Sometimes it is easy to think people are different when they live far away, dress different, look different, eat different, or have different governments.
But this isn’t true
Sure, some of these things are different, but people are the same everywhere. When we start seeing the people behind the clothes, food, language and other surface differences we realize that we are all just people and the world is small.
Sometimes it is easier to group people based on these surface differences, or by stereotypes, because it just seems easier. It is easy to only like people who are like us and easy to think other people are wrong…. but that is because we don’t get to know the people behind these little differences.
What are Chinese people like? What do they think? What motivates them? Before I came to China I heard many different things about what it would be like here, but now that I have been here, the life and the people seem surprisingly familiar.
Now, I know I have only been in China for a few months and I only know life in my small city here, but I have been here long enough to know we aren’t that different from each other.
The World is Small
We are still stumbling through language and cultural barriers, but under these things (that are not near as easy to understand sometimes) there are people, just like you and me.
I believe most people, no matter where they are from, are good people who work hard and help others. Nobody’s perfect, and there are exceptions to the rule on the news in every country. But the majority of us in communities value and are motivated by the same things.
Here are some things I have noticed that are the same between my culture and Chinese culture:
- Family and friends are very important
- Kids are treasured and spoiled
- Hospitality and honesty are important
- People can’t agree on government
- Everyone wishes they could make more money
- Education is important
- People are always busy
- A big house and new car are symbols of success
- Health is important to take care of
- The environment is suffering and needs to be taken care of
- Persons/home/city should be kept looking nice
- Celebrations, parties, special foods, and fun
- Many students just don’t want to study… and the teacher can’t change it.
It is easy to look at people from other places and culture and think they are very different in their thinking and life because they act differently based on these things, but when we look hard, we see that our reasons are the same… but our action are sometimes different.
For example: Smoking is very common here, and drinking comes with huge social obligation. But they take exercise very seriously and the city is alive and the parks are full at 5:00 am with people out exercising. Many businesses have employees exercise together before they start work. Walking and biking is also much more common.
Both cultures are concerned about health but have different ways of taking care of it.
The world is small when we realize the same ideas drive humans all over the world. We don’t have to agree with how people decide to live out or protect theses ideas, but we can value people much more when their root idea is identical to ours.
I am loving my time here in China and I have a long way to go figuring out all the surface differences, but as far as the people underneath… the world is small.
… next Friday I will post about a bunch of the surface differences between China and America that I have been surprised about 🙂
Photo Credit: My awesome hubby Bryon Lippincott