Dr. Mary Beadle, Professor of Communication and Theatre Arts

What were some of the highlights of your trip to China this past summer in ’10?
Seeing the historical sites such as the Great Wall of China and Tiananmen Square. I never thought I would ever be in China, so this was a very different experience for me. Yunnan province is full of beauty, and the landscapes are breathtaking.

How different is the food compared to America?
They have a lazy susan in the center of the table where food is placed and shared, the food is very fresh, especially the vegetables, and the food in Yunnan has a very strong spice taste.

What are some cultural specific things that you noticed?
The Chinese really notice westerners, I was approached by them for photographs in both Beijing and Yunnan. The men would expose their bellies if it was hot by lifting their shirts up and letting it rest on their stomach. The people in Beijing at Tiananmen Square were polite but pushy: it was crowded but their body language indicated that they wanted us to move quickly. At Yunan they have a tea museum that talked about the process of making Pu’er tea, which is a special type of tea made from large leaves. The Bai people who lived in a village just outside of Dali were very happy and contented people, who worked jobs like fishing and farming.

What was your home stay experience like?
It was very difficult to sleep, they had traditional beds that were like boards. The people were very nice, they taught us how to make dumplings, and do paper cutting. They used solar power for electricity, but they had limited technology. They had cell phones, but used the heat from their furnace to warm their beds. The landscape was otherworldly with their farmland situated below the Great Wall of China, and traditional architecture, it almost felt as if I was in a storybook rather than reality.