This week’s reflection is from Olivia L.
The time that I felt most connected to Chinese culture was during my homestay because I was a part of the family rather than a member of the group from Miss Porter’s School.
… while I was in Shenzhen I went to a market with my host student, Wendy, and her mom. There was a constant buzz of noise and people were buying all kinds of foods I had never seen before. My host mom kept handing me food … and that is the only rule I broke in China: do not eat street food. By the end of my time there, I had multiple bags of unidentifiable food … and five bracelets. How I go the bracelets is my favorite part.
I knew before I came to China that I would come across street markets… , but since I do not know Chinese, … I knew I was not going to be able to bargain. Then I saw those bracelets. I knew they would be a perfect gift for a few of my friends at home, so I wanted to buy them. I asked Wendy if she could ask the man at the booth that if I bought five bracelets, I could have a discount. After she went back and forth with the man she reported to me that I would be saving 25 yuan. I handed the man my 100 yuan bill and he handed me back 20 yuan, which is not what we agreed on. He made a plea to Wendy and she shook her head and told him that he still owes us 5 more yuan. I shook my head too and we finally got the money.
This was a big deal because Wendy and I sometimes had difficulty communicating, but in this moment we were able to work together and accomplish something. I felt excited and proud of myself for being able to do that, but even more than that I felt like Wendy and I connected completely in that moment.