A Grand Adventure

I’m home. It’s so weird to be back after the three weeks I just spent in China. I’m actually quite relieved to be home; it’s just a bit hard to comprehend still. I loved China. I loved getting to meet people, and eat good food, and see pandas, and visit relics of a world older than my whole country, but I’m glad to be back. I guess I never realized how different China is from the U.S. I was ready for chopsticks and had been warned to bring my own toilet paper, but I didn’t really get it. China is a middle-income developing nation. I guess I always saw either the economic wonder or the ancient civilization. In reality, however, China is somewhere in between. China is a country in transition. The old lingers, both the good and the bad, while the new is working to implement itself in a sustainable way. It was the elements of transition that I liked least about China. The air I couldn’t always breathe. The food off the streets that, as often as not, wasn’t safe to eat. The lack of dependable wifi that limited my efforts to keep my blog updated throughout. China has grown incredibly over the past thirty years, but its journey is not yet complete.

I’m sure when I get home people will ask me, “what was your favorite part?” Well, that’s a hard question. The easy answer would be pandas. I got to see giant pandas and take pictures and videos of them. (I may upload a few here for anyone who’s interested.) Seeing a panda was a lifelong dream of mine. It was something I had always wanted to do. However, if you told me a decade ago that I would one day go to China and see pandas, I doubt I’d have believed you. Now it’s actually happened. But was it really my favorite? I also got to walk on the Great Wall, see the terracotta warriors where they were discovered, and try ridiculously good dumplings filled with soup. I did tai chi with a host of elderly Chinese people, petted a silkworm, and had a discussion with a pro-capitalist think-tank. This trip was a dream come true, despite my joy at returning home.

Now that I’m back, my thoughts have turned to my next journey. Japan. I saw the lights of the region around Tokyo as we flew over it on my trip home. I want to really see it. I want to walk the streets and meet people. I want to travel around Japan, just as I have around China. I’m excited to see where life takes me. So far, it’s been a grand adventure. Sometimes good, sometimes bad, but never boring. What else can I ask for? The skies beckon me ever higher, ever farther. I will fly again soon. My journeys have only just begun.

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