Charles Moorman ’17
China was a unique experience for everyone involved. The trip started off with a little excitement: our flight had an emergency landing in Canada. We spent that first half day in Winnipeg enjoying two great meals at Denny’s, one for dinner at two o’clock in the morning and one for breakfast a few hours later. A quick review in Mr. Navitsky’s ‘classroom’ transitioned us into the actual start of our trip.
The hectic start led to an even more hectic journey. We travelled all over China, from the busy city of Beijing to the searing hot sand dunes of Xinjiang, we saw it all. My classmates and I experienced so many things that probably are once in a lifetime events. I still remember how jet lagged and confused I felt when, on our first dinner, Mr. Navitsky’s son, Eric, started eating a chicken head, telling us that it was the tastiest part.
There were many things we had to get used to while abroad. The culture is different than that of America’s, but once we started to pick up on the things that we needed to get around, we could strike up a conversation with anyone. I felt proud when, one morning, I woke up and found a dumpling shop with Charles Purrington, Max Johns, and Branson Chase. We sat down and ordered three plates of the greatest tasting pork buns that I had ever had. I came back twice to that same dumpling shop just to talk with the owner and have a snack.
Everyone back home had always warned me that once I went to China I would never be able to eat the stuff they make at Happy Garden, but I don’t think that’s true. I could never give up on Happy Garden like that. However the food my classmates and I ate in China was phenomenal. My favorite dish was called tangbao. Tangbao is almost like a normal dumpling, but it is filled with soup in addition to the meat inside. To eat tangbao you first bite a hole into the noodle-like dough, then you drink the soup out through the hole, and finally you eat the rest of the dumpling. I have absolutely no clue how to make it, but I assume that it’s incredibly hard.
Perhaps one of the most important parts of the trip was when my classmates and I split apart and lived with different families in a city called Liuzhou. During this segment of the trip, I feel that I learned the most Chinese. The students that I lived was named Xie Wenyu and she was a very good host. She spoke enough English so that I could explain words that I didn’t know in Chinese but she didn’t know enough English for me to only speak to her in English. Xie Wenyu and her family showed me all around Liuzhou. Because I was in such an uncommon situation I felt awkward at times, but my host family treated me like a close friend so thankfully I still felt at home.
It’s a strange feeling when you realize that you have the ability to talk to anyone, you just need to have the patience to learn their language. The Woodberry in China trip has provided me and my classmates with an unforgettable experience. I have so many good memories because of the China trip, and I feel like my understanding of the Chinese language is so much better than it ever was before.