Wednesday, May 10, 2017

I'm Big in China

"Can I kiss you?"

Proclaimed one little boy as I stepped foot outside of the locker room.

Doesn't matter if you're black, white, tall, or small go to China and you'll have suitors at your beck and call.

As long as you look like you come from the red, white, and blue (the Canadians were frequently mistaken) the people of Asia will be enthralled by you.

Come to be crowned "quasi-celebrities," we Americans instantly realized our pre-pubescent, dream-like fantasies were coming to fruition-- we were Hollywood heartthrobs.

No more secretly hiding that "nose scratch" of yours. Your gold-digging tactics will soon be shared nationwide if you're not careful.

Our entourage 

Life overseas... takes a man, baby.

One is inextricably sown to any and/or every American one happens to come into contact with while across the pond. I feel as if I'm bonded for life to the girls I lived these past two weeks with, especially after an adventure such as the one I am about to describe to you in vivid detail. 

After fourteen days enduring cauldrons full of mystery meat, I have chosen to provide detailed descriptors in lieu of showing you all the grotesque, life-like delicacies themselves. 

Savory black fungus, fried fish skin, and crisp duck tongue to name a few. Versions of non-vommitable protein quickly became a hot commodity due to the lack thereof.

 Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Aside from the food, another particular issue hit home with me. 

China, the communist country, ain't so communist after all. While abroad, one of my dear friends and Jesus-loving fiends made it her duty to do just that-- love Jesus. 

Before I took off, my father urged me to go to confession before it was time to leave the U.S.

"You won't be able to go to church for two weeks straight. There aren't any Catholic Churches in China. So get your butt to confession while you still can."

Gotta love him.

Back to my Jesus-loving friend. We all know it's Kari I'm talking about, so let me refer to her as her most-fitting title in order to spare us all the frequency of her mentions in my blog.

My Jesus-loving friend made it her duty to spread the Christian spirit every day. In fact, she stayed up late most nights using Google translator in order to figure out the correct Kanji necessary to spell out the phrase "Jesus loves you." She wanted to pass these little slips of paper around to the Chinese athletes we played, the pedestrians in the streets, the extremely creative, talented, multi-dimensional Chinese culinary chefs, and anyone else she could possibly whisk away with her piercing eye contact.

She'll be canonized as a saint any day now.

The moral of the story is-- Kari didn't go to jail. One of our translators even said there are free-standing Christian churches found throughout China. You just have to look a little harder for them.

China has come a long way. 

Which brings me to point #1.

Point #1:

Stereotypes suck.

Yes, their driving may be lackluster. Okay, lackluster may be too kind of verbiage. Perhaps "chaotic" is the right word. But it's not their fault. That's how they've been taught in China. Heck, I don't even think I can use that word either- "taught." Clearly not much teaching was going on in Driver's Ed.

There's only one rule of the road in China:

1.) There are no rules of the road.

Back to the stereotypes. Stop making them. Before coming to China, I was heavily surrounded by Chinese at UCLA. Approximately 32% of UCLA is made up of Asians. 

Immersing myself into the Chinese culture finally allowed me to understand why they do what they do, and how they do it.

So before you go making stereotypes about someone who doesn't look like you, walk like you, or dress like you, take the time to put yourself in their shoes. Even if they're 10 sizes too small. 

One of the main stereotypes I was guilty of forming myself prior to visiting China was the breathtakingly unpleasant, repugnant smell that so frequently grazed my nasal passages whenever coming into contact with most differing nation groups.

The smells. Man, the smells. 

As you can see, everything makes sense once taking the time to see how one lives, how one grows up, and how hard it must be for that certain someone to break certain habitual routines.

Sure, a little peer pressure never hurt nobody...when it comes to the discovery of deodorant. But for the most part, out with the stereotypes and in with the acceptance!

Point #2:

Love your neighbor as the Chinese.

You know that child-like faith you once had? Faith that everyone should be nice to you? Faith that everyone wants the best for you? Faith that everyone loves you?
That child-like faith resides in the Chinese. I'm convinced of it.

Peace resides in simplicity. The Chinese showed me that. 

Point #3:

Sports rock.

Before I left, my mom couldn't help but laugh at the striking parental resemblance. 

My mom left for Tokyo to become a backup singer and dancer for a Japanese pop-star (I know, right) (who does that?) (Tracy Kornet) (that's who) at this exact same stage in her life (age 23), while my dad left the NBA for Europe just a few years after. 

And there I was-- off to Asia like my mother, playing ball like my dad.

Coming into this experience, I thought of myself as a somewhat disciplined, dedicated individual. But then I met the Chinese. Team China was a well-oiled, fine-tuned machine. That's why it took us two games to beat them. The way each and every girl listened to their coach, nodded their heads in unison, and not once spoke out of line inspired me. 

Too often I put myself above others, thinking I'm the one who deserves the starting spot, or play-call for the last second shot, but the Chinese silenced those ill-willed thoughts immediately. They made me feel embarrassed for even having them.

You can always be better. You are always replaceable. You should never stop growing.

Thank you Team China for communicating to me, despite the language barrier, how to be a woman of action, respect, dignity, and honor.

Not only was I fortunate enough to learn from other countries, but I was able to learn just as much, if not more, from the myriad personalities showcased on our very own Team USA.

Best part of it all was that all four countries were able to come together to do something we all know how to do very well-- play.

Even if it took a less than lovely, round-a-bout way of doing so.

Even if it took a few, or nine, unscheduled, self-manufactured, off-hours a day.

I got to fly halfway across the world in order to represent my country. And let me tell you, we did one heck of a job representing it.

Gold medal good.

Introducing to you all, two ringless seniors who got to take a little hardware back to the homeland and proudly say,

God bless the USA!    

(& Kari)


Until next time, China. Signing off and signing out, Nicole Kornet.

1 comment:

  1. Hilarious! Looks like big fun. Thanks for sharing your journey. I think some of this would make a great audition tape for that TV job you are going to land. Especially the chicken video. LOL