I have so many questions, yet so few answers. My departure date for Shanghai, China was pushed back from March to April because the Work Permit is taking longer than expected. It's honestly got me a bit worried, even though I know that these things take a while. I can't help but spend my time wondering how life will be in China. I've lived abroad before, but European cultures are completely different and I'm not entirely sure how accepting China will be of my melanin or an interracial marriage for that matter.
So I take this time to think about my family. How will they go about their lives when I'm gone? I've always been the glue that held them together, but they managed to get through half a year without me so I guess I shouldn't worry. Right? But part of me still does. With all of the recent gun violence and school shootings, I know that I will spend a large part of my trip worrying about my little sister. I know I should be excited about this experience, and trust me I am! I just feel like I'll be leaving a piece of myself behind.
Yet, the more I think about that the more I can't help but smile because I know that I will be gaining so much from this amazing opportunity. I have spent so much time in awe of China's culture, strength, and traditions. My senior year in college was spent learning about Xiaoping, Mao, Xi Jinping, as well as the struggles that made China what it is today. I can't wait to see all of the places that I've studied about in those textbooks.
Most importantly, I can’t wait to meet the children I'll be teaching. I know that most of, if not all, have never seen an African American before. I want to make a great impression. I think that one of the biggest things that makes me nervous is that there is such a great weight on my shoulders. I want these kids to know that African Americans are not what they see on television. I want them to realize that we're intelligent, culturally aware and open-minded. If I can do this then I know that the entire trip will be worth it. Until then, we will just have to wait.
By: Vanity Washington