From the Arch to the Great Wall

20. Reflections

Confucius once said, "Study the past if you would define the future." Ever since my return from China this has been the axiom of my life. I see this trip as having two pasts: a "pre-past" and a "post-past". While I was on the trip, I was in the present studying the past of China. After the trip, I was in the present studying the past of the trip. The past of China helped me understand my roots and background and the past of the trip is helping me weave Chinese influences into my future.

As a descendant of Yueh Fei and having deep paternal roots in China, stepping foot onto Chinese soil truly amazed me and left me with a sense of completeness. Many of things I learned related to how Chinese people lived life back in the early days and I found some similarities such as respecting elders and creating strong ties within the family and with religion as well. I also realized how different life is today because I do not need to walk for miles to fetch water from a well or sleep on rock hard beds (from a very good Chinese movie "Road Home" that I saw before). Every day I think about the China trip, I also think about the Romans and the Mayans and Aztecs. Those three groups along with the ancestors of China helped pave the way for modern life as we know it today by setting down rules and regulations, formulating technologies, and doing the same things then as we do now.

The actual trip to China is now in my past and I have learned a lot from it as well. First, there were the necessary social skills that I honed while on the trip. With 23 other kids on the trip, the faster you learned names and faces, the easier the trip became. Second, I used this trip as a preparation for college. Some days we would do things that were boring or not quite as fun as other things but I still needed to sit through them and keep a fresh attitude. Also, it was cool to be away from so much authority for two weeks and get used to little sleep and waking up early. Lastly, it taught me common survival skills like organizing my own clothes in a tight situation and crossing a busy street. Before the trip, I had never crossed a busy street before (crossing a normal street in China is like crossing Highway 40 after a home sports game). I acquired the skills in China and it has made college life much easier because I need to cross semi-busy streets and intersections to get to class.

Though I learned a lot in China, there is still much for me to see and learn. 5,000 years of history cannot be covered in 16 days and that just gives me more of a reason to return in the future. As a second-generation Chinese growing up in America, it makes me glad to see that China's future seems so prosperous. I wouldn't mind returning for another summer trip or in the future for business. I've been a freshman at Purdue for about 4 months now and I've enjoyed every minute of it. The China trip is a good 6 months past and yet something new about it still strikes me every time I think about it. It truly helped me study the past and remove all facades of it so that I could define my own future here in America.



第二十章 中國•中國

作者:岳群
翻譯:時報編譯組

孔子曾說過「鑒往知來」,自我從中國回來後,我一直將這句話作為我的座右銘。這趟中國之旅對我而言有著兩層意義,當我在中國時,我是在現代中國裡研究過去的中國,當我回來後,則是在研究中國之旅後的現代中國。中國的過去讓我瞭解到我的根源和背景,現代的中國則讓我將中國編織到我的未來。

做為岳飛的後裔,並且與中國有著深厚的淵源,當踏上中國的土地時,我真正感受到震撼和一種達成心願的感覺。我學習到許多中國固有的傳統,例如敬老,家庭觀念和宗教信仰,也瞭解到今昔的差別。我看過一部很感人的中國電影「我的父親母親」(Road Home),當時的人要走幾哩路去井邊打水,或者是睡在硬木板床上。想到中國的過去,正如同古羅馬人,馬雅人和阿茲的克人般,這些古老民族的祖先披荊斬棘,蓽路藍縷,為后代開闢了康莊大道。

中國之旅帶給我的收穫還有就是旅途中磨練了團隊精神,我得很快記住其他23位同學的名字,並且將名字和人配在一起,這記人的功夫得愈快愈好。此外旅途的匆忙和不同之行程,也練就我上大學時的適應力,那就是參訪行程無論有沒有趣,你都得欣然地接受。當然這兩週的行程中沒有太多的大人在旁管教,可以熬夜,卻得起早,是個很不錯地感覺。至於在緊湊的行程中如何安排衣物和行李,以及在繁忙的路口如何過馬路等,都是很好的經驗。(在中國過馬路就像在聖路易球賽後想穿過40號高速公路一樣困難)。在普度上課時,我也得穿過一個還算繁忙的路口,這時我就可以駕輕就熟地過馬路。

這趟中國之旅,我雖然認識了很多有關中國的事物,可是卻還有更多的地方要去學習和體會。伍千年的歷史絕不是16天的旅遊可以涵蓋的,這趟行程可以說是我未來再回中國的開始。中國未來可預見的興盛,讓我這位在美國長大的第二代中國人感到高興,將來我還會再去中國的。回到聖路易至今已過了六個月,到現在每次回想起,還是會有些事讓人感觸。中國之旅使我認識了過去,排除了困惑,規劃了在美國的未來。


 
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