“Those that want to change the world can’t wait to get out in it!” That copy was written as the tagline for a recent Delta Airlines TV commercial. When I first heard this I jumped out of my chair and shouted, “YES! That’s me! I may not have always thought I could change the world, even though I wanted to, but I’ve always wanted to at least see the world. I guess I’m a bit of a wandering soul.
What does the world have that I want to see? People. All kinds of people. I love people. People different than me. People of color. People of different sizes. People that speak different languages. I want to know what the eat, what they see, what they do, where they work and why? I want to know people of a different culture. I want to know who people love and why. It’s been said about me that I know no strangers in this world, only friends for whom I’ve yet to meet.
China has always intrigued me. But especially after meeting a classmate of mine in graduate school. Li Jie was from China. Tianjin to be exact. I had no idea where that was, so she just said, “It’s near Beijing.” Li Jie was a stranger waiting to be introduced to me as a friend. Li Jie went by the American Nickname of Eileen. Eileen was in serious need of some English tutoring as we worked together on our master’s degree in Integrated Marketing Communication from Roosevelt University, in Chicago. Eileen was young, maybe in her early 30’s, pretty and very introverted when I was asked to help her with her communications skills, (that’s another story). Eventually she was very eager to learn and share stories of her life and culture.
The more I talked and learned about Eileen’s life, the more intrigued I was about China. I often found myself “daydreaming” about one day… one day, I would go to China. That was in 2001. Since then I have made nine 2, 4 or 6 week trips to China and back, and have become somewhat of an American expert on travel and excursions to what some say is the oldest continuous civilization on earth.
From the various cities across China you will find a difference in what people eat, what people do for a living and how people view the world through their eyes. You will find stories of both young and old, city and country and for what the Chinese call a small city. There are only about nine cities in the United States with a population of a million or more. In China there are more than 200 cities with a million or more people. These are stories about those people and their experiences.
You will also find as you read these blog posts that Chinese people want essentially the same thing that people in the rest of the world wants; they want to be happy, they want to love somebody and they want to be loved by somebody.
As you read this blog I will tell you stories that will share the human experience of the “charm and chaotic cacophony of the Chinese culture and cuisine.
My first story is, “How did I get the name, Xie Yeye?”