Almost a full 2 months after being in China, the memories of being there are as vivid as the day we left. And when people ask me about my experience there, my answer is consistently the same ... enlightening. The things you see in movies, hear on the news, read in a book and hear from others, pales in comparison of truly experiencing China firsthand, especially Beijing.
From the moment we got off the plane it was as if we had been invited to someplace important, the kind of placed you're always being watched so that you don't sit on the fancy furniture. Oddly enough, you are. Sometimes in the most obvious of ways such as in the form of armed guards, and other times as discretely as a street or hotel cam, or everyone's favorite... The Internet.
Between business visits, cultural events and sightseeing, it was incredible to see that a country on this small earth of ours was so different than our own. It was almost as if we had been transported back in time. Rules and standards felt very stiff and old, and technology and standard of living more harsh than I could ever have imagined.
But regardless of how uncomfortable we were with difference, having this great group that's grown so close in a matter of months, made it easier to take risks. To venture out of your own personal norms and experience a life that many never will, nor will they understand. Perhaps the conditions weren't what we have all grown so accustomed to in our own lives, and the food less than appetizing (and at times unrecognizable nor indigestible) the experience and memories are some which I'll never forget.