Monthly Archives: January 2015

Reflective Comparison of China and the USA

Jeff Meitler here!

A reflective comparison of China and the USA:

– Anyone in China can become an American, but an American cannot become Chinese
– Chinese history is 20x older than America’s
– Chinese don’t view themselves as an “emerging” economy but a “re-emerging” economy
– Chinese have distinctly more modern lights (all LED), movie theaters (all digital), and buildings (just look at them) than the US
– The American social gap between the rich and poor is separated very distinctly by where they are living, but in China the rich and poor live on top of each other (almost literally)
– China has 4x the amount of people as the USA while the countries are roughly a similar size
– China has 160 cities with a population over 1 million while the USA has 9
– China has about 300 million drivers (244 of which are licensed) and 154 million private autos while the USA has 212 million licensed drivers and 240 million private autos (http://blogs.wsj.com/chinarealtime/2014/11/28/china-soon-to-have-almost-as-many-drivers-as-u-s-has-people/)
– Running in China I could cross almost any road at any time with minimal fear of getting hit, in the USA I have to wait for huge gaps in traffic to cross
– People really don’t go out running in China
– China has more billionaires than any other country in the world
– Chinese citizens cannot own guns and are perplexed by our use of them
– Both Chinese and American people are generally proud of their nation and heritage
– Both Chinese and American people have tendencies towards idolizing wealth and sex

What I learned:

– Businesses don’t go to China for the cheap labor as much as they go for the huge growing market
– Chinese Christians do not hide their faith nearly as much as I thought they would
– Jesus is just as powerful in China as in the USA
– The USA is just as sinful and broken as China

Final Thoughts:

Hopefully this list format helps you to understand some of the similarities and differences of China and the USA. There is so much to know. My biggest takeaway was that we are just as in need of a savior as the Chinese. I always knew that Christ came to save the entire world, but actually seeing another part of it gave me a better glimpse into just how big and complicated this world is and how much bigger and stronger our God is.

Pray that God would soften our American hearts towards the Chinese so that we can see that they have many of the same problems we do and need a Savior just as much as we do.

I have added a few pictures of churches we visited and one of my favorite runs in Xiamen! Thanks for reading!

-Jeff

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By Hanfei Niu

这次做火车去厦门,沿途的风景和北方完全不一样。能看到水稻田。但是如果做火车在北方旅行,是看不到水的,一般是大片的农田,黄土坡,和山。这次做的是高铁,车厢整洁干净,空间也相对大。我记得很早以前,还没有高铁,动车的时候,只有“绿皮火车”, 之所以叫绿皮火车,是因为车的漆皮是绿色的,很晃,很挤,没有空调,不是全密封,车窗还能打开。但是经管如此,每次出门要是能喝同学一起做火车还是很激动的。几个好朋友,买好多好吃的,玩儿一路,说一路,倒是也不觉得无聊。以前做火车,最喜欢火车有节奏的晃动,如果是过夜车,一定要车晃起来才睡得着。

还有在火车上能遇到各式各样的人,在我们去厦门的火车上,坐在我对面的开始是一对情侣,和他们聊了聊,了解到这次是女生和男生回家去见男生的家长。看起来不久就要结婚了。后来在中间他们下去后上来了一个放假回家的大学生,和一对母女,都是当地人,向他们请教了很多问题。比如厦门有什么好吃的,好玩儿的,该去的地方。然后不说话的时候就看看窗外的风景。

Family life in China – By Hanfei Niu

We have visited several companies and cool tourist places, but we do not have any interaction with Chinese families. Before, visiting Professor Si and her family was a part of our trip, not anymore since Professor Si left. However, I would like to share some interesting story of my family.

First, I almost forget there is the kind of cold called “your mom thinks you are cold”. My home town is 2 hours away from Beijing by high speed train, and the weather is just like Beijing. But my mom must think we live in the North Pole. She wouldn’t let me go out if I didn’t wear two pairs of long-johns under my pants, and she would chase me around house to put more layers on me, which is pretty funny to me.

Second, some Chinese families still prefer baby boys to baby girls, especially older generations. When I was born, my grandparents were unhappy about having a granddaughter instead of a grandson, they suggested to my parents that they took me to the country side where they lived and raised me secretly (because China’s one child policy was strict during that time), so my parents could have another kid, hopefully a son. Fortunately, my dad refused immediately.

Third, my parents did spank me when I was young!!!!!!!!!! The worst one I remember is when I was in first grade, my mom spanked me with a bamboo stick and I got welts all over my behind and the back of my legs for a week, after that my parents never spanked me again. I remember what happened was: my mom gave me 100RMB to buy something, and there was a sale going on so the thing cost 90RMB, I bought good snacks with rest of the money without telling my mom, and she found out later and was pretty mad………you know rest of the story……..piang!piang!piang!

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.

Reflecting times in China

January 2015 in China has been an incredible piece of my life that I will cherish for a long time. Places I have seen, people that I have encountered, food that I have tasted, and business knowledge that I have acquired were invaluable lessons that broadened my worldview and attitude to life.

With tours, self-directed learning, and business trips, 21 days in China was not wasted.

Jet Li
Jet Li

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Hong Kong night
Hong Kong night

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Hong Kong.  Great options!
Hong Kong.
Great options!
Hong Kong subway
Hong Kong subway
Ferrari
Ferrari
Chinese bible
Chinese bible
First Chinese Protestant church
First Chinese Protestant church

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Ray Ban shades for 4 USD
Ray Ban shades for 4 USD

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more palm trees on Gulangyu Island
more palm trees on Gulangyu Island

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Crab fries and shrimp sticks!! soo good
Crab fries and shrimp sticks!! soo good
Passion fruit
Passion fruit
Mr&Mrs Van Drunen on a ferry
Mr&Mrs Van Drunen on a ferry
volleyball at the Xiamen beach
volleyball at the Xiamen beach
hats for 2 USD!
hats for 2 USD!
bridges
bridges
nice building
nice building
cool building
cool building
trying out some Campvalley  camping equipments.
trying out some Campvalley camping equipments.
Playing ninja in business attire
Playing ninja in business attire
Fried rice for 1.2 USD
Fried rice for 1.2 USD
Dorm apartment in Xiamen University
Dorm apartment in Xiamen University
us and the palm trees in Xiamen University
us and the palm trees in Xiamen University
Maximum hygiene
Maximum hygiene
Bristol-Myers Squibb
Bristol-Myers Squibb
Nanjing Road in Shanghai
Nanjing Road in Shanghai
View from Shanghai hotel
View from Shanghai hotel
Taylor suits!!
Taylor suits!!
Boxing Cat burger
Boxing Cat burger
Nanjing Road in Shanghai
Nanjing Road in Shanghai
Group lunch!
Group lunch!

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Zhongwei company manufacturing line
Zhongwei company manufacturing line
Security check in every subway stations
Security check in every subway stations
View from our youth hostel in Beijing
View from our youth hostel in Beijing
Bird's Nest Olympic Stadium
Bird’s Nest
Olympic Stadium
Tomb
Tomb
The Great Wall
The Great Wall

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Cool Building
Cool Building
Architecture
Architecture
Temple of Heaven
Temple of Heaven

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Forbidden City
Forbidden City
Forbidden City
Forbidden City
Professor Van Drunen and Hanfei, teacher's assistant
Professor Van Drunen and Hanfei, teacher’s assistant
Placards says "Long Live the People's Republic of China" and "Long Live the Great Unity of the World's Peoples"
Placards says “Long Live the People’s Republic of China”
and “Long Live the Great Unity of the World’s Peoples”
Security check before we enter the Tiananmen Square
Security check before we enter the Tiananmen Square
Food options
Food options
WangFuJing Night market.  There are so many night snack options. From starfish to scorpions!
WangFuJing Night market.
There are so many night snack options. From starfish to scorpions!

 

Free day in Hong Kong

Despite only having a few days to experience Hong Kong, we were given all of Monday to explore and find out what Hong Kong had to offer.  Many of us hiked or took the tram up to the top of Victoria Peak, a popular tourist attraction and the highest point in Hong Kong.  The air got noticeably cooler as we climbed, and we eventually found ourselves surrounded by clouds that unfortunately obscured much of the below valleys and city-scapes.  Others spent part of the afternoon hanging out at the beach and enjoying Hong Kong at sea level.

It was altogether an enjoyable and exciting day, and we all had a lot of fun (atleast I did).

-Stefan Granner

 

Top of Victoria Peak
Top of Victoria Peak
A view of Below
A view of Below
Gazebo Pic
Gazebo Pic

Jan 28 Blog Entry for Phil Van Strien

As I sit here in flight UA896 on our way from Hong Kong to Chicago, I can’t believe it’s over. China 2015 was a trip I won’t soon forget. It was an experience of a lifetime and I know everyone on it received a very valuable learning experience from it. So many adventures were had on this trip and it’s coming to a bittersweet ending.

The amount we learned concerning the culture and business world associated with life in China is immense and I’m sure many of us will be working with the Chinese in the future. As an ever up and coming nation, China will play a large part in the worlds future and we caught a glimpse of that on this trip. This will be valuable information for us all.

Whether it was walking along the Great Wall, visiting Alibaba’s unique facilities, meeting with with Calvin grads in the streets of Hong Kong or just getting lost in Shanghai; this will be a trip we will always remember and a learning experience that we all cherished. I think we’re all ready for this plane ride to be over though.

Phil Van Strien

Last few words

Hello Everyone!

So we’re all here sitting at the airport, reminiscing about our time in China and the one question I’m asking myself is: What was my favorite part of the trip? 

I’m having a hard time coming up with a solid answer, mostly because choosing one experience feels like belittling a different one. From exploring the Olympic Green in Beijing to hiking up Victoria Peak in Hong Kong yesterday, it’s hard to identify which was best. China is more diverse than I could have ever imagined, and the variance of experiences that one could have here are greatly underrated. 

I’ll always look back on this trip fondly and remember the friends I made and things I’ve learned!

The last days in China

Hey everybody!

We are in the airport now waiting for the 13.5 hour flight back to Chicago!

Yesterday was a day to explore around Hong Kong. Hong Kong is strikingly different from the rest of China. Different smells, sights and a completely different culture. Its hard to describe in words but the difference is tangible. It is a lot more westernized that even evident when crossing the border from Shenzhen into Hong Kong. Its seems a lot more familiar to home.

My day started out by going Victoria’s peak which had amazing views of the Harbor and the city skyline. It was a little cloudy and foggy but it was still a great experience. We got a small lunch at the top of the peak. IMG_2628 IMG_2670

After walking around and taking lots of pictures we went back down and walked a long the harbor where there were lots of piers and a big carnival! It actually did feel like being in a huge city back in the states.

This trip has been simply amazing. Challenging, fun, and enlightening. I learned so much about China, their culture, the businesses we visited and about myself. Truly thankful for this trip of a lifetime.

I’m also excited to be back home to be with my family and friends. Mom, Dad, Chris, and Abby, can’t wait to see you guys at the airport in GR!

Nick

Isaac Zylstra: 1/27/14: Victoria Peak

This is Isaac again, using Alexis’ account.

Today in Hong Kong, I went to Victoria Peak, a mountain on Hong Kong Island.

I left with a group of about 15, around 9:15. We took the subway to the island. There’s a tram, but most of us decided to walk up.

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A friend of mine and I were slow, and so got left behind. It absolutely beautiful. We got some great pictures.

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It took a while, but we eventually found the group. We walked around a bit more, before heading to lunch; still on the peak. I got an interesting watermelon tofu pudding. I’m not a huge fan of tofu, but the watermelon was good. The presentation was cool (literally!).

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We then took the tram down. It was really steep. That building in the background is straight up and down!

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All in all, Victoria Peak was beautiful, and a great place to spend a morning in Hong Kong.