Author Profile: Dawn Jones-Garcia
Class is over and I am 18 hours from Shanghai in the beach town of Qingdao. Sitting in my hostel’s common room, surrounded by travelers, I am drawn out of my Chinese stupor by a language that at the moment seems so foreign to me—English. A month of reporting in China has indeed changed me. I admit that I came to this country a bit fearful. China was so imposing, so foreign, and most of all so misunderstood. I am leaving with an entirely new perspective. China is an amazing …
Westerns may scrutinize China, but a farmer looks at his village and sees something quite different.
The day began at the Beijing Normal University, where I spoke with Chinese philosophy students about the teachings of Confucius. My interest was indirectly inspired by the piles of bricks, both old and new, that I had seen in the hutongs around my hotel. Construction workers routinely incorporate bricks from torn-down structures with new ones to erect the modern buildings now sprouting in Beijing.
Thus, the idea of combining new and old forms made me wonder how traditional Chinese culture persists in the face of the country’s fast-paced economic growth. I wanted to know what metaphorical “old bricks” are reincarnated in the new China. A philosophical conversation seemed like a place to start. As the day wore on, I got schooled in the oldest aspects of Chinese culture. Appropriately enough, the most intriguing lesson came with little explanation. . . .
I am always up for the adventure of travel. I love visiting new places, meeting new people and learning about their culture and homeland. Most of all, I love the personal growth that inevitably accompanies a journey abroad. My world becomes just a little bigger with each place I visit and in the end I am a better person for it.
We depart for China in little over a month and I have to admit that I am experiencing a confusing mix of feelings. …
I’ve been in Beijing for less than a week, but already I have a favorite place to sit and watch the world go by: Jin Hai Restaurant, just outside the old neighborhoods in the original city. My Chinese vocabulary doesn’t stretch far beyond “ni hao” (hello) and “xie xie” (thank you), but my translator explained that Jin means “landscape” and Hai means “ocean”.
And here, on any given day, you can sit on the patio and observe waves of sweaty blue uniformed workers, gossiping grandmothers and egg-delivering scooters pass by, as this fishing net of a restaurant lures neighborhood denizens and visitors alike to its plastic patio furniture and the sound of hearty greetings from owners Ho Pin and Ho Kon.
The Ho brothers epitomize a changing China, a nation in which capitalism has taken hold and the entrepreneurial spirit is alive. . . .