My sixth day of the trip and first full day in Xi’an showed me why this city was the perfect showcase of the culture of China.
The children’s village was definitely my favorite thing I did in Xi’an mostly because of the kids there. The Sun village was founded in 1996 and is for children who’s parents have been taken to prison. This is crucial for children so they can grow up with a good life and have the chance to attend a local public school. In the Sun Village there were 54 children and just by being there for the short time I could notice the cultural differences between my childhood and there’s. The main thing was the amount of responsibility they took on compared to how much I had at that age. The children are helped out by a “mom” until they are 10 to help complete chores such as laundry and organizing their living quarters, but after that they are expected to take care of themselves. In addition, after we ate lunch the kids cleaned up the dining hall.
Interacting with the kids was also really fun. I played soccer with some and other from my group played basketball with them. We even got a chance to see the expert Dr. Li get beat in ping pong by one of the kids in the village who apparently wasn’t even the best there. Everyone also performed “baby shark” for the kids in the village and only halfway through did I realize how stupid we looked because they couldn’t understand a word of what we said.
Though the heat definitely got to me the longer I stayed, the Wide Goose Pagoda was a beautiful place to see and an interesting experience to see a different religions place of worship. We started our tour with a fountain show that only made me wish I had some more water to drink. My group did not get a chance to go into the pagoda but the area outside of it was a Buddhist place of worship with many large golden statues. At first I was surprised that we were going into a place where people were actually praying but it took me a while to realize that this was the equivalent of going into an old cathedral in Europe and observing the work put into it. The colors and statues inside of the temple area outside was very vibrant compared to what you would see in an old cathedral. My group and I also were taught about Chinese art and the characters in the language. As opposed to western art, Chinese art places more importance on the composition and colors rather than realism. Also traditional Chinese paintings are done using watercolor which really impressed me when I looked at the intricacies and detail of the paintings. I also learned about the different types of Chinese characters, traditional and modern. Traditional characters tell a sort of story and each of the parts mean different things that relate to the meaning of the character. Modern characters are just made of strokes.