I’ve been home from China for almost five days and I still can’t find the words to talk about it. It was such a total different world! There were so many different emotions though out the trip. I experienced so much joy spending time with the kids, but there were also a lot of hard moments. I can truly say that this trip was one of the most difficult (and rewarding) experiences I have ever had.
Eventually I want to talk about the sadness and the hard things. However, for right now, I am just going to focus on some of the really great times! To start, I fell in love with the children of China!!! The culture embraces singing and dancing, so the kids were so unabashed in sharing their excitement through those mediums! I LOVED it!!!!
For example, I was able to lead a group of kids one night in line dances I learned in middle school. They had so much fun, though no one had more fun than me! It was crazy to see their smiles as the language barrier disappeared. You don’t need common language to share your happiness. I could feel the excitement in the air as everyone laughed and tried to follow my lead. (This was the night of the talent show on the island.)
Another example was from our time in Dali, part of the Yunnan Province. We went to a dance school where we taught the kids English songs. They were so funny trying to learn! After they taught us a Chinese game. It was a lot like “duck, duck, goose.” We all sit in a circle and one person walks around the outside carrying a handkerchief. When they drop the handkerchief behind someone, that someone has to get up and chase them around the circle. The initial person from the outside has to try and steal the seat of the newly tagged person. The person left on the outside of the circle then has to go inside of the circle and do a performance. It can be a song, dance, trick, etc. After their performance, they take the hankie and the game begins again. The children and our team had so much fun! People performed songs, little dances, and a few little girls proudly did their splits. All of the team members got to play too. When it was my turn to perform I dropped down into my splits. The little girls went CRAZY! They were definitely not expecting it. It was so fun! (Later, the main dance teacher pulled me to the side and complimented me on my dancing. She saw me playing with the ballet bar and a few girls. I asked her to perform for me- she is a well known dancer in China- but instead, she asked to teach me a few steps. It was so fun! I couldn’t understand what she was saying, however through music and our bodies we were able to speak. God is so great for putting dance in my life!!!)
My last example (though I could go on for hours), was during our first English camp. We started each morning out with songs. We sang camp songs like Baby Shark and Father Abraham. I also taught them a little primary song from my childhood, Give Said the Little Stream. I made up hand motions to it and the kids loved it! It was so fun watching them try to say all the words. The kids were so dedicated and excited.
So despite the hard things and the definite cultural shock (mostly the food), China was amazing. The kids stole my heart and gave purpose to the trip. I loved every second of their smiles and I am so thankful for everyone who made that trip possible.