I had reservations about our class trip to Beijing, but I must admit it was one of the most powerful life experiences I’ve had in my 25+ years. I have traveled to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and even Europe but nothing amounts to this trip. I could write about many memories but I find myself relating to a few on a weekly basis; the people of China, environmental factors, business and traffic.
Based on my observations, the Chinese have a much different concept of personal space than Americans. I found myself apologizing to strangers on the street every time I bumped into someone or I got an elbow for a greeting. However, it didn’t take me long to adjust to the culture by not acknowledging my rude behavior according to the American way. I assume Darwin visited China before developing his theory on survival of the fittest.
Another lesson learned from our trip is the environment challenges in China. Every morning when I take my dog, Bailey, for a walk I am grateful for the fresh air and EPA. It may not be the cleanest country in the world; but it is a wonderful place to live. I often take a deep breath and just stare at the blue sky and wonder what people from Beijing would think of our clean skies and water.
A daily observation of mine is how our two countries operate their businesses. In PBBI – US, every promotion, new hire or transferred employee is expected to sign non-compete and confidentiality agreements but in our office in China employees receive one document when they are first hired. Both countries have a similarity in that the businesses are having a difficult time keeping employees engaged and loyal to their company.
In addition to the many business lessons learned, I now know why Walt Disney does not have a theme park in China, you can experience enough of a thrill driving on the roads. Riding in the heart of Beijing is definitely enough of a thrill ride for any tourists. If it wasn’t for Mervet’s wonderful advice on looking out the side window I would never survived the cab ride. I couldn’t imagine getting stuck in a 10 day traffic jam.
Thank you all for helping make such great memories.