I believe that a life is best defined by its experiences. The trip to China provided me with a new outlook on what it means to live a full life. I have traveled to many other countries, but I never cease to be amazed by those details that connect us and those that make us different. As cliché as that may seem, there is nothing like walking down the street and being amazed at a sunset or smiling and making eye contact with a person down the street. I became envious of how proud the Chinese were of their shared history. The level of pride for one’s homeland was contagious.
The trip to China provided me with a new outlook on the underpinnings of Chinese culture. I previously did not know of the 55 minority groups present and the resources China has devoted to ensure their representation in government and education. That sentiment was echoed in many of our ministry meetings, such as the Ministry of Education and the Bureau of Ethnic Affairs.
I left China with a level of hope I was not expecting. There was honesty and humility surrounding the discussions about China’s shortcomings. On the other hand, I was impressed with the vision the Chinese people have for the future of their country. I left with a sense of hope that it is possible to both love your country and respect others for loving theirs in the same way. I left with a sense of hope for the future of American and Chinese relations.