Day 4-5: America so Plain

After a day of dreadful driving, all 623 miles of it, I arrived at wonderful KCK aka Kansas City Kansas.  Because apparently there is a Kansas City Missouri which is of course more bourgeoisie and a lot more like a metropolitan center.

But oh man, America is so plain, and by plain I mean the Great Plains. With its never-ending rolling greens, it is as if the entire western Kansas is a huge open golf course with bison prancing around. Other than that, well you have no where to hide from the harsh winds, which moves so fast people have thought to put wind turbans up and take advantage of that. It moved the larger trucks left and right and left a new driver like me sweaty with angst.

However, once I hit Topeka and Lawrence, the scene shifted. There was actually trees, I know OMG. And the climate became more humid and wet. Marsh lands and river became more prevalent as well. The drive made me appreciate even more the tenacity and drive of those people who had moved from the east coast to the west coast per-continental railroad. Not only do they have to deal with the crushing wind and boredom of the great plains, but the Rockies in Colorado, and then also the arid lands of Utah and Nevada before finally reaching California. No wonder some of them stopped and just settled along the way.

Other than the Jesus sign over 10 miles, there wasn’t anything out of the ordinary in Kansas. Oh wait, there is. My first Asian family sighting since I left home five days ago was in Hays, Kansas. All American city of Hays, Kansas. I was filling my  gas, and there it was  in a Kansas plated SUV, a full-flesh Asian family. It made my entire trip that much better.

Alas, I would like to thank my friend for being from Kansas, it was so wonderful to see her and let her show me a different side of Kansas City, not to mention the BBQ at Oklahoma Joe’s. Definitely worthy of the title “Best I’ve Ever Had”. It was just so energizing to see someone I knew after thousands of lonely miles, I love her for that and I really appreciate the time spent.

If I have to ever drive across the country again, which I probably do driving back home, I would do it alone. Its so much loneliness, I started talking to my Tepig. My hopes that intense sharing on social media would cure the loneliness, but nope sorry it doesn’t work like that. No matter how many likes you get and how many comments, it’s still just you in  car across the beautiful terrain from sea to shining sea.

China’s Adjustment Period

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PREFACE: This article is me trying to stand up and speak out for the “unpopular, uncool” kid in HS who suddenly becomes extremely popular and “cool”, much to the despise of the current establishment, the “rich, cool, popular” kids. In this case, the kid who all of a sudden becomes popular is China.

I have met many individuals both living in and outside of China, both Chinese and foreign, who when speaking upon the subject of China, would often incessantly indulge upon its lack of political transparency, plethora of social injustice, and the ever-mounting environmental and judicial issues. Yes. These problems do exist and sometimes are far worse and widespread than they are advertised. And No. One shouldn’t use the standard of a developed nation who has had 230+ yrs of history, no warfare on its mainland in the past 150 yrs, with a population of 300 million to judge a developing country with 60+ yrs of history, 4 major warfare on its mainland in the past century, with a population of 1.4 billion. Individuals who move into a new environment (college, new city, college to pro sports, etc.) would often need some time to get acquainted to the new settings, let alone an entire society of 1.4 billion.

And this society hasn’t really been raised under the “best situation” since Mao won the civil war and establish the People’s Republic in 1949, Chinese society has been put through a roller-coaster ride filled with ups and downs of hunger, poverty, nature disaster, and political turbulence. Soon after 1949, Mao started the 5-yr Plan followed by the Great Leap Forward, which turned out to be absolutely failures sending the already backwards China even more back in time. After that, natural disasters hit China severely for several yrs, then followed by the “Red Flood” of Mao’s own personal vendetta rampages aka the “Cultural Revolution” in the 1966-76 that literally wasted a generation’s youth while sending China back another 30 yrs in economic and agriculture development as a nation. Only after 1978 did they abandon the crazy-ass Maoist reforms under Deng Xiaoping, and thus resume the now crumbling education system with only a few universities to serve as centers of higher education. It was only since the middle 80s, when Deng’s policies of “gai ge kai fang” (economic change and openness), did China really open its doors to Capitalism and began to expand and grow as a nation, now known for its cheap labor and hard-work instead of famines and poverty (though both still pervades some areas).

It seems obvious, but look at all the bullshit that the new China has been through in the since it’s inception 60 yrs ago. Sure they are but history now, but they impacted generations before they came and went, and those scars can never be undone. It has been only 30 yrs since China has actually had a relatively stable environment to grow and prosper and look at how much has changed in such as short amount of time. When I was born, the train stations in most cities rivaled that of refugee-camps in third world countries (minus the Red cross tents), now there is an airport in every major city and most are far more extravagant  and lavish than its American counterparts.

I know what I’m saying might not be entirely accurate, but I am trying to be a nice guy, trying to speak up for the “new kid” as he adjust to his new life. All I’m saying is “give him a lil more time” and everything will get better.