China – A Mind Bending Experience

I’m an educator and curious person who has been traveling to China since the cold winter of 1989-90. That was an amazing trip, launched by my Ph.D. advisor and the Nanjing University English Department in China. I had just studied Spanish for 10 years, and China was not at the top of my travel and exploration desires. But I’ve been returning regularly ever since.

I have so much to communicate and so much I want to hear from others. And yet, I’m finding that getting a blog started feels as daunting as when I first contemplated learning to put gas in my car. Having grown up in a world where gas station attendants performed that mysterious task, I balked at learning. Then someone showed me how. I couldn’t believe it. How could I have been intimidated by that process? I had traveled the world, but I was certain that getting gas into my car would involve a complex and technical learning procedure.

Although getting a blog going isn’t quite as simple as pumping gas, where to start is. And yet, I’ve been postponing this first blog entry for months.

A European-American woman—middleclass—I’ve been an educator all my life—working in programs for high school students, teaching in public high school and then elementary school, mentoring beginning teachers, teaching college courses to prospective teachers, consulting, etc. What I have found in China since the moment I went is that, for me at least, it is an exhilarating country. Besides, the culture is so different from my own, it’s like looking at my own world up-side down. Although I’ve walked along the borders of many cultures in the United States, none has been so puzzlingly different as what I meet in China. At the same time, I feel continuously welcome there.

The noise, the crowds, the long history that is hard to fathom, the continuous changes are magnificent to encounter. They bend my mind and ask me to think in new ways. At home in Los Angeles, I covet the quiet of my home. In China, I can’t wait to get off the plane and walk with the throngs of people, soaking up the river of sounds that flow around me.

So, I have started my blog. The next entries, which will come about every two weeks, will dip into some of the multiple thoughts and experiences I’ve had and continue to have there.

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