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Monday, June 11, 2012

Final Reflections

It’s hard to believe that two years have already gone by, and that I am preparing to go home. These two years have been an unforgettable experience. My last blog will be a reflection on my time in Peace Corps China. I have split it into 3 sections: What I will miss; what I won’t miss; and what I learned. I hope this final post can give you a good idea of my overall experience as a Peace Corps volunteer in China and what I will take away from these two years of service. What I will miss: 1. My students 2. The food (spicy Sichuan food, baozi, jiaozi, food with lots of vegetables) 3. The flexibility (flexibility in my lesson plans and schedule) 4. Respect for teachers 5. Cheap beers that we could walk around with 6. Travelling with Peace Corps friends 7. Tea (sitting for hours drinking tea, chatting, and playing cards without worrying about anything) 8. The countryside outside my school (the farmers, dogs, chickens, pigs, cats, and ducks). 9. Friends (Peace Corps, Chinese, and other foreigners) 10. Fresh vegetables and fruits that are easily accessible 11. Good public transportation 12. Free lunch 13. Being given random advice (put more clothes on, drink hot water, take an umbrella). At first this really irritated me, but after a while I really felt the love and care behind those words. 14. Sense of community (shopping at the same stores, eating at the same restaurants, being cheered on when running through the countryside) 15. San bu (walking slowly through the countryside after meals or just to talk) 16. The feeling of safety (China is a very safe country, aside from theft which doesn’t bother me) 17. Having hot water readily available for drinking What I won’t miss: 1. Lack of organization 2. Spitting 3. Laughing 4. Pollution, and dirt 5. children relieving themselves wherever they please 6. Water and electricity randomly being turned off 7. Being stared at, laughed at, or not understood (when other people understand me just fine) 8. Winter 9. Personal questions and the obsession with marriage and having babies 10. Stomach problems 11. Internet censorship 12. Being illiterate (I can read more than when I first came—such as signs and menus, but it’s hard for someone who loves to read to not be able to do so) 13. Little pieces of bones in fish and chicken 14. The geese 15. Fighting to pay the bill 16. Guanxi (the art of forming relationships in China) What I learned:

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