My ACE trip has been packed with experiences that I will remember for a very long time. Looking back though, it is the little moments that I will treasure.
I remember the first day of camp when we were all starting to meet the kids and get to know everyone. A young girl had asked me to test her on the numbers, the theme for the day. Having already mastered this topic, she was eager to learn more English. I sat with her for another half an hour, drawing chalk pictures with their equivalent words. I myself cannot speak another language but have always admired those who try to learn. I felt honored to have had the opportunity to be a part of someone’s journey in achieving this. I loved how enthusiastic she was about learning. Switching roles, she would then draw the Chinese character and sound out the word in Chinese for me to learn. I must say, she was a much better student in English than I was in Chinese.
“On this day, all of the kids came dressed in traditional clothing and shared some music and dance from their culture with us. Watching the kids share their culture with such pride and excitement was captivating.”
Another little moment that I remember fondly occurred when we visited our first Buddhist monastery. Walking clockwise around the temple as a sign of respect, and seeing all of the offerings and prayer flags, was beautiful. When we got to the area of the temple where offerings were burned, we were able to witness people doing prostrations. Dr. Bill told us that we could participate as a way to show our respect. We completed some prostrations alongside the people of Shangri-La: an incredibly memorable experience. We were able to stand in their shoes and truly experience a small moment in their lives, even if it was just for a short period of time. This experience allowed me to develop a deeper understanding of one form of Buddhism and share a part of their culture.
One of my most treasured moments of my ACE experience culminated on the final day of camp. On this day, all of the kids came dressed in traditional clothing and shared some music and dance from their culture with us. Watching the kids share their culture with such pride and excitement was captivating. Coming from an indigenous ethnic background myself, I understand how it feels to share your culture with others; it can be very daunting and yet empowering at the same time. I felt honored that they were willing to share this experience with us.
Experiencing these little moments has re-enforced the idea that small experiences can be some of the most important and memorable ones. This is something that I want to be mindful of when I get back to Stanford and I hope to be able to implement into my daily life.