All posts by Curtis Kortman

Home after a long day!

Yesterday was an incredibly long one for all of us. Waking up early to get to the airport, then I stayed up until 8:00pm last night to try to make sure I can get back on my normal school schedule for Monday. I woke up at 3:00am unfortunately and had a little bit of a hard time falling back asleep.

Coming home it was very nice to have familiar sights and smells. I loved having my milk and Cheerios for breakfast! However, there are certainly some things that I miss this morning as I sit here.

I will miss my 2$ meals that I can’t even finish, or the .16$ snacks from street vendors. It’s a bummer our clothes, shoes and electronics don’t cost a quarter of what they do in the US like they do here. It’s also quite fun being able to barter for every price even at restaurants with clearly marked prices haha. I will miss the meaningful conversations I’ve had with Christians in China. Their devotion of their entire selves to their mission here is inspiring. Many chose evangelism through their business as you will never get into China as a missionary. I will miss feeling safe everywhere I walk, as I never felt threatened or saw anything like a Chinese “gangster”. I will miss the wonderful friends I made and all the dinner and late night conversations we had together. While I have never really preferred the city over the country, the Chinese urbanization is truly mind boggling and I will miss the excitement that the atmosphere gave off. 

However, I will not miss the smell and smog you can taste: the visibility of less than a mile. I will not miss the trash or general dirt everywhere from nonstop construction. I will not miss the constant stares or phones that come out to take my picture as walk down the street. I will not miss asking people what their life goals are only to hear shallow, empty answers, or even no ability to respond at all. I will not miss feeling watched. I once counted 35 surveillance cameras in one room. The great fire wall of China also made things difficult.

Overall, I will never forget my experience in China. God placed me on this trip for a reason for sure. I learned more about myself in these three weeks than I ever expected. This trip has helped me aim and modify my goals for the future as I live as a child of God.

Pictures!

Well we’ve been in China a while now and I would have to say it has been incredible! I love how close I’ve gotten to be with my classmates and especially my roommate Jeff. As a group we’ve had some pretty challenging discussions that have caused large amounts of reflection as I lay in bed trying to fall asleep. I have loved every experience I’ve had here so far (except for maybe the bouncy bus rides), and am excited for what every new day holds.

I have been challenged by new and different views. I have seen and experienced things that have caused me to stop and think about the way I have been doing things for years. As a born and raised Grand Rapids boy I have not been exposed to near as much of the world as I thought I have. It is thrilling, but at the same time I sometimes wish I was with familiar faces of friends and family to share these new experiences and process what I’m seeing.

Recently our group has been exposed to some of the more natural beauty of China. Today we spent some time at West Lake and earlier this week I spent a few hours with a small group in the Yuyuan gardens. It is refreshing to see greenery after spending so much time being surrounded by high rises and concrete as far as the eye can see.

Enjoy the photos!

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Pictures!

It was a little bit of a hassle only having access to internet in the lobby for the past week. I had too much energy to justify sitting there making a blog post when I could be exploring the city. However, tonight feels a little more relaxed. I have finally decided to check the blog as I rest in my room in Shanghai after paying the deposit for a router in our room, and getting the rip in my pocket fixed by the in house tailor here at the hotel. (After close to 13 hours of wearing a suit) ((Thanks for the suit mom and dad!!!)) (((but thirteen hours is too long!!)))

So upon checking the blog I realize it is in dire need of some pictures. I’ve posted quite a lot. I’m sorry if there are a lot of me, but I know my mom would love to see what I’ve been up to.

(Warning: the pictures have come off both my phone and computer so they are not necessarily in order. Also, the date is the date of the camera, and so I think it actually reflects the date back home and not necessarily the date here in China)

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1/15/2015 Shanghai GM
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1/13/2015 Beijing South Railway Station
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1/10/2015 Great Wall
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1/10/2015 Great Wall
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1/10/2015 Great Wall – What the wall looks like when restoration has stopped
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1/9/2015 Olympic Green
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1/9/2015 Olympic Green – Water Cube
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1/9/2015 Olympic Green – Water Cube — Pretty much sums up our roomie relationship
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1/9/2015 Olympic Green
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1/9/2015 Olympic Green – Birds Nest
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1/10/2015 Great Wall
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1/10/15 Great Wall – Group Photo

 

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1/10/2015 Great Wall
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1/10/2015 Great Wall
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1/8/2015 Forbidden City
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1/8/2015 Forbidden City – Group Photo
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1/8/2015 Forbidden City
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1/8/2015 Forbidden City
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1/8/2015 Forbidden City
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1/8/2015 Forbidden City
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1/8/2015 Forbidden City
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1/8/2015 Forbidden City
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1/8/2015 Forbidden City – I think we’re forming a band…
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1/8/2015 Forbidden City
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1/8/2015 Forbidden City
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1/8/2015 Forbidden City
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1/8/2015 Tienanmen Square
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1/7/2015 Wanfujing Night Market – Lance completed the rubix cube and haggled a pretty good deal because of it with this shop vendor.
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1/7/2015 Wanfujing Night Market
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1/7/2015 Wanfujing Night Market
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1/7/2015 Wanfujing Night Market