My experience as a whole is hard to sum up in a few words, a few sentences or even a few paragraphs. Being able to experience a mix of cultures truly helps prepare oneself for the future and being open to accepting change. Before I left for China, I had no real idea of what I would experience. I think having no real idea was beneficial for me because I was ready for a complete culture shock and seeing how life was from a different perspective. I was not held back by preconceived notations. Although, I did picture the old styled buildings I also knew there would be cities full of lights in the more known parts. I did not want to limit myself to what I thought or heard from others so I found it easier to just wait and experience China for what it really is.
How did I do it? By living in the moment, I had the time of my life. It is honestly hard to describe to someone until they actually experience it for themselves. It is amazing how are lives can be so different yet similar at the same time, a complete oxymoron but true. For example, the food was one of my biggest culture shocks. I thought I would have a hard time finding food I liked (so I brought plenty of snacks from home) but I always found myself wanting to try something new. I think while in China I tried the most amounts of newest foods I ever had. I felt that since I was here, I might as well at least give the food a chance because it’s not often I visit here. Although I did not try every new food I saw, I tried more than I would have if I kept a closed mind.
This trip really helped to remind me that it is ok to try something new and not like it as long as I gave it a fair chance. I think nowadays it is easy to dismiss something as simple as trying a new food because it is easy to. I will admit, some days I went out seeking comfort food and it was interesting to compare to back home. We tried a classic New York styled pizza (pizza with pepperoni and mushrooms) and had a burger another day. No matter what food I tried I was always down for the experience and I never tried to limit myself. I found out from this trip I love freshly made noodles that are made to order from small family owned restaurants! I also now know I like quail eggs! Overall, I learned I liked new types of foods I would never have tried without visiting China. I appreciate the help from all the volunteers and to everyone who made this trip possible!!