Whoa. I have been sitting at my desk for the last hour reading a blog which just blew me away. I am on my lunch break and I didn’t even bother to eat because I was so absorbed in the reading.

The blog I was reading is about life in the same small airport where I lived the last year, but told from an entirely different perspective. The writing is beautiful and the descriptions are true and honest. The author is also an American, a wife of a flight instructor and a mother of two small children. I remember when she first arrived to our hotel. My only thought was – wow, she has come to China with two kids! Other people thought this was crazy, but having lived some of my life outside of the US I knew it was a gift she was giving her children, even if they left while their memories were still young & small.

Her writing and experiences have moved me to reflect on my own blogging and representations of life at that airport and the nearby city. Was I as honest as I could have been? I was often tired after work and didn’t feel much like blogging, so many of the fun, day-to-day experiences I had in China are not represented. My interaction with the local Chinese was small and not very significant, and that is something I always regretted. I spent most of my day with my Chinese students, concentrating on aviation. My social time was spent with my DH and other instructors. I always felt very isolated from “real life” living at that airport, which is why I longed to move into the city center. I missed a great opportunity to get past the surface of rural Chinese life – something I really had no idea how to do, especially since I am quite shy.

If, after reading my blog you believe that my experience was not good or that I did not enjoy it, then I have failed in my effort. As I’ve said before, China is complicated and can be difficult at times, due to cultural differences and communication problems. But I really did enjoy the challenge and I must admit I am happy for another opportunity to get to know the culture better.

The blog I have been reading tells the stories of a woman who did find a way to delve into local life. She befriended workers in the hotel, learned Mandarin, visited local homes. She is an artist so she also took photographs and made amazing drawings of her local friends. (Her drawings reminded me so much of the work my Mom used to do.) Her writing has inspired me to go more native, as had always been my goal.

I hope that through this next year in China I will have an opportunity to get to know Chinese culture, language and life in a more profound way, and I hope that my writing will improve and grow.

To the writer of that blog – you know who you are – thank you.

%d bloggers like this: