Many of you whom might not be very fond of the red lantern nation might be wondering why I intentionally chose to spend one year of my life living in a polluted city, where face-masks and nonexistent sanitary standards are ubiquitous, and the milk might kill me.
Well, I am here to quell your bulging curiosity, so fasten your seat belt and let’s get started.
- Home is where the family is. Despite the fact that my parents dragged the family across the Pacific and dumped us all in Canada, they were unsuccessful in migrating the entire family there. So my four grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, and whatnot, still resides in Southern China. So being back here for a year entails the endless possibilities of family drama and miscommunication (mainly due to my preposterously horrible Chinese).
- Food that kills. I might get the uncomfortable inkling, every time I eat out, that what I am putting into my mouth could most likely be rat meat disguised as chicken, but I just can’t deny myself the heavenly food that China is famous for. I was born and raised on salty, spicy Southern Chinese cuisine, and I intend to fully indulge in it when I am here, regardless of the dangers of food poisoning and the likes.
- Pollution makes headlines. What better place to study sustainable development and policies on the environment than in China where pollution is appalling high. This is a country that needs smart, cost-effective sustainable technology and policies the most, if China aspires to be a solid, stable world power. To find a cure, you must be unafraid to head into the heart of the disease. So I am going to roll my sleeves up and get my hands dirty (figurative).
- How long is your history? The Chinese civilization has one of the world’s longest histories, rich in thousands of years of traditions, culture and language. Coming from a country with only about 126 years of stories behind it, China is a fascinating place to be.
- What are you saying? I am ashamed, being born Chinese, to confess that my Chinese skills are pitiful. I can barely handle an everyday conversation in this ancient language. So I am back to rediscover my roots, and revamp my Chinese in the most intensive, mind-imploding method: submersion into the Chinese academia. Yes, I will force my way into courses taught in Chinese there, with the high likelihood that I will fail it because I won’t be able to understand 90% of what is being taught. But, I have found that the most effective way to learn a language, is to make mistakes, make them often, and actively learn from them. Indeed, that’s the most effective way to learn just about anything.