Adventurous Life

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As I bit down on the sauce covered duck foot in my mouth, I wondered how I had gotten here. To my left was my new and good friend, Guang Dian. We spent every night this past summer sitting on the floor of her room and teaching each other Chinese and English for about an hour. Now as I looked around I was the only white person surrounded by a crowd of Mandarin speaking immigrants all sharing a huge meal. After we ate, a very loud Chinese woman stood up on a chair, grabbed the top to a Gatorade container and wooden spoon and began to beat the two together as the rest of the crowd began to sing. Guang Dian smiled at me, took my hand, and we joined the rest of the crowd; suddenly I was caught up in the group, dancing in a circle, singing a song with word that I didn’t understand.
Broadening my worldview and experiencing various different cultures is very important to me. I have had many opportunities to take in the Chinese culture because I work for a Chinese church as a Youth Director; in the future I hope to do mission work in China. On Friday nights I put on a two hour church program for ten to fourteen year olds, stay overnight in the women’s dorm, and share in their community.
Sometimes it feels like I am blind in certain situations. I know that many times I’ve shown up to the church after having eaten dinner. Guang Dian would ask me, “Have you eaten?” and I would tell her yes, I just had some pizza. The look on her face would convey such disappointment and sadness that I would feel bad that I was full and make some room in my stomach for whatever it was she had prepared for me. When the Chinese community gets together for a big meal together after church services, I always felt like I should help with the clean up, but every time I would ask what I could do, I would always be told not help. Eventually I realized that this must be some sort of politeness and that if I observed what others were doing and assisted in spite of protest, they would be very grateful. It took me many weeks and the advice of some of my other Chinese American friends to figure this out.
There’s just something amazing about realizing that other people have different “social rules” than you do. It’s a wonderful thing to step out of your comfort zone and into a world that you’ve never been in before, even if it’s only a half hour away. When I was a child, I always dreamed about going on adventures and have exciting experiences. But as I got older, this idealistic child like dream melted into cynicism. Now when I look around, I realize that the spirit of adventure is stepping out of that comfort zone, and doing something that you have no idea what will happen if you do it. And I have that in living life.
I had this whole plan for my life, and it seemed so clear to me. Now midway through my senior year of high school I’ve begun to realize life is an adventure and that even though I thought I knew what I was going to do, I don’t necessarily know how I’m going to get there. And it’s thrilling. The thought occurred to me when my father was driving somewhere familiar and took a turn down a different road: there are many ways to get to the same place. Even if you turn down a different road then you were expecting, that doesn’t mean that you can’t reach your destination, it just means you’re taking a different way. It’s adventurous. It’s life, and I love it.





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