its almost 3am. in attempt to fight off jet lag im staying awake till my cab comes at 530am to pick me up for the airport. im done packing and now im just listening to a CD i got from li chao. its a great CD by what translates to the knife man.. or so li chao says. i figured since im so behind in my blogging i'd share some thoughts as my trip comes to an end. i will add the xi'an and beijing blogs once ive settled in back in the states.
this whole trip has been an experience of a lifetime, and im sure it wont all set in and absorb until ive been home for awhile and had time to process it all. but this goodbye is hard. my group has been amazing, and i know ive made some great friends. i knew this trip was going to be great. but i don't think great is even a word that can begin to justify what ive gained personally from it. it only proves what i claimed before, traveling is a passion of mine. i know i will re-visit china again. while now i have so many other places i thrive to experience. i knew that ceramics was it for me. not that there ever was, but there is absolutely no doubt in my mind i am completely passionate about clay, and even more, becoming a successful ceramic artist. its only been two years since i discovered clay... and its been the best two years of my life. with that being said, i think my stay in jingdezhen and my time in the studio was my favorite part of this trip.
jingdezhen is my first experience in a studio other that north arts studio. ALOT of things were different there. and i surprised myself with how well i adjusted within the short 3 weeks i was there. even if i don't continue with them all back in NAS i know that everything from the buttery porcelain and dry trimming to glazing green, has only made me a stronger artist. taking everything as a learning experience and realizing that even when you lose a piece, i have grown with experience, so its not a total loss. that positive attitude is something that has been consistent through this whole trip.
the best thing, other than the studio time, is traveling through different parts of china. seeing everything from the streets of poor villages to the overly westernized big cities. meeting and somewhat communicating with locals in these areas has been something genuine that im positive not everyone on these trips experience. most of the time, especially in the poorer areas, that interaction would make my day and im sure theirs as well. most of these people don't see americans that often. and when an american lets their guard down and spends time with the, you can see it in there faces, excitement and exuberant happiness.. that right there is the best feeling.
traveling and seeing the tourist sights has been great too. i think that is what made me want to go on this trip. the terracotta warriors sealed the deal for me. the great wall.. awesome! at these moments, when im experiencing these world famous world wonders and bits of history, i realized that what i once thought was just a "that would be cool to see" was now holy sh*t this is really happening. and of course tv, books, and stories can not even transcend the actual awe someone feels in the presence of something so big, and historical. it really puts everything into perspective. the man power it took, the way of life back then, and the impact it all has on the world. it really reinforces that i need to see more... more of the world and what other amazing things it has to offer, yea sure shelby and mt pleasant are great for a place to call home, but experiencing different cultures and environments is really important. i know this has been a life changing trip.
the beautiful nature was mind blowing, waking up to mountains out my dorm window.. to the day trips in the middle of nowhere. and the sweet architecture in the big cities. again just taking it all in.
i think the culinary experience is definitely something that should be discussed. i liked "chinese" food before i came to china. when i get home i know i will miss the REAL chinese food. "noodles and beer", dumplings (aka pockets of love) of all sorts, street food... UGH. im going to miss the food. i came into china, an extremely picky eater, but i told myself there is nothing i wont try. from simply --any seafood-- to scorpion, ive tried it all. and for the most part loved it all. im a lot less afraid of 'boingy' foods. lol. you know-- things that bounce back. it really turns me off from every fast food or corporate chain restaurant. i now, even more than before, appreciate unique and authentic, fresh food.
until my next adventure... thank you china, wvu, jci, and every person that has made this experience what it is... simply put, life changing.
time to gather my belongings and an extra suitcase full of gifts and memorabilia and head back to the states.
as always, peace and love.
here are some pics from xi'an and beijing until i post the full blogs.