Friday, May 30, 2014

I've Got Friends in Low Places

As I began drafting this post today, how appropriate was it that I stumbled upon this quote by Mayo Angelou as we are in the midst of celebrating the life this incredible woman? Before taking off on this journey of a lifetime, I know I had some preconceived ideas of what the people in both China and Taiwan would be like. Luckily I had already met students from Taiwan, so I already had a good impression of the country. However, I still had some doubts about the rest of the Asian population. When I was in high school debate, I cannot even begin to tell you the number of times our policy debate rounds resulted in "China will nuke the U.S." scenarios. (Yeah, yeah, I was a debate nerd back in the day.) In fact, I rarely heard nice things about Asia. Much of the talk on television is regarding the high air pollution or the ways in which the Chinese government is trying to keep their people in the dark by limited social media access. All of this certainly doesn't paint the prettiest picture. 

After traveling to both China and Taiwan, I am ashamed to have believed any of those notions about that part of the world. The people I met were nothing but welcoming and accommodating during our visit. They couldn't have left a better impression. It makes me wonder if travelers to the U.S. are left with a similar impression? I hate to say it, but I rather doubt it. 

Spending so much time with the students of China Medical University formed memories that I am not soon to forget. From cooking competitions to teaching some of our new friends card games to receiving our Chinese names, I am amazed with how easily we were able to connect with one another. When it comes down to it, we are all just college students with similar struggles and joys in life. How truly remarkable that we were able to come together and experience life together!

Here are some of my favorite pictures with our new friends:

The students made Morgan, Jessica, and me signature stamps for our Chinese names!
Coolest gift ever!

I dare ya to try topping these amazing people!

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