The current “crop” of Global Mission Fellows of The United Methodist Church … from everywhere to everywhere, ages 20-30, our present and our future! Check out their blog.
Below are some reflections from Fellow Maria Niechwiadowcz, teaching in China with the Amity Foundation:
1. No matter how much I learn about China, I will never know enough. 1.4 billion people. 5,000 years of history. Various news sources from multiple cultural perspectives. Enough said.
2. Mandarin is the hardest language EVER (dialects make things difficult). I am a little ashamed to say that after spending 11 months in China, I still can’t carry on a full conversation in Mandarin. Survive? Yes. But conditions vary. The guyuanhua dialect here is still incredibly hard for me to understand and even with standard putonghua, my vocabulary is limited.
3. Every day is an adventure. Living abroad turns normal activities like grocery shopping and walking to the bus stop an adventure where anything can happen. I am challenged on a daily basis to adapt and take everything with a dose of grace. Here are just some of the thoughts that run through my head on a daily basis:
- At the grocery store: Pear-flavored sausage? Ok…
- Walking down the street: Pig heads on side of the road, no big deal.
- Upon hearing fireworks going off: Either my apartment is being attacked, or it is a holiday, or….neither, I live in China.
- After being invited to an official banquet: How lovely! When is the banquet next week? I mean, of course the banquet is tonight. I’ll cancel my plans.