A Need for Understanding

Derek - Idaho Falls, Idaho
Entered on September 16, 2008

A Need for Understanding

I believe in understanding. For two years I have lived in Hong Kong, one of the most international cities in the world—the Gateway to China. I was only 19 years old when I first arrived, and in a very real sense the world that I had always known was turned upside down. The thousands of people that surrounded me had been raised with very different life-styles than that which I was accustomed to. It was the first time in my life that I had associated not only with the Chinese, but with Indonesian, Nepalese, Filipino, Sri Lankan, Thai, Indian and many more nationalities as well, each of them on a daily basis. It seemed as though the world’s population had been fit inside this one city. Naturally, I felt uneasy. Everything around me was different from what I was programmed to have it be. The buildings were too tall, the streets were too loud, and above all I couldn’t understand a word of anything that was said.

As time passed, however, as I studied the language and lived among the people, life became easier. Slowly, the customs of the people and colloquialisms of the language became clear to me. Not only was I beginning to understand, but furthermore I found that the more I learned about the people of Hong Kong the more than I wanted to learn. I found their habits and culture to be very intriguing. I learned from experience that just because something was not fitted to the way that I was accustomed to have it be did not mean that it was by any means wrong. I learned that rarely did I ever truly dislike anything, but rather, I just did not understand it well enough yet.

I believe this principle of understanding can be applied in all aspects of life. I believe that there are many conflicts of war, problems of divorce, and even just simple arguments that could have been prevented if both parties were willing to be more understanding.