[CW1] Hi! I found that moving countries encouraged me to depend on others and keep communicating constantly. Because I was out of my comfort zone, I wanted to speak to both students/teachers from Sydney and China to get the information I needed to adapt to this new environment and culture shock! How did you sleep? Where do I sleep? Where/what do I eat? Did you like the food? Are you cold? What clothing do I need? What are you going to get up to today? Where do I go? These were the initial survival questions I asked.
After getting the basics somewhat covered, I had a sudden interest in this city I had not even heard of before a few months. Being thrown in Dalian to explore and find my way, together with some friends from Sydney, we started to compare it to Sydney and occasionally to some other cities. We found ourselves speaking sign language or pointing to things and words on paper.
Note to self: They actually do things differently here. There are different ways of living and working than to the one I know. I do not wear stockings under my pants in spring in Sydney. I should be more hospitable and go out of my way sometimes. I can eat lunch as my biggest meal. Breakfast does not need to be sweet. Sometimes you can work so hard in the city and never own a home-it is under the ownership of the government. Most people are moving to cities instead of buying a quarter acre block in the suburbs. It is common not to have more than one child for the benefit of the collective. We each had different observations and bounced off questions and comments about the city to each other. Because we were in total cluelessness, we had to rely on each other to get the most of the city and our desires met, at least I thought.
Communicating with the local students was so helpful in squeezing the most out of the city. One of my Chinese teammates bought me a Dalian map that was hand sketched and analysed- how did she know I needed that to reflect on all that we had seen the whole day to be compressed onto one giant piece of paper?
This state-change is a total exaggerated version of the things I do to keep the creative energy flowing. Not only am I going for a walk in Redfern to check out the latest renovated terrace and small business tea house start up, I am hiking in Dalian where I have an information overload of things I have not seen or heard- except in movies, sometimes. And I have to find my way too, as there is a language barrier, which helps in expanding my mind.
This state change I can say pulls us right to our core beings, and all our strengths, weaknesses and ideas are squeezed right out of us. Then we are placed in a team of people with a similar purpose but extremely different dynamics. I have already seen how, even though sometimes it is frustrating that we are not similar, we do actually complement each other to work creatively and productively. We are each a vital part of the team. If one person throws around many ideas, there is another who will analyse each one-or highlight the helpful ones. If one person goes too fast, the other will slow the pace down-and vice versa. If one person is louder, the other is mellower. So, yes, even though I do not like to admit this: I depend on you.