to sum up one’s travels in words is a trying tasks that i’ve attempted a few times before. as i approach this entrance of a new phase of growth, i am challenging myself to do so.
Shenzhen, China is where I be. When I left America, so worried that I would miss my plane that I barely got to kiss my father and my little brother goodbye in the midst of tears I tried so hard to bite back – I didn’t have the clearest notion as to why I was coming to China for 10 months. It was easiest to say, “Why not?” when someone asked me why I chose to accept this opportunity. I’m young, free, educated and the world is mine. All true, but I was still lacking the concrete reasoning one would usually have before they packed up their things and moved to the other side of the world with a second language vernacular of about five words.
Jetlagged. When I entered a classroom of 20 perplexed Chinese junior high school students in Beijing in only my second day in China I started to ask myself “Lakin, what are you doing here?” . Needless to say, we were both thinking the same thing. 6 classes and 6 days later, it was clear to me. I was the first black person that these students had ever seen. Black woman, “dread”loc wearing, tattoo toting, lao shi (teacher), they had ever had.
and that is why I was there, why I am here.
Talk about bringing light to my life everyday? That’s exactly what they did. I wasn’t halfway prepared for the attachment I developed for my students. So now, a 24 hour train ride later I’m in Shenzhen, China in Longgagng District, resting my bones on my sofa as I try and wrap my mind around the reality of my responsibility to these children and all of the newness around me.