I honestly never really expected to be doing what we’re doing. I mean, it’s always someone else who ‘goes’.
But, here we are!! — My husband and I are going to China!
Tickets are purchased, tourist visas are in the works, and in two short months there’s so much to do!
So, why China, some ask?
I guess the best way to answer is – why not?
We weren’t particularly looking at going to that part of the world. The idea kind of found us!
While at a Mission Connexion NW event here in our city, my daughter and I wandered through the exhibit area. We happened upon this small table decorated with a colorful cover, brochures, photos and a poster board. The women standing behind were already chatting with others gathered around, so, we listened in. I was captivated by their description of “requirements.” Looking at my daughter, I said, “I think this is do-able. I need to bring your dad over.”
And, our interest took flight. These women drew us in with their enthusiasm and heart-felt love for the Chinese culture. They told us how people “our age” are perfect for this type of engagement. Little did we understand how our life experiences were all that was needed. Ron and I couldn’t find a reason to refuse.
Coincidentally, Ron had traveled to Hong Kong on another cultural exchange experience not long before this weekend encounter. His experience brought incredible people into his life. It was inspirational for him to see first hand the many sites and history China culture offers, along with their great desire to meet Americans – an interesting and humbling reality. Being able to practice English is one reason to engage us Americans, but, interestingly, they are curious about our ways of life, family, religion and economy.
Shortly, thereafter, we followed up with applications and interviews. An orientation with the Silver Cord folks brought more reality. These new friends are very similar to ourselves; baby-boomer age, raised a family, some are grandparents, retired – or nearly retired, others having traveled extensively, and sincere hearts to learn and share in cultural experiences.
Throughout our required, but appreciated, orientation, most attention was spent learning what to expect: nuts and bolts regarding the apartment waiting for us; relationships developing as a result of others who have gone before; stories and examples of what is typically Chinese compared to our Western thinking; cautions for health and safety including fun stories of meeting neighbors and shopping in the local stores.
Discussions also essential were of spiritual warfare and what to do in case of awkward culture moments. These several hours allowed for heart warming conversation and stories from those present. Time flew. Anticipation grew for Ron and I.
As long as the doors of this country are open to visitors, we are only too delighted to be their guests.
Follow this blog! Since this is my first real experience out of country for this length of time, I’ll be posting in the days and weeks ahead!
Have you ever traveled cross-culturally? I’d love to hear how you processed your “going!”