I left Beijing and now I’m in Qingdao. My short flight gave me time to reflect on what I have experienced so far. The beautiful landscape, culture, exotic food, smells, music, architecture, colors and people. What strikes me is the rich culture and traditions not lost with modernization. The Chinese people hold strongly onto their history and ancient culture. When I looked at the small details of colorful mosaic tiles placed thousands of years ago and see people still using ancient instruments, it makes me remember how young our country really is. The Chinese people respect their historical culture and ensure traditions are past down to the next generation. They take pride in remembering their history and value traditions with honor and respect. I love being a part of their celebration. It is so different to experience Chinese culture first hand. I’m not just reading about it or Googling a picture. I am able to touch and see, smell and taste the Chinese culture. This is truly amazing ! My brave room mate Katie even went out on a limb and experienced the taste of starfish. I have to say that I never thought about eating a starfish, but she said it was pretty good. We have now arrived in Qingdao where we will study for the next nine weeks. We haven’t had much time to explore our new surroundings, but I’ll let you know how it’s going in my next post.