The Blog of Jake Kelfer
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This article is exactly what it sounds like. While I was in China, I had many thoughts come through my head as I experienced a completely new culture and spent a lot of time doing personal reflection. The following thoughts are 100% random and were written down as they came to me.
Random thought #1: I’m the only American in the area while we transfer flights. It makes me think about what it must be like for someone who comes to America for the first time. They are clueless, alone, unsure of the language and experience so many more feelings. Are we doing whatever we can to help?
Random thought #2: People in China understand the history of their country way more than the average person in America. Why don't we take as much pride or why aren't we taught with the same emphasis?
Random thought #3: Drinking water is served hot. Water fountains are hot water. Hot water serves two purposes. It guarantees the water quality is good and it is used for tea which is extremely common.
Random thought #4: It’s tough not to understand anything. I feel helpless and completely out of control. It’s hard to feel useless in some situations.
Random thought #5: There is a lot of rest time. My hosts want to make sure I am well rested all of the time. Should we be resting more in America? How much does rest help performance?
Random thought #6: People in China seem to be conversational with each other. People of all ages gather together and talk for hours. People acknowledge each other no matter the age or job title.
Random thought #7: Kids are kids no matter where you are in the world. They like to laugh, have fun, and be goofy.
Random thought #8: Very few people wear seatbelts. They even have the piece to click in the seatbelt holder so the car doesn’t recognize they aren’t wearing seatbelts. It prevents the car from making the annoying seatbelt beeping sound.
Random thought #9: There are these bugs in China that are quiet and then all of a sudden they make a bunch of noise almost like a buzzing sound and then go back to being quiet. I can’t see them but I can definitely hear them.
Random thought #10: It’s much easier for people to read than to verbally understand a different language. How can I always be sure to communicate in the most effective ways?
Random thought #11: The audiences absolutely loved pictures when I showed them as part of my speech. Pictures are easier to relate to and understand.
Random thought #12: I don’t think hugging is very common. Every girl I gave a hug to was shocked but seemed very excited. Is there a difference here or was it just me?
Random thought #13: The concept of time is interesting especially when I don’t know what is on the agenda. Throughout the trip I am going with the flow and since I don't have control I have no clue when the next item on the schedule is. Drives, meetings, rest... all of these things normally have start and stop times, but not when I was in China and not in control. How do you keep your mind present at all times?
Random thought #14: When you spend 10 days straight with people you become good friends even if you don’t understand most of the conversations. Being around people for that much time innately creates a bond. The strength of that bond is determined by other factors.
Random thought #15: Life in China is at a much slower pace. People take their time. Business takes longer.
Random thought #16: People react to other people no matter where you are in the world. Even though I have no idea what Phill says, when he smiles, I smile. When he laughs, I assume it’s a good conversation. I might not be able to join in by speaking but I can make my presence felt by participating in the emotional conversation through body language.
Random thought #17: I love the music on the airplane before we take off. It’s magically soothing.