Bok Choy Farming

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Study Abroad.”

If I had the chance to study anywhere, I’d pack my tablet and suitcase of clothes and head off to China.  But I wouldn’t want to go to some large city, it would have to be somewhere in a remote village.  Now I don’t speak a word of Chinese, I might recognize the word for hello; but otherwise it would be a total immersion experience.  A complete culture shock from living outside of Washington, D.C. and one that would well be worth the frustration of learning to communicate from scratch.

The idea of learning from basic villages how they sustain food supplies, get things to market, trade among neighbors; it’s all a Behavioral Economists dream!  Why does one person prefer to do business with another village while his/her cousin does business with a totally different person.  I doubt it has to do with the pricing structure, most likely they just have a better relationship.  Or maybe someone’s distant relative shafted someone in a deal and 10 generations later they are still carrying the grudge of that day.

Having worked for a person of Chinese dissent, he came over and opened of all things an American Bistro in Narragansett, Rhode Island.  [I can debone a chicken in less than a minute!]  He used to make me food from home when the place was quiet.  Very different from what you get at your local take-out place.  Lacking the excess sugars and other things they use to make it more palatable to the American stomach, it opened my mind to different things.  Sure he still like to grill a steak, relished in watching me turn it down since I don’t eat red meat!  The stories he told made it fascinating.

The added benefit being that I could learn to once again appreciate the simpler things.  A slower pace of life, a deeper sense of community that farmers must have to survive.  There are aspects that goes back thousands of years, predate the written word.  Mechanized farming doesn’t exist, computers controlling routine chores, the work done mostly by hand.

There would be the obvious obstacles, a political system that is paranoid of outsiders and at points deaf to the needs of the populace.  Yet they have found a way to continue to spread theories, share ideas, even if only small groups huddled in the dark.  While the current system may last another generation or three, there will come a time when the people will have seized more control over their lives.  Economics forces tend to shift, with greater knowledge comes greater power.  I’m not going to be the voice that starts a revolution, but it would be amazing to see the seeds as they are planted.

We all know about the Great Wall, temples built before some countries even existed, those all sound like great day trips and just a little touristy.  I would definitely want to see them, but only if they are on my way while riding on the back of some truck carrying Bok Choy to market!


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