expanding in every direction

by Rachel Lynch

"You can't get wet from the word water." An expression I have often heard from many of my teachers, but never understood. Traveling to China is the farthest I have ever been from my home - both physically and cullturally. Sometimes I think that because I watch movies, listen to music, and read books, that I understand things. But the more I travel,  I realize that nothing is as illuminating as the real thing. 

On our second day in China, I woke up to an article my love had sent me via we chat. Although he was laying next to me in bed, he still sent it in a message. It was entitled "Foreign Spouse, Happy Life."  The writer spoke of the difficulties and the triumphs she has experienced while being in a partnership with a man from France. After she shared her story, these words particularly touched my heart,

"Anyone who risks a life with someone outside of his in-group -- not only across lines of nationality, but also those of religion, race and class -- becomes a participant, whether he knows it or not, in a global experiment in developing empathy. The awareness and negotiation of small differences add up to a larger understanding about the complexities of the world." 

I never though I would date someone who grew up in a country so very different from my own. Where would the similarities lie? Where would we find common ground? But dating Sean has expanded my consciousness in every direction possible. Sean has pushed me to travel much more, and to see the world as he sees it. It seems like only a year ago my world stretched only as far as New York to Los Angeles. But with him, I have been able to experience and do things I would have never dreamed of for myself. Perhaps this is because we only become what we're exposed to. It was never my dream to see so much of the world, but I'm glad I'm getting to share it with him.