NU students immersed in China

Thursday 29 January, 2009

I found an interesting international article immersed in the Chicago Tribune magazine featuring health Getting the yang of it by Desiree Chen.  In addition to the perspectives on eastern vs. western health practices, there were some interesting revelations on cultural differences too.

“Rein describes evenings after dinner, when neighborhood people come out onto the sidewalks to dance. Just dance, to music from a boom box. Families bring kids, grandparents and pet dogs. They dance alone, in couples and in lines, and Rein often joined in. Same with the pickup ping-pong games, held on makeshift tables along the streets. Players keep their paddle with them, should they be challenged to an impromptu match.”-I used to boogie solo from time-to-time when I was living in Germany, but I think that would get some pretty weird looks here.  I hadn’t thought of table tennis as such a portable game, but I guess it works there.

“But each did come away having discovered a new aspect of themselves. The discovery helped to balance parts of their lives they hadn’t even realized were lacking…Chow, who is Chinese-American, is the first in several generations of his family to make a serious attempt to learn Chinese. Although he has taken Chinese classes for three years and had been to China before as a tourist, this trip was the first that allowed him to live the culture and to talk regularly with ordinary people. He did not know he could feel so comfortable in a place that is so different from the U.S., even though it is where his ancestry lies.”-I was the 1st & only in my family for a long time to have gone back to our roots & learned German.  When I lived there, I recognized some of our inborn (?) traits that carry on over there.  It took awhile, but now when I’m there, I’m really comfortable too.

“It is Jani who seems to have been the most deeply affected by her experience in China…The trip affected her on a more personal level too, if only temporarily. Before the trip, Jani’s days consisted of classes, work and study, with a few hours of sleep and one meal a day shoehorned in. “Balance in my life is something my parents have always pushed me to have, but I want to do so much and think I can do it by giving up sleep or a meal,” she says. “So I never seemed able to achieve it.”  Until she went to China. For two months, she was sleeping eight hours a night, eating three meals a day, and shopping with her friends. And dancing with Chinese families on the sidewalk after dinner.  “They were teaching us how to dance, and were so happy and stress-free,” she says. “I guess if people did that here we’d call them crazy.”-Many European friends of my comment on how busy & stressful lives are we live here in America.  They do in China too.  When you get away from your normal everyday routine, it just seems like you have more time to kick back, relax, & enjoy.  When I was living/working in Poland, I never read more books.  It was a welcomed luxury.


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