China truly is the other side of the world, 12 hours away, and one long hole dig through the center of the earth if you are willing to try. We were able to see lots of culture and places in our year in China where we taught a public high school in Jinhua. We are proof that with God's help, the internet, and a smile, you can get a lot done without knowing much Chinese.
Everywhere in China seemed to be uphill and then of course, downhill.
A slideshow of Chinese food for your enjoyment! I would say that the variety and tastes are our favorites out of all the countries we have traveled in so far. From the street food to the hot pot to the family style restaurants, there was always something new and delicious to try. We did not try the stinky tofu, regardless of the fact that their slogan was "The smelly more delicious."
Whether in the countryside or the city, there was evidence of the history of China everywhere. It constantly amazes me the percentage of people who live at what most in the US would consider an unacceptable level or in poverty but the reality of it is that that is the norm in a lot of the world that we have seen. What might seem uncomfortable for us might just be okay for someone else, or the way that they have always done things. I think that is one of the greatest lessons you learn when you get out of your comfort zone and see the world for yourself: tolerance, acceptance, and understanding that just because it isn’t the way you think it should be or should be done doesn’t necessarily make it wrong.
Guilin and Yangshuo were two cities we visited on our spring break trip. We started our trip with the bullet train to Shanghai at 185 mph: I assumed there were no seat belts because you wouldn’t survive a crash at that speed anyway. We went to a lot of different old villages that were reminiscent of old China, with the photos of Mao on the walls and a tiny old person living in each space. They are all connected in a maze of narrow passageways and old people are all you will see here living in tiny living compartments; it is probably the first place with the idea of “tiny houses”. Most of the younger people have all gone to the cities to work and live, but the older people stayed where they were from and live a subsistence life on what they grow and a government retirement stipend. I have to say that it seems better than having to go to an old folks home as long as you can take care of yourself and have others around to check on you. All photographs are copyrighted and the property of Cathleen L Carpenter Photography