Genevieve Darling

Newfane

JE 2012

Hamilton College

Genevieve Darling Tree Planting“My reflection?  “Don’t’ take things for granted.  We’ve heard it all before but it is honest-to-god difficult thing to do until you experience missing something first-hand.  Going to China really put it into perspective for me.  There were no little things like milk, and we were often without western toilets (flush toilets, with seats).  I never considered I’d be without them but they really are luxuries not everyone possesses.  And I knew that China was considerably more polluted than home but I never really imagined missing being able to sleep outside any time and inhale the crisp, clean Vermont air so much.

The U.S. is so freedom-oriented, and it gets annoying sometimes – using “I have my rights!” to justify or contradict the most moronic things we do.  But I think freedom is also the thing we take for granted the most. We learned about how tight the government keeps a lid on things in China but being there was what made that really sink in. Kids in China spend a horrific number of hours in school; you spend your time at home studying; you pick your major and job in high school and you stick with it- forever!  You don’t have much free time.  You don’t really dance or do music unless you plan to do those for a living, you don’t have facebook or twitter or internet freedom………….. “Not that China is in any way some horrid hell-hole country void of rights” (but there are serious limits on personal freedoms that we take for granted)(TC)