Observations from Beijing

Jan 26, 8:31a, Beijing

One thing I can’t get over is the children in China. They are so cute it’s pretty ridiculous. Split pants aside (if you know what I mean, you know what I mean πŸ˜‰ ), they are such cute bundles of energy, curiosity, and wonder. And I admit they are dressed pretty stinkin’ cute in their little puffer jackets and fun character hats with rosy cheeks from the stingingly cold wind of Beijing.

I was taking pictures during my first day in Beijing and I couldn’t help but be fascinated by these little ones. They are so similar to the children back home. I love just smiling at them when I catch them staring at me. Some are shy and hide and some are more outgoing and try to get my attention. So fun. =)

There really is a tenderness that you see when it comes to Chinese parents and their kids. Such affection and such love is exchanged in their interactions. And most are down right spoiled due to the family ratios “encouraged” here. I think it’s been a special opportunity for me to be here during the Spring Festival. Most have the week off for this national holiday to spend time with their families and they are out and about in full force! You can see just how important family is here, probably followed closely by the sense of nationalism and pride that comes with bring from a culture that has existed for centuries. However, it’s been sad to note the less noble parts of the culture…which I can fill you in on later when I’m back home…but people are people wherever you go, and we all need Jesus.

It’s been a crazy to see how West meets East out here thus far. KFC. McDonalds (McCafe to you in China!). Starbucks. Dairy Queen. Definitely ubiquitous stamps of the States out here. We did some, let’s say, research to see how the food translated. πŸ˜‰ But laugh if you will, it is a different cultural experience even in these very Western restaurants. The values of the people translate into a different menu, palate, and ambiance that you won’t find at home. I find it very interesting though how much this culture emulates certain Western elements. Looks like we are not without our stamp on things, even in a land of such ancient heritage.

Lest you think I’ve spent all my time eating at McCafe, rest assured that it’s been fun eating real Chinese food and going to a Hot Pot place. Food is definitely a big component of life here, and what I’ve eaten has been very tasty. Well, except that silkworm on a stick business. Bleh.

(Little did I know that most Chinese don’t eat that stuff but they have it for tourists! So much for being adventurous for the sake of culture!)

I will say that the people have also been very nice. Most have been incredibly helpful to this foreign gal and it’s the best to see them smile at a simple “xie xie” expressed in gratitude.

It’s been the best to realize how comfortable I feel here. You’d think not knowing the language (4 phrases doesn’t quite count in my book πŸ˜‰ ) I’d feel a little isolated, but I feel welcome and at ease. I was glad to find that my Metro know-how and sense of direction has helped make this large city seem more doable alone, but it was a welcome sight to see my friend when she got in late night before last.

Well, not sure I have much more cultural insight to share at at this point but I look forward to learning and exploring more in the day ahead!

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