In the summer of 2005, I had the amazing and unique opportunity to study History of Art in China. When I applied for the program, everyone told me I would never get in. When I got in, everyone told me I would never be able to afford it. When the 15 of us who got in all received full ride scholarships, I could not have felt more blessed and fortunate.
Last night I was enjoying happy hour on the patio of a favorite Italian restaurant with my brothers when I received a text message from Jenny, the girl I roomed with throughout our China adventure. It said, "Are you in Columbus?" to which I responded, "YES! Are you?" Two hours later, she was at my door and we took an all-night journey down memory lane. Jenny is an acupuncturist and is just refreshing to be around; she is earthy and natural and full of positive energy. It is just her nature. After being surrounded by people who values are... different (trying to be polite) than mine at my job all day five days a week, spending the night with her was a huge breath of fresh air. Turns out she left her acupuncture practice in New York City because she wanted to get out of the madness and back to her roots. It was so much fun to sit and reminisce about our experience in that wonderful summer of 2005. I have been looking at pictures of that trip and here are some of my favs:
The Summer Palace outside of Beijing. Quite possibly the most beautiful place I have ever seen in my life.
A tea plantation nestled in the mountains that we spent a beautiful blue-skied day in. Saying it was breathtaking does not do it justice.
West Lake in Hangzhou, written about by poets and painted by artists. Just beautiful.
The landscapes there sometimes didn't even look real. So much beauty everywhere you turn. We visited some gardens that were like walking through a dream. I remember one guy in our group saying after a visit to one, "Damn, I need a cigarette after that garden."
People napped everywhere! For many, life revolves around their work and I can only imagine how exhausting the hours are. Exhausting enough that some don't mind passing out on a butcher block in the 100 degree heat.
These little girls were so giggly and cute. The children especially were fascinated with us, especially the blondes in our group, because we looked so different from them. It was interesting and I could write a book on the discrimination we were subjected to and how in my opinion that was such an important thing to experience.
I could go on forever. China changed my life. I cannot believe that I got to see Jenny last night and am quite jealous of the gypsy lifestyle she is leading right now: living out of her car, in tents and hotels, day to day, until she finds that place that she feels is right for her and not settling for anything less.