Prologue​ to China: Classroom to Reality

Written and posted February 25th, 2018

你好, 我的名字是 Anna Harrison. For those of you who do not speak or read Mandarin, I said, “Hi, my name is Anna Harrison.” At least that is what I hope it reads. I (as well as the majority of the people reading my blog, I assume) do not know Mandarin either. I asked one of my good friends how to write that sentence and, hopefully, she is not making a fool out of me. I have tried to learn Mandarin, believe me. I have been using Duolingo every day, asking my friends how to say words, and going to the weekly cultural sessions my teacher, the trip leader, has been hosting since I decided to go on this trip to China back in October. However, learning a new language is not as easy as it seems. I should know. I have been taking Spanish since Kindergarten and, yes, I am in Spanish 5 at the moment. Yes, I can understand, read, write, and speak Spanish, although I am nowhere close to fluent.

You might be wondering, “Anna, you have been taking Spanish for most of your life and know very little Mandarin, why in the world are you going to China instead of a Spanish-speaking country?” Well, the answer to that question is, IT IS CHINA! I have been to Mexico a couple of times, for service and for vacation and, while I would love to go back or go to another Spanish-speaking country when I heard that China was an option for a Senior Project, I was incredibly excited! 14 days, 6 cities/provinces, mouth-watering food (Dim Sum), the Great Wall of China, Terracotta Warriors, Tang Dynasty show and dinner, and so much more! I could actually visit the Forbidden City, the former Chinese imperial palace from the Ming Dynasty, in person. Images from my five-pound, highlighter-filled history textbook would be brought to life. I also chose to go on this trip because it is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Of course, you are thinking that sounds cliché, “once-in-a-blah blah, everyone says it, okay, we get it,” but it truly is. Without this trip, the opportunity Westtown and my parents and family have given me, I believe that I would have never gone to China. While I wish that was not the case because I love to travel and want to go everywhere, most travel abroad programs default to western European countries instead of Asian ones, and I do not think China is a place I would travel to on my own. I am extremely grateful for all everyone has done to put this trip together and cannot wait to be watching at least six movies (it is about a sixteen-hour flight) and relaxing on the plane four days from now.

See you in China!

– Anna

P.S. I want to let you know that my other blog posts will (I hope) not be as long as this one. I really enjoy photography, so I plan to accompany each post with lots of photos. I also want to let you know that China limits access to sites, and I may not have WiFi for a majority of the trip. I may have to post my blog posts when I get back to the States. However, feel free to keep checking in case I do get WiFi and can post. Thank you for reading!

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