Impossible is Nothing

Beijing, China

You know you are in a different land, and it’s not just because of the scented credit cards (I prefer winter-green myself.) or the candy flavoured cell phones (They come in cookie, ice cream, and chocolate.). What is striking -– what is palpable in China — is the feeling that anything is possible.

As I boarded the train from Tian Jin to Beijing last night, a stewardess handed me a cup of green tea.  I placed it on the table next to me. A few minutes later, I happened to glance at the speedometer. The train was travelling at 350 kilometers per hour, and yet the surface of the tea was like glass…

This afternoon a Chinese Old Boy told me about how he had inadvertantly connected with an old friend. “ I walked into a shop in the middle of Beijing and noticed a Caucasian guy, working behind the bar. I felt bad that a Westerner had come all this way and was stuck making sandwiches. And then I realized that that he wasn’t just another guy. He was a classmate of mine from UCC. It turns out, he not only owns the shop; he owns a string of other shops throughout the city.”

The shop owner smiled. “I learned Mandarin by living in Beijing.  It took about a year. But you can do it, and you can do just about anything here, if you want it badly enough.”


7 thoughts on “Impossible is Nothing

  1. Ni hao ma?

    In my opinion it is really amazing how far the ucc community reaches across the world, you walk into a coffee shop in China and there is your classmate! As a mandarin student i find it really exciting to hear “In China everything is possible”, it creates an amazing sense of gratitude to realize how fortunate we are to be given the opportunity to learn mandarin.

  2. Alternatively: everything is possible. I do not know if you’re intentionally mirroring Arendt here – and I would not suggest that modern China is a totalitarian state. So chances are this is just coincidence – but it does make me wonder how essential this particular sense of freedom should be to us.

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