During our two different years in Beijing, China, Henry and I were untethered from all our usual responsibilities and routines. This was sometimes exciting, and sometimes unnerving as we learned about the 5000 years of Chinese history and culture, made wonderful friends from around the world, ate great food, and saw amazing sights.
We learned about the great Chinese classic, Journey to the West, and read the children’s version. We also met a five year old American boy who was living at the Friendship Hotel with his parents. Papa was teaching constitutional law! The boy loved Money King and had memorized the whole children’s version – all 36 volumes. He knew of all about Monkey’s mischief and valor, all his magic powers including his magic cudgel that Monkey kept behind his ear when it wasn’t needed. Monkey was travelling with his three companions, the (Buddhist) Monk, Friar Sand, and Pigsy who can never totally control his appetites, at the Buddha’s request to bring the sutras back to China from the west. They have many exciting adventures along the way – and learn many lessons.
We were told that we could not begin to understand China until we had read the three great classics, Outlaws of the Marsh, Dream of Red Chamber, and Journey to the West.
Do you have ornaments, or books, from any of your travels?