My parents immigrated to Canada in 1990 to escape the tyranny of the Chinese government and to build a better life in Canada. After listening to their stories of hardships and frustrations, I realized how fortunate I was to be living in the country I now called home. When the day came to revisit my homeland, I felt uncertain and nervous. Would I fit in? Would I like it there? These were some of the concerns that were racing through my mind.
But as the trip progressed, I realized how much I enjoyed staying in China. Despite what started off as a foreboding voyage, this journey turned out to be one of the best experiences of my life. It had been a long time between my move from China to Canada and the visit to my homeland. As a baby, I had left for Canada and adopted many new traditions and learned many new things. Going back to China for the first time in eleven years would offer me incredible new experiences, but I wasn? t prepared. I wasn? t ready.
Leaving my birth country at the age of one and forgetting many of the proper Chinese traditions, I felt so isolated from my culture. The only encouragement I had of taking this trip was from my parents, who reassured me that I was going to do fine. However, my doubts still remained and I knew this would be an obstacle I had to overcome. As I first stepped onto Chinese soil, I began to explore many of the different features of my culture.
The benefit of the currency exchange enabled my parents and me to shop in exquisite Chinese boutiques and eat delectable Chinese foods. As I bit into a delicious deep-fried dumpling while sipping some bubble tea, my worries and anxieties drifted away like mist. Eating and drinking as if I were royalty and shopping in splendour, my life was a paradise. For the first time since I arrived in my motherland, I felt that I did fit in with my culture, for I was adopting many of the Chinese customs already.
Adapting to China's less fortunate society was the hardest challenge. One major disappointment of the Chinese living style was the unsanitary conditions. Everywhere I went, most washrooms were smelly, fly-infested places where toilets were holes dug under the ground. It was repulsive yet distressing to think that millions of people in China had to endure these conditions everyday. Furthermore, China lacked social welfare programs.
Wherever I went, I saw impoverished families in tattered clothing begging for food and money. One example of this poverty was when my mother and I went to my grandfather's grave one day to pay our respects. As we passed by the burial site, there were two elderly ladies who were pleading for us to buy their flowers, which were equivalent to twenty cents. As my mother paid them, I watched in horror as they began bickering at each other for their share of the money. After this incident, I realized that China wasn? t as prosperous as I first thought it was. In the end, my voyage to China was successful and pleasant.
I learned so much about my birth country, and of its people and customs. Furthermore, when I looked back at the anxieties and fears that I had before taking this trip, I realized they were so unnecessary. This journey brought out the compassion in me, and it would give me empathy for others in the future. Overall, my trip to China turned out to be a limitless opportunity, and it taught me more about myself than I? d ever wanted to know.