"We are not measured by the trials we meet -- only by those we overcome."
- - Spencer W. Kimball
March 1, 2013
China: A Country Rich in Culture
by Dian Thomas

Beijing, China: China has become a part of American everyday life but for most of us we do not know too much about China and their life and culture. It has been my opportunity to travel in China for the past six years. Every trip I gain new insights into this country and the Chinese people. In many ways they are so much like the people in our country. I find them to be very family oriented, hard working, and modest in their dress.

For most people the Chinese way of life is a big surprise. Even though their government is a communist government, their economy is based on capitalism and entrepreneurship. They are the biggest producers of household goods in the world. Items are produced here and shipped to countries around the world. When you buy something in the store I would say eight times out of ten it has been produced in China.

On one of my earlier trips I was invited to visit a factory. It was a factory that produced cords that connected computers. It was owned by a man in Springville, Utah. Most of the employees were woman between the age of 20 and 30. I would say for every ten woman there were three men.

China has such a big workforce. They have 1.3 billion people. For every person in American there are five people in China. Here are some of things that I have observed on my many trips.

Families are a key part of society: The people here are very tied to their families. In the years past, as many as five generations have lived together in the same home. On this trip I rented a room from a Tibetan family. I ate breakfast and dinner with them. It was so interesting to see four generations all living together. Everyone seemed to be involved in each other’s life. I saw the grandpa often holding the young children and caring for them. In China it is the way for the grandparents to take a major role in raising the children. In one family I ate with the little girl who was crying for her 82-year-old grandma to go to bed with her as they said that the moms and dads need their sleep to work. Their grandparents raised many of my friends. It seems so different for us but for the Chinese that is the way that it is done. Woman retire at 50 to 55 and men from 55 to 60 and they are free to take care of the grandchildren. As I go about I see more children with grandma and grandpa that I do with their mother and father.

Education is very important in the life of the Chinese: All Chinese children have free education from kindergarten through the 9th grade. There is a lot of pressure for the Chinese student to do well in school. The higher education that is possible for them is based on the scores they receive on the test that are given in school. The better the test score you get on the many test that they give you the better education you will be able to get.

Good and healthy foods are at the center of their lives: There is much more variety of food in China than anywhere I have traveled. However, the variety of food varies with the region of the country. In the north, there is a lot of wheat grown and they eat a lot of noodles made from wheat. In the south, rice is the main staple and they have some form of rice with every meal. They even make noodles out of rice and call them rice noodles. When I have been in the south, a main staple they have almost every day is a bowl of rice noodles with a little meat and lot of vegetables. Vegetables are at the center of every meal. They must have more than ten different kinds of greens. When my Chinese friends come to America they often complain to me that the American diet did not have enough vegetables. Soup is a dish that is served at every meal. When I ask them why, they say that it is good to fill up on soup, as it will not make you fat.

China is a culture with 55 minorities and a country that has one main language, Mandarin, but hundreds of dialects. China is the oldest culture on earth going back over 5,000 years. In summary, China is a country rich in culture and varied in history.

Want to Travel to China: If you are interested in going to China and would like to be in one of Dian’s groups email her at info@dianthomas.com or call her at 801 277 4332.

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About Dian Thomas

Dian Thomas was blessed with the good fortune to be born near and raised in the remote, breathtaking Manti-La Sal National Forest in southeastern Utah, where her father was the forest ranger. She took the skills she learned in the outdoors and turned them into a New York Times best-selling book, Roughing It Easy. Her appearance on the NBC's "Tonight" show with Johnny Carson boosted her into the national media scene, where she became a regular on NBC's "Today" show for eight years and then ABC's "Home Show" for six years. After more than 25 years of media exposure and 19 books, she now shares her practical insights and wisdom with audiences who want to savor life.

A former Relief Society president, Dian is currently serving as a visiting teacher. Visit her website at www.DianThomas.com

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