Hey everyone!

So tonight is my last night in China. In about 24 hours I’ll be home. I still haven’t finished summarizing my trip so in the next couple of weeks I’m going to keep updating this blog on various things that I did and that I will be doing, so don’t think you’ve lost me again. But right now I just wanted to put some final thoughts down about my trip before I go home and reflect.

China is the single place where I have felt out of my comfort zone in every way possible. I look different, I sound different, I have a different way of life, a different mind set. Using my learning of the language as a gateway, I was able to see into a whole different universe, and one that ultimately stems from a lot of the same values and principles that are universally common. For instance, Chinese government places the family unit above all else. I think that is something that everyone can agree is important, no matter what ethnicity or race you are. I’ve learned about a country’s history, cuisine, lifestyles, jobs, weather, you name it. I think that its safe to say that I now understand how the Chinese population works. At least a little bit.

But most importantly, is that I’ve truly grown as a person. Starting with the most objective things, I’ve learned to use chopsticks, I can read and write and speak Chinese a lot better, and I can try new foods with unknown bravery. I can lead a group of people, even when I’m not sure; I can have confidence in myself; I can take a challenge and face it; I can accomplish my goals; I can travel anywhere in the world I want; I can step out of my comfort zone, and sure enough, survive; I can still change and grow and learn about myself and the world around me; I can be a part of something greater, I can be an individual; I can make a difference. While some of these sound a little over-dramatic, and perhaps they are, they’re all true. On a daily basis I was asked to challenge myself and conquer the day’s tasks.

I can only recommend that everyone does something big in their life, to step out of their comfort zone and take a risk. It certainly has changed me in ways I never thought possible. I am truly lucky to be able to have these opportunities and I want to thank everyone who has got me where I am today.

Only slightly less sentimentally, I’ll get back to posting daily articles on Tuesday when I’m home to round out my China experience. I still have to write about, recycling, the Summer Resort, The Great Bamboo Sea, more about the World Expo, haggling at street markets, eating weird foods, eating delicious foods, the cool places to go at night, and of course, the gifts and souvenirs. See you guys stateside!