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Day 30: Questioning

May 14th, 2011

I’ve been fortunate to not have to spend too much time by myself and with only my own thoughts but it is bound to happen that I start questioning what I’m doing out here – 16,000 miles and 30 days after starting this journey. What have I learned? What have I done? What’s next?

I’ve learned that the majority of people are good – they inherently want to communicate and connect with other human beings. Language does not have to be a barrier. At one point, I connected with someone in sign language and all I had to sign was “thank you” and I could see the spark in her eyes and a smile. I’ve learned that people find reasons to love where they are, their city/town, but things can always be improved. I’ve learned that many Russians are fascinated by mysticism, many Mongolians value their freedom but adhere to strange customs, many Chinese like to eat and talk about food, and everyone appreciates art.

I’ve shared many meals and drinks with new friends. I’ve shown my pictures of my family and friends and where I’ve been and surprised quite a few people by my diverse ethnic background. I’ve had very deep conversations about religion, spirituality, love, and science. I’ve learned a little bit of Russian and completely failed at picking up Mongolian or Mandarin. I’ve made new friendships that I hope will last the rest of my life.

I’ve been letting my feelings dictate when it’s time to move on. I don’t need to know why I’m meeting the people that I have or going to the places that I’ve seen but I realize that each relationship is special and I try to leave each one with a mutual sense of learning and growth. I’m currently trying to figure out how to give an 11-year-old a basic appreciation for mathematics in 3 days. I think then it will be time for me to leave Dalian. In return, I’ve been inspired with ideas for creating an open, colorful living space and have been given a new appreciation for wine.

I can’t say that I miss home because there really isn’t a home there for me to go back to. But I do miss the consistency and comfort of my friends and having a routine. I am getting tired of seeing my own face in my photos and would like my friends to send me some of theirs. What’s going on in your lives these days?

My journey is far from over and although I am meeting many new people, I don’t want to lose touch with where I’ve come from or been.

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  1. May 14th, 2011 at 18:11 | #1

    It’s Saturday. I woke up, having stayed up quite late entertaining Gavin’s work friend and his girlfriend. I made us baked chicken breasts with mango and jalapeno, and then a mango coleslaw and brown rice. Cookies for dessert. This morning I woke up and the weather has surprised me — overcast and cold…different from the warmer days we had been having this week. I decided against going to the farmer’s market this morning…made chocolate chip pancakes and then finished reading The Dirty Life, a memoir of farming (I suspect you will see my paltry review of the book on Goodreads…I just didn’t have the words for the review, even though I really liked the book). (How has your quest to exchange books gone on your trip?) Gavin is at the zoo this morning, taking pictures of the animals that he hopes will be more active due to the cooler weather. Later this morning I will write up a report for my monthly Family Promise board meting, and hopefully go to the library to return an overdue book and get a new one to read. This afternoon I will visit a friend, who is slowly packing up her house to move in with her brother up north. I might see a movie with my brother tonight…the new Will Ferrel movie. Last week Gavin and I went to Iowa, where we went to see Gavin’s younger sister Kendra graduate from the Center of the Book at Iowa University. While we were there, we took an extremely long drive to visit the American Gothic house and discovered a museum next door that had costumes that we could don to take our own American Gothic portrait (Pictures here: https://picasaweb.google.com/gavinliam/NewAmericanGothic#).

  2. Jan
    May 16th, 2011 at 00:09 | #2

    It’s been surreal to come back to work and home after a week in Mongolia and Beijing with you! There was a few mornings when I woke up and thought I was still on the train. :-) It has taken me a week to get used to the hectic pace of work, for a few days I was still on Mongolian desert time. Also, I was trying very hard to stay awake! Hahahaha (inside joke)

  3. Juhi
    May 16th, 2011 at 18:23 | #3

    Sandy!!! Your pictures look Amazing. Glad to hear you’re having fun and relishing this crazy adventure of yours. xxoo

  4. from SD
    May 16th, 2011 at 21:49 | #4

    If just my sleeve touches a stranger, there will be a spiritual connection with that person.
    That is why I appreciate all the people I’ve met in my life.
    Some connections were too thin to keep but there are many people who have chosen to be next to me. And I’d like to be a person next to them.
    There is always a reason(s) why we meet each other.
    Once we are connected we start to learn from our experiences and mistakes.
    Thus, I treasure each person who comes to my life.
    If I cannot find a good part within her/him, it would be my fault.
    Sandy, you have met so many people and will meet more. Please go forward without hesitation. Many friends are with you even though they are physically apart.
    Our hearts are next to you all the time. It’s gonna be OK. I will email you.

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