My three weeks in Xingtang are almost at an end. Surprisingly to myself, what I personally will take back from this experience isn’t particularly related to the teaching. Instead, I’ve learned a lot about many Chinese customs and cultural norms from our Chinese host, Carrie, as well as our interactions with the local government officials. I’m surprised to admit that these interactions have been much more challenging than I expected them to be. Honestly, having never been in China before, I didn’t know what to expect, but will little previous experience I didn’t really expect some of their customs to stand out so much to me. In particular, they stood out when they influenced my own freedoms that I was used to. I won’t go into it now, but it was particularly difficult for me not to get upset and argue about things when I knew my host had no control over it, and was listening to orders from the officials (who were in turn treating us as a honored guests according to Chinese custom). Again, I just didn’t expect it to become such an issue. But, of course, this has been an extremely worthwhile experience and the discomforts (i.e. no hot water, no air conditioning, water and electricity going out for hours, strange looking bugs) do not even begin to overshadow the rest of the wonderful experiences I’ve had.