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home sweet home

We are finally home from the trip of a lifetime. I have to admit that it is nice to be back and the simple things in life are a sweet relief. It was strange today when a lady on the street said hi to me, I forget about the concept of "Minnesota nice," and I almost forgot to say hello back. It is nice being able to order my own food without a translator and I have found myself pointing at the menu anyways. I also am still surprised to hear others say thank you, you’re welcome, excuse me or sorry. I love the clean air, and I have been getting my fill of it since we have been back. I also am thankful for washing machines and dryers (my pants fit again!), refrigerators, ice and clean (not to mention cold) drinking water. This trip has definitely taught me to appreciate the things we take for granted here in the United States.

Would I go back to China? If the trip was for pleasure, I think I would wait another 15 years until China is more developed, and I would want to have a stronger grasp on the language because it is painful not to be able to communicate in a foreign country. I would love to travel back to China for business purposes and hope that I can be a part of international business in the future. I think that studying Chinese business principles will help me in the future to be a better manager because I have a better understanding of at least one other culture.
I think one of the most valuable pieces of insight I gathered on the trip was gunaxi, the unspoken physiological, emotional and material reciprocity of others. I think that spending time with Leon and his family was the most culturally enlightening, truthful look at China. His family was very kind to us even though we were able to fully communicate with each other. His family paid for all our meals and took us to beautiful places in southern China.

I am happy to be home, the melting pot called the United States is definitely the home of the free and the home of the brave. I love being able to eat American, Mexican, Italian and any type of food I want. Tonight we are having shish kabobs and I could not be happier about it.