In the summer of 2013, I had a really exciting opportunity to teach English to university students in China. Never in my life had I expected myself to get in front of a large classroom of international students and be able to instruct English through various methods of teaching. Before the trip, I spent countless hours constructing fun yet engaging lesson plans, planning out skits and lectures, and preparing myself professionally to assume the role of an instructor.
When I arrived in China, I was able to share with the students that I was also of Chinese descent, thereby enabling myself to instantly build trust with the students. Throughout the course of the summer semester, I was able to notice the improvement of the students’ verbal and written English as they were able to respond more quickly, examine their English competencies more critically, and read their papers more analytically.
I went to Australia to study abroad but my spirit animal was in Bali. The pictures below will display how my encounters with the erratic and highly volatile macaque monkey species perfectly symbolized my emotional and life altering experience in the land down under. One quick thing before I get started, some of my more idiomatic expressions are linked to definitions of those terms. Click on “idiomatic” to understand what I mean. LET’S BEGIN!
UNANTICIPATED REGRET AND CONFUSION ON THE PLANE.
At first, I was super excited to study abroad, but on the plane from LA to Australia I got a little emotional. I was probably receiving nerve damage to my spine from Fiji Airway’s uncomfortable seats, I was exhausted, and I also had just discovered “Blue” by Beyonce and played it on repeat for the entire flight.
I know what you’re thinking. Of course it is, food is essential to life. It tastes good, and it gives you energy to get through the day.
But it’s more than that to me. Growing up both American and Japenese, my mother made it a point to make sure I was exposed to a wide range of foods. I experienced all kinds of cultural foods from a young age and quickly developed a refined palate (for my age, at least) and a love for exploration and experimentation with cuisine.
One of my favorite things about being well-versed in food, aside consumption of the food itself, is that nearly anyone can talk about it,and everyone has a different experience to share. We all grow up eating different things, passed on to us by our parents, depending on their own upbringing and cultural backgrounds. Just like celebrating culture-specific holidays, the type of meal you eat for breakfast (in my case, cereal on American days and rice, fish, and soup on Japanese days) can shape your childhood and, by extension, your appreciation for other foreign food in adulthood.