Featured Blog: Friends From Afar

By: Kenald Yu

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Coming on this trip, I was expecting to go to the Xi’an children’s village to paint a mural at their assembly hall and play with the children. Never did I imagine having the the opportunity to meet and network with so many local university students. We were able to get extremely close with four students, Kenson, Michael, Li Xing Chen and Zhang Qi Xiang, who were all from Xi’an University of Technology. Never before have I met individuals who so graciously offered unconditional friendship in such a short period of time after meeting them. They enthuastically jumped into the different projects such as helping us paint the mural, transcribing lyrics for the campfire and cooking dinner for the children, even though we only met for a few hours.

Kenson and Michael offered to be our unofficial tour guides whenever we had free time in Xi’an. They enhanced our night market food experience on Sunday night by showing and treating us to the local specialty foods, such as chocolate sauce covered rice cakes. They were also very accomodating of our ever-changing schedules as they joined us for any activity at a moments’s notice.

The highlight of the cultural exchange was when Li Xing Chen and Zhang Qi Xiang brought Chinese calligraphy paintings that was made by one of their talented students for a few of our Rover Scouts. They said the gift was to show their goodwill and help strengthen the friendship bond we made the last few days. I was amazed at their quick turnaround time of the gifts- 10 calligraphy paints in less than 24 hours. A specific Chinese poem or proverb was specifically chosen for each Rover Scout as a gift. For example, my name shares a Chinese character in the ancient sayi ng they chose for me. We spent about half an hour discussing the deep and profound proverb and I learned so much Chinese values through our dialogue. Just before we parted ways, I asked what made them do so much for us even though they had just met us. They modestly replied with a simple Confucius saying: “We will always be happy for friends that travel from afar.”

The four local university students have challenged me to rethink what the word “friendship” really means. By understanding that we shared common values, they were quickly taken to our cause and went above and beyond anything we expected. Not only did these new friends give me a new perspective on friendship, but they also helped me rediscover my Chinese heritage. This experience was truly a fulfilling journey.

StephanieChan

2 Responses to “Featured Blog: Friends From Afar

  • Glad to read this article and so happy to aware that what we do made significance.After a scan of your blog,I want to tell you we are from Xi’an University of Technology.I hope you to modify the mistake as soon.Afterwards, we can keep in touch anytime to deepen our friendship forever.

    • StephanieChan
      5 years ago

      Thanks for pointing that out! We are so happy and grateful for your friendship! Please come back to check our blog again as we will post up more pictures–you will probably be in some of them! Also a great way for us to keep in touch. Take care!

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