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Articles tagged “millennial

Photo by Devon Wong

Seeing Past Appearances: Lessons Learned in a Chinese Spa

Posted on May 9, 2016

“Bryan, you’re more Chinese than me.”

We locked eyes; his blue, mine brown. The moment concluded in an instant as we burst out laughing.

“Yes. I am.”

Here we were, two waìguórén (foreigners) sitting in an opulent dining hall wearing our respective blue and pink bath robes, exchanging stories about life abroad while we munched on pickled cucumbers, tofu noodles, and slices of watermelon. I looked more the part, with my jet black hair and almond eyes, pitted next to Bryan. But after one week in China, I could still barely mutter a xièxie without feeling like an impostor. Bryan had three years on me.  He’d mentioned some of Guilin’s local attractions during one of our lunch breaks at the Chinese Language Institute, and I’d been itching since to investigate this fabled “Chinese Spa”. 

For journalistic reasons, of course.

To date, I’ve lived in Southeast Asia for 4 years.  Dodging traffic and eating questionable street food rarely warrants novelty anymore, let alone an upset stomach.  It has become a way of life.   But walking off the cobblestone streets of Guilin and into one of the town’s most luxurious hotels for a night at the spa was almost…otherworldly.  I had spent a week sightseeing around this “small town” (a small city by Canadian standards).  But it hadn’t yet struck me that this was really it: The ‘REAL’ China, I’d set out to look for.

Photo by Devon Wong

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Photo by Jiahui Huang

The Best Kind of Welcome

Posted on May 31, 2013

Comfortable

My younger sister moved to Singapore for the summer two weeks ago. We have been exploring the city together, and on more than one occasion I have caught her expression out of the corner of my eye – wide-eyed with a dopey smile taking in her new surroundings. From bus lanes near Bras Basah to the bright lights near Marina Bay, everything is new and represents unexplored possibilities. She is excited about building a life in this city I am sure, as I felt the same way when I moved to the Lion City.

We are from a small Canadian city of 100,000 people. Despite its size, it is globally aware and was named the world’s smartest city by the Intelligent Community Forum not too long ago. But being globally aware is different than being international, just as traveling extensively is different than living abroad. Craving the latter, my sister pursued an international internship just as I did before her. Pursuing the unknown is an intoxicating experience. Out of your comfort zone, beautiful idiosyncrasies constantly colour outside your lines. And you let them. You notice, witness, experience like never before. The beautiful gift of realization is a gift from one country or community to the curious. It is an extended hand welcoming you to understand the culture, hoping that you will enjoy it and share your own.

The Davis Centre Library at the University of Waterloo. Photo by lytfyre.

The Davis Centre Library at the University of Waterloo. Photo by lytfyre.

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