My wife and I fly back to Qingdao early this Friday morning and will arrive Saturday evening (Beijing time). We’ve been in America the past two months, and it’s time to go! If we had more things to do or people to see, it might be a different picture. Let’s just say we’ve had some time on our hands. And since doing the Culture Shocks in China Series earlier this summer, I read a little more up on it. To my eyes came this heart-twisting quote.
Let’s not make an overly big thing of culture shock. Yes, it’s real, and for some it causes real problems. But for the great majority of missionaries it is but a temporary phenomenon. We said earlier that culture shock was basically disorientation. The solution to it, then, is to get oriented.
-Thomas Hale, On Being A Missionary
One way I’ve started recently getting more acquainted with the Chinese before re-entry is to know better their history. I decided to focus on the last century since their history spans for thousands of years, but I’m not too enthusiastic when it comes to this subject because it’s been hard for me to wrap my head around the whys of events. Nevertheless, this week has been groundbreaking. I completed a book last night called The People’s Republic of Amnesia by Louisa Lim. (Here is my review of it) Then, this afternoon we watched the first two hours of the China in Revolution documentary series. I won’t ever completely understand Chinese people because of obviously being quite opposite, American, but I started to grasp the reasoning why a few nationals think or feel the way they do. I intend to learn more about this in the future, but with a baby coming the end of September it might happen in a slightly slower fashion. Especially since I told my wife that I’d start reading a couple baby books upon our return this weekend.
That said, I feel like this summer has been quite personal. I’ve become more conscious of new ways that I can relate to Chinese as well as conversations that could turn out strange and/or extraordinary. Either way, I can do this, and it feels good to be where I am in relation to a group of people thankfully less foreign to me.
Now, being an English teacher and a fan of puns I recall a couple articles with lines that I put together in a couple ways using differing punctuation. Let them sink in.
I can get oriented.
I can. Get oriented.