Day 2: The Parts Left Behind, and the New Introductions

I’m living one of my “only a matter of time” moments.

People are constantly looking towards the future. Whether it’s due to anxiety, preparation, or day dreams, we simply cannot stop gazing into our little glass balls to guess our destiny. This is where my “only a matter of time” phrase pops into the picture. “Only a matter of time” before I’m graduating, getting married, having kids, yada yada yada.

Why do we always forget to remember our predictions from the past while we live the present?

Alright, well, everything written above was a previous post that I left unfinished, and therefore unpublished. But I couldn’t come up with another intro so I’m gonna leave that question for y’all to ponder (sorry for the southern slang; I was sitting beside a girl from Texas today).

Run down on today:

Basically just classes. We were lectured by the State Department, which wasn’t all that special, but one thing stuck with me:

Everyone was exhausted and famished. We were all up late last night and no one really made it down to the lobby in time for a quality breakfast, so one of the staff members threatened us to keep us awake; if we fell asleep, we would have to stand up and sing the National Anthem (we laughed at this until realizing that she was dead serious, and that it has happened before).

Well, the speaker sensed our fatigue, and invited us to play a game of thumb war. Every student was paired up and we were told to keep playing for one minute in attempt to have the highest score. So while everyone attacked each other’s thumbs, I noticed that two of my friends found another way to play. Taking turns, they alternated who’s thumb was pinned down. First hers, then his, then hers, then his… They switched- back and forth- voluntarily losing and winning. And they kept count, like we were told to do. Except, instead of getting in around three intense thumb wars like the rest of us, they each had about 30 “victories”.

The minute ticked by and then the woman pointed us back to our seats. “Okay, anyone get more than five points?” A few hands went up. “More than ten?” Some dropped. “More than 15?” Only two hands remained frozen in the air: the girl and the boy. Now, honestly, I thought they would make something up to avoid the spotlight, or drop their hands to avoid being exposed as cheaters. But they didn’t. The boy, upon being asked by the Department Head, explained his 29 victories by stating “my partner and I took turns winning. We decided to keep going for the entire minute, and whoever had the last victory won. You said to have the most points. Well, I won 29 and she won 30.”

After a few people called them out as cheaters (we were a little harsh ’cause whoever won was rewarded with food), the woman just smiled. “Why is that cheating?” she asked the accusers.

“Well, they didn’t play correctly.”

“Didn’t they?” The woman grinned us. See, she explained that no rules were broken. The boy and girl simply did it another way. “And that, is what is going to happen on a culture immersion trip.”

Cultures operate differently. Just because something is executed in another way, do we need to label it as wrong? It’s difficult to put into words.

Basically, don’t be a Trump.

 

So, on the staff, there are two Chinese women that run the program in Xi’an who will be flying with us to China. Their job is to prep us for the culture and make sure we don’t do something incredibly vacuous upon arriving. One woman declared in a very thick accent, “China is like girlfriend. They say one thing and mean another. They say they don’t need help, but they do. They say they don’t want you to pay, but they do. You want a girlfriend. Treat them like your girlfriend.”

I thought that was something worth quickly sharing.

Anyway, nothing remarkably groundbreaking happened today, but I know this is just the beginning. These philosophies will only become more apparent. Everyone interprets them differently, so I decided to simply explain the context instead of analyze them.

Also (if you thought we could not be more suited for each other), our Xi’an group used the projector in the Orientation room to watch the Princess Bride tonight.

Short post. Sorry. You’ll have to wait until Friday night for the next one (I’ll be in China!)

See you on the other side!

Ana

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