Michael Knapp – Beijing Union University

Tea eggs one of my favorites! I remember when I first came to China you know usually they’re in the the dark water and um I thought it looked really dirty and I did not want to try it I just thought this is terrible and when I tried it they’re so good right away and I realized the dirty water is not dirty it just has a lot of spices why did you choose to come to China 25 years ago well well I actually didn’t come for the first time 25 years ago I moved here 25 years ago.I moved here in the beginning of 1998 beginning of the spring semester right after Chinese New Year and so about three years before that would have been my first trip and I came um four different times and um different places but I loved it so my first trip I think is just because I was enjoying it and I felt comfortable even other tourists on the trip said Michael I know you’re coming back because they could just feel that I liked it right away.I remember the Americans we went into a small Supermarket a small grocery store and we weren’t used to the food so the only thing that for most of the the people in our group that the only thing that looked good was the White Rabbit candy we bought all of the White Rabbit candy and in fact I was at the end of the line I don’t know why even my first trip to China I felt like a host not a guest I felt like I should be helping the Americans, even though a couple of them had been here before I just felt like this was my home I’m going to I’m going to you know let them go first.I remember we got invited to a Chinese home for T the girl who invited us her father made them for our group and uh the other Americans most of them didn’t like them and I didn’t want to hurt the man’s feeling and so uh I tried it and I liked it and so when the man wasn’t looking everybody put theirs in my bowl so I had so many of those um but just in their home the hospitality uh they didn’t know us but they made us feel very welcome I felt people were more hospitable toward people from outside than at least in my hometown town in in America um my hometown wasn’t Multicultural Beijing of course is has a lot of it’s very International here so um I think people were just very kind it’s interesting because uh when a lot of people when I first came to China they don’t say it so much now because China’s developed over these 25 years I’ve seen so much development here but people used to always say oh you’re from America America is a developed country and I always say really are you sure and one example I always hear is they say because in America everybody has a car and I tell them I said the reason we have to have we have cars BEC it’s not because we’re more developed is because our public transportation system is less developed than Chinese now after this many years I’m used so used to life in China that it’s just it’s just my life you know I miss Chinese food when I’m in America even for a few weeks or a month I love the friendliness in China I like it China is more communal uh we’re more individualistic in America but sometimes uh the individualism feels like selfishness oh when I when I go back and I don’t think anybody means to be selfish it’s just that they’re they’re because they’re everybody’s not thinking about the other people as much there there can be thin line between the two there’s a thin line between the two yeah that’s a kind of reverse culture shock you go back to your country and anybody that visits any other country and spends a long time there they will get that what is your plan for the future do you plan to stay on here in China I have no immediate plan to leave at all um I I uh my school is talking about next year already talking about the plans and the plans sound good M I’m comfortable here my everyday life is comfortable I’m used to it so leaving would be a big change for me now after this many years here I would miss the people I would certainly miss the food and um yeah it’s because it’s convenient just being here so I yeah I have no immediate plans to leave but I do need to leave now because I have to go to class.

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