My first friend I made while in Guangzhou is named Reco, and we still talk over WeChat almost every day. He is from Hong Kong and has finally quit smoking. Not by choice but because he girlfriend finally caught him. Apparently, mouthwash isn’t the best cover-up.
I bought a tea set while I was in China and learned the proper tea etiquette. We would often sit in my dorm room and drink tea and talk about life. One night we went out for drinks and had many. When we returned to our dorm, we stood against the railing outside for a bit so Reco could finish his cigarette. He told me about how he has all these dreams and all these aspirations in life. I could see he was telling me something that he hadn’t shared with anyone before. He told me in China, it is better not to have dreams because it is too hard to make them your reality.
People would tell him to except his life now for what it is so he didn’t get hurt or experience any loss. He also told me that he thought my hobby was watching and observing and experiencing cultures and people. He told me for someone my age I had already done a lot of travelling and seen much of the world. I told him in Canada, this is common.
I realized that as our friendship blossomed and as he was having such a positive impact on my life, I was having the same effect on him. That was a defining moment, realizing that while you are away thinking that the experience of studying abroad is changing your life, you are changing the lives of others as well. You can change the lives of everyone you come in contact with. It’s the ripple effect. Remember it, embrace it, and run with it because it has the ability to change lives.
Thanks, Reco. Tell your Mum I say hello.