Questions from Documentary Application

Last month I applied (late) to be apart of a PBS documentary: Summer Teaching Exchange in China. I was not selected to be one of the two participants, but I did have fun answering the questions on the application. Here is a few of the questions and my, abridged, answers.

What is your work history? I have worked all my life. From John’s Vehicle Detailing (AKA Car Wash) when I was 11 to various forms of consulting and marketing throughout college.

Please briefly explain why you want to go to China, what you hope to gain from the experience, and what you would contribute to the documentary: I think traveling is one of the most important things you can do in life. It’s sad that most people only begin to travel after retirement because I believe the more you expose yourself, the more you experience, the more you push your comfort zone, the stronger your character. I want to go with you to China because I hope to do just that. I am an energetic, inquisitive, and passionate person. I truly want to understand Chinese culture, society, people and the like. Furthermore, if in return I can help educate/expose others to the same sensation and growth… that’s awesome and something I hope to do my entire life.

What is the best part of traveling for you? Understanding how other people/cultures/communities live and think, through interaction.

Have you ever experienced “Culture Shock?” If so, please describe the circumstances and how you handled it. I don’t believe I have. I trust my propensity to be open-minded and tolerant helps me deal with uncomfortable situations of culture and way-of-life without negative consequences.

What unique perspectives do you feel you could bring to this documentary? I grew up in a small town north of San Antonio, Texas. I was home schooled until I chose to attend public school in 8th grade. The transition sparked my interest in social groups; this may have been the closest I’ve come to culture shock. My father works as a mechanic out of our house. My mother helps him and takes care of my ageing grandmother. I have traveled many places within the US, but few outside its borders. I have a close extended family who, as successful authors, entrepreneurs, and executives, have fostered my diverse interests. I believe I see the world a little differently because I live a life unique from the norm.

Comfort zone: (1) Completely comfortable; (2) Stretching past my comfort zone, but I would be okay; or (3) Very uncomfortable

Eating/drinking these things:
_1 Red meat
_1 Carrot soup
_1 Babaganoush (mashed eggplant with garlic and spices)

_1 Sushi
_2 Escargot (snails sautéed with garlic butter)
_1 Red bean paste ice cream
_1 Stuffed sea cucumber (long cucumber-shaped sea animal)
_2 Chicken feet (basted in a spicy sauce)
_2 Fried scorpion
_2 Pig ear
_2 Roasted snake

Doing these things:
_1 Learning and using some Chinese words and phrases
_1 Figuring out what 23 US dollars is equal to in Chinese currency
_2 Waiting for a bus that comes 2 hours late
_1 Meeting and talking with Chinese farmers
_1 Bargaining down the price of a souvenir with a shopkeeper
_1 Attending a Buddhist religious service
_1 Hiking up stairs at high elevations
_1 Using a “squatter” toilet (no seat to sit on, just an elongated porcelain basin with a drain that one squats over)
_2 Sharing a small seat on a train with a peasant, her bundles of vegetables and a chicken
_1 Riding a bike on a dirt path
_1 Fielding questions about American lifestyles, wealth, diet, ethnicities, pastimes, foreign policy and religions
_2 Sitting in close quarters with someone who only bathes once a month
_1 Eating with chopsticks
_2 Walking past a group of homeless children begging for money
_2 Having your fortune read by a fortune-teller
_1 Attending a theatrical performance in a language you do not know

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