Dear Traveler – A Visual Letter from a Guest in Wuhan

Dear Traveler – A Visual Letter from a Guest in Wuhan

dear traveler you probably don’t
remember me anymore but a long while ago we met on a night train ride through
China when I first saw you sitting there with your backpack and you newly bought
Chinese silk rug you look quite discontent and you didn’t want to touch
the food parcel that the train staff had just handed out to all of us you told me
that you hated the food here you couldn’t wait to return to the US to
finally get some proper food again and it wasn’t only the food that made you
sick it was the Chinese in general in fact you explained to me that these
people had it in their blood to be mean-spirited dishonest and on top of
our grinning innocently while screwing you over when I told you that I had
voluntarily spent over one year of my life in China you just replied wow dude
I feel sorry for you I was so taken aback by this answer that I just stopped
the conversation there but maybe I should have told you that at that moment
I felt just so sorry for you as you did for me maybe I should have told you a
lot more of what I thought back then you see coming into contact with another
culture is never easy I know that when you arrive at this new strange place the
most mundane things might appear alien or confusing and that begins with satisfying such
basic needs as getting something to eat you can’t really tell what ingredients
they used to cook up your meal and you have heard a lot of stories of what
people here countless food but then again all you need to do to
find out for yourself is opening that food parcel and taking a bite naturally your taste buds will be
confronted with some flavors that you have never tasted before and it will
take some time to get used to them but if you really take that time there
is a good chance that you will start liking me
and if you don’t there is always an abundance of other dishes to try out
what’s even more surprising you will probably find out that some of the food
is not as otherworldly as you thought guess what one of the most common dishes
in China is not barbecue dough it’s scrambled eggs with tomato I guess with
people it’s not that different certain aspects of communication and everyday
life do of course have local flavors as well it’s true that if you don’t know a
word of Chinese or at least how to properly bargain you will get screwed
over or buying your original Chinese silk rug but no I don’t think that
almost 1.4 billion people have mean-spiritedness and dishonesty in
their blood what I do think is that you may have had
a tad too many set expectations in your mind before you came to China
I myself encountered a bunch of weird people in China but so did I back in
Germany and for every mean person I came across I met at least a dozen of truly
nice and wonderful people what’s more I met people who might have had a
different upbringing but who still shared my own hopes and dreams and fears
getting a good mark in your next math exam figuring out how that bachelor program
that you just chose is ever going to help you make money having a good friend
to talk to realizing your creative endeavors or just having fun so dear traveler you really don’t need
to feel sorry for me I feel sorry that you did have the courage to see another
country with your own eyes but in the end all you saw was an image most shaped
by your prejudice when I brought home from China were mainly a bunch of spices
that I’ve grown to love but most importantly lasting friendships that
transcend any cultural boundaries you bought an overpriced silk rug I hope
next time you travel somewhere you bring home something a little more valuable
and I hope that next time I meet you I won’t stop the conversation

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