Thursday, November 1, 2012

Blending In

This time next week, I will be headed to Shanghai, China to attend a conference that my company puts on each year in a different location. After the conference, I will be headed to Manila, The Philippines to visit a friend from college. I am really excited to be going both places, but at the same time, I'm a little nervous.
Shanghai, China via
Manila, Philippines via
I've only ever traveled to Latin America. I've been to Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic, all multiple times. And here's why I'm really nervous: I've only ever gone places where I had no trouble blending in.

When I go to Mexico, people automatically assume I'm Mexican (from Mexico, not Mexican-American like I am). When I go to Puerto Rico, people assume I'm Puerto Rican. When I go to the Dominican Republic, people assume I'm Dominican. In general, my look is pretty adaptable. Wherever I go, people think I'm a different ethnicity.

No one's going to think I'm Chinese.

When I've traveled in the past, I've always spoken the native language and could get around without needing much help. People didn't try to scam me and people never treated me like a tourist. I'm so excited to go out and see a part of the world that I never imagined I'd see, but I'm scared to be so dependent on others.

You've probably noticed that's a theme for me. I'm very independent and like to do my own thing most times. But this time, that's not possible.

Travel for me is all about figuring out where I fit in the world. Seeing someone elses' daily life and culture helps me to understand my own. I know that going somewhere I am totally unfamiliar with where I definitely won't fit in will force me to learn even more about myself. I can't wait to share my experiences in Shanghai and Manila with you. I also can't wait to tell you about the challenges I face and the things I learn.

6 comments:

Reese said...

Ha ha, you'll be fine. That sounds like a lot of fun though. As I mentioned before, I grew up in Germany. I stuck out like a sore thumb. Mostly I think people would just stare out of idle curiosity. After a while I just got use to it.

Have fun!

Reese

Sandra said...

These trips sound so exciting! I can't wait to hear all about them.
Will you be traveling with co-workers?

Lindsay @ Trial By Sapphire said...

You'll be fine! Don't let this thought cloud your thinking to the point that you don't fully enjoy the trip. :) Have a great time, Erin!

Laura Darling said...

I can't wait to hear about your trips! Have a blast and I hope all goes well - maybe it will be fun to be in a place where you don't blend in!

Meg {henninglove} said...

how cool you will be traveling for work and then getting to see a friend! safe travels and enjoy your time in these two great places

lil desiqua said...

I think I'd be most nervous about eating the food! I hear "Chinese" food here is different than what they actually eat!

Sounds like such an exciting trip! Hopefully you will be with coworkers in China, and your friend will be with you in the Philippines. It shouldn't be too bad. Hope you have a great trip and can't wait to hear all about it!