In my second year in grad school I had the amazing opportunity to travel to China for a school trip. We were in China mid April to early May. This was the first time I traveled overseas and I remember never being so sore from just sitting! It was nice to get to watch many movies but for someone who needs to move regularly (to move my Liver Qi)… the flight to and from China was intense!
The moment we landed I think we all felt like we were on another planet. The air was a yellowish smog color and we apparently landed in a section of the airport going under construction, so it was vacant and it felt very eerie.
I kept a journal during these 3 weeks so I will provide some insight to where we went, what we learned about in the hospital, cultural lessons, random happenings, and some of my thoughts. Journal entries are bulleted:
- It’s already an overwhelming experience.
- I feel completely out of it.
- After a nights sleep I feel a lot better and ready to take on Beijing!
Prince Gong’s Mansion
- Buildings have a step at the doorway where you have to step over it, with your right foot, to ensure you keep the devils out!
- One building would have been stocked full with 4,000 tons of gold!
- Huge dome building with a moat around it.
- Amazing… hard to grasp all the history it’s seen.
- Crazy busy.
- People taking pictures of us and with us.
Bei Hai Park
- Gorgeous area with willow trees lining the lake, such beautiful flowers.
- Music and dancing! We had a blast.
- I almost got ran over by a little vehicle.
The Great Wall
- I forgot to count the steps!
- Jenna and I did a handstand at the top of the Great Wall.
- A classmate brought her hula hoop so we all hula hooped. 🙂
- It was basically a big party on the Great Wall.
The Silk Factory
- It was so awesome to see the silk worms and the process. The silk feels like clouds.
- Wow, needed some warning for that… You had to bargain for everything. They totally crowd you. It was intense. But I got some good purchases.
The Temple of Heaven
First Teaching Hospital of Tianjin University of Traditional Chinese Medicine
Topics we learned about in lecture and in the hospital- in and out patient:
- Wen Jing Decoction “Warm Menses Decoction”
- Treatment of stroke: They will treat inpatients two times a day for stroke with great results.
- Pediatric Tui Na
- Knee Osteoarthritis “Xi Bi”
- Skin Diseases: acne, herpes zoster, verruca plana (HPV), alopecia, psoriasis, vitiligo, eczema
- Fire needling… it’s as it sounds!
- Prolapsed lumbar disc
- Muscle meridians
- Back pain
- Orthopedic care
- Herbal treatments: topical patches, treatment tables with venting areas for herbs under the table to vent up to treat the patient
- Lung cancer
- The traditional four closed courtyard is where people live. The north side (facing south) is water and where the elders live. The east side is wood and where the son lives, to grow big and strong, wealthy, and to eventually leave. The west side is metal and where the daughter lives, to stay and have wealth but to get married. The south is fire and no one lives there since fire ruins things, but guests may stay there. The courtyard is earth and where they have apricot and pear trees, a pond and a bucket of fish.
- When taking photos, the peace sign is a very common sign. It represents “victory.” If you do a thumbs up, that means “great.”
- Beer is a staple at every meal.
- People sit in the front seats of the cab even if they’re by themselves.
- The fashion is either really trendy or really interesting. 🙂
- People spit and pass gas whenever they feel like it.
- When an American is introduced to a Chinese person, they say their American name first. But we always asked for their birth name. 🙂
- When they present you with a little shot glass size of alcohol at the beginning of the meal… this is NOT A SHOT. You’re supposed to sip it with the food. Our teacher/ supervisor was a little surprised we all took it as a shot. Ha!
- The first day, after we exchanged money we went to a little shop to buy water and a little boy at the store hugged my leg, he kept hugging me, so cute and random. It lifted my spirits.
- A man grabbed a friend’s boob as we were walking.
- Bikers don’t wear helmets or have lights on at night.
- It took forever for us to find a cab in one situation. One man in a suit said he could take us in his unmarked taxi… yeah no.
- I ate a scorpion- crunchy, crispy, salty… not bad!
- After our first week in Tianjin it was the Tianjin Parade! We were in the parade, we were gifted sweatshirts to wear and given blow up angry birds mallets. We were a little confused but did as we were told.
- We visited Bei Men Hospital, they presented us with a presentation and then a performance. Like a legit performance: dancers, singers, acrobats, gymnasts- very talented.
- Observing in the clinic, there was a tv crew following us around talking pictures and videos. I was photographed cupping a patient (yes, my parents have a copy of the newspaper clipping hanging up at home :)) Due to Kate and I having the lightest colored hair, we were interviewed and our Chinese buddy, Maria interpreted for us. We were on the local station that night.
- One of our free days we tried to get lunch at a restaurant. They sat us in the corner and ignored us. Eventually we left.
- 85 degree Celsius bakery is delish! It was a common stopping place, maybe even two times in a day. The bakers began to expect us.
- Night cruise on a river that runs through Tianjin. It used to have cargos that would sail on it. It has 72 curves in the river!
- Learned how to test if pearls are real.
- One of our last days we went out to a couple bars and clubs. Dancing in a foreign country with people from literally all over the world to cultural music was seriously my happy place!
- This food is amazing.
- I constantly feel people staring and taking pictures.
- It’s weird not having any idea what people are saying.
- The city is really pretty at night.
- It’s cool learning about all their history and reasonings for things… too much to write.
- A week in, my mom and dad called. It was so nice to hear their voices. I about teared up. They were so excited to talk, as was I! They were just making sure I was in China… haha!
- Starbucks is our oasis: jazz music, clean, and comforting familiar drinks.
- It’s amazing learning about Chinese Medicine in China!
- Never have I seen so many cars, bikes, walkers and not one accident! It’s really quite amazing.
Anyways, that’s a little taste of my experience in Beijing and Tianjin China in 2013. It was truly unforgettable and I’m so thankful for the opportunity. I truly believe the more you travel the more you get to observe humanity and all the variations of this amazing life we live.
With faith, hope, and love,