwest, northeast and southern regions of China  a wide sampling of a huge and diverse country. 
Here she is, the beautiful university of Xiamen. Yes, there is blue sky and grass in China. 
Your eyes do not deceive you, there is also a track! See it? The odd, redish-orange rectangle in the back? 
I can't express how much I am looking forward to this trip. I've wanted to go to China since I was ten. China has a unique place in my heart. Nine years ago, my parents went through the adoption process to bring home my little sister, Brielle, from China. She is now a beautiful ten year old little girl. I often forget she is adopted. She is my sister, "wo mei mei" the Chinese would say.

I was too young to go with my parents at the time, but since my sister's adoption, I've wanted to go to China myself. Also, I want to take Brielle back. I want her to see her heritage, the place she was born. Although she is an American citizen, I want her to appreciate Chinese culture as well.

To be perfectly honest, I want to live in China and teach English. When I tell people this, I admit I've never been there before. I guess I'm glad I'll be able to experience it for a semester first. It will give me a lot of perspective.

But why China? I ask myself this question. There's the obvious connection within my family, but why else? I don't know. I honestly can't say. I've come to this conclusion:

I don't want to live a safe, comfortable life.
I don't want to hoard the years I have on this earth in the safe compounds of my familiar surroundings.
I want to know more about life, the way others live it.
I want to share my faith; to give an opportunity for others to understand--not just hear the gospel, but see it lived out.
I want to make friends with people unlike myself.
And ok, I'll be honest...I want an adventure.

I realize I can do this anywhere in the world, but I feel God has directed me to China. Until he calls me elsewhere, this is where I'm headed.



  1. agreed. travel is really something everyone should do in order to expand their horizons! i am so jealous of your university trip. that sounds like a wonderful and life-changing experience! can't wait to read more :) do you speak mandarin at all?

    (also, random comment, both you and your sister have super pretty names!)

  2. I do speak a little Mandarin. I took 6 credits of the elementary level last year, and I'll be taking 6 more credits of intermediate in China. It's soooo hard. I'm still not very good. :/ But I can only get better. :)

    And thanks! :) Sometimes people ask if "Brielle" is her Chinese name. Nope, definitely not. Her name was Jihong Chu. Chu being her first name (pronounced chew). We decided not to keep it. Haha.

  3. That sounds like the experience of a lifetime (hopefully more than once!) How fun. I did my student teaching in England (I am American) and was so super glad that I did that. Once you have kids and all that, you don't tend to move around as much. At least I haven't.

    Enjoy your trip!

    1. Thank you! Yeah, I definitely can't take this experience for granted. I know it's a unique opportunity, and you're right, I hope I can go back someday!