At first, Beijing almost did not seem like it was any other foreign land or continent than it was back at home. Everything here is just like a modern city in America with busy and lively streets. In particular, one major activity that stood out to me was our trip to the Great Wall. It was our first real day in China and it gave me a deeper glimpse of what Chinese culture truly has to offer.
The Great Wall is a physical symbol of strength, courage, and devotion to the people of China. Scaling up the wall itself proved to be quite the difficult task. It was very easy to slip and fall, and it was also quite steep unlike any other sort of man-made, physical feature found in America. Only through our sheer willpower and determination did we manage to finally hike up the entire wall (it sounds a little bit dramatic, but for people who were not accustomed, it really was an exhausting task).
However, arrival at the top of the wall was rewarding in so many ways. The views were beautiful and the weather was amazing. It was a really great day to be up there. On the wall, the one thing I kept imagining was the many people who worked hard day in and day out in order to protect their homeland. Nobody builds a wall like this (especially back in the day) without true commitment and devotion to his or her homeland, but more importantly, true commitment and devotion to one’s family.
The idea of collectivism in China still lives on through traditions and daily life today. Collectivism and family-oriented society really shaped a large portion of China’s history and modern culture. The people that built the wall and defended it envisioned a better future for their family and future families to come–being and living on the wall for the night made me feel like I was also a part of what these people envisioned way back in the past. Just like the Chinese traditions, the Great Wall withstood the test of time and continues to carry through strong and proudly.