Preface: I have been told by some of my new friends that I love to be an exaggerator, saying words like “love” and “best” far too much. I do not think this means what you think this means. I am just a very optimistic and enthusiastic person, to the point where I have so many favorites that there is almost no point to proclaiming neutral emotions, because I do love so much of life. I am no one of consequence! If you do not agree with my outlook, then that is okay! I just hope that these blog posts can convey my pure joy and adoration for many parts of not only my trip to Beijing, but to life in general. As so succinctly proclaimed by They Might Be Giants, “I live like a worm.” No further explanation necessary.
China is definitely not what I expected it to be. To be fair, I don’t believe that anything can ever be perceived fully unless you immerse yourself, and I was only able to do that for the past week. Thank God that I had the courage to do so (and thanks to Will Ferrell as well).
Since I stepped off of the plane, I have been in a state of awe. The airport, the people, the traffic… I will emphasize. The traffic. Have you ever been in New York City? Now imagine that traffic on New Year’s Eve, and then subtract the basic rules of human empathy and sanity from that. This is how the traffic is in Beijing. That is just an example of how different things are from America.
So, I guess you could say that I have been feeling a bit of culture shock. I think that I would be able to spend the rest of my life here if I spoke Mandarin. The city is wonderful, and there is so much to experience. When I visited the Lama Temple, I couldn’t believe my eyes. I do not consider myself a very religious person, especially in the practices of Zen Buddhism, but I was amazed. Not only was the whole temple gorgeous and ornate in more intricacies than can be seen by the naked eye, but the place was alive itself. For me, to see something that people desire to experience for their whole lives is an inconceivable (Humperdinck!) concept.
As I kept trying new things, I made many friends. I am not sure what will end up of these friendships later on, but they are so enjoyable in the early stages. With some people, I feel much closer than I ever have at such an early stage of any friendship because I was given the opportunity to think about and discuss things from such a different outlook than I could in the States. When I climbed the Great Wall, I talked with some people about many larger things in life that are blissfully ignored in many cases. When you are seeing the gorgeous scenery from one of the most important pieces of world history, though, you begin to think about your importance in the grand scheme. Some of this was, indeed, inconceivable to me because of the time spent knowing these people. But when you find true friends, you feel like you have known them forever.
This is not to say that my new friends have replaced my friends from home in any way. I miss all of the people that I love more than I could describe, so I won’t even attempt to do so. (This is how my entire blog post has gone. You’re welcome.) But I have not panicked a bit, because I know that the people whom I love will be there for me forever, so what is two months away? Wuv, twue wuv… I just hope that the new people in my life continue to stay involved, and one day become old friends as well.
The point of this post: friends make your fears seem much more conquerable. And I guess you could say that I am fearful. I fear a lot of things. This trip is meant to be a deterrent of fear for myself, as well as a new cultural experience. I am proving to myself that I can be an adult, and trek into the Fire Swamp, and defeat the ROUSes and Humperdincks of my mind: the unknown.