Chinatown, SF–Where I Learned Culture Makes the World Go ’round
We went to Chinatown on the last day the trip because I heard it was one of the coolest places to see. The Uber ride was somewhat long. Along the way, I looked at my surroundings and saw no sign of this quaint section of town. After a sharp right turn, Chinatown seemed to appear out of nowhere. The sky was filled with red lanterns. The sounds of traditional Asian-inspired music filled the air with a beautiful sound. There were people everywhere–some who looked similar to me, and others who looked completely different than me.
As I continued my Chinatown adventure, I was in complete awe of the sights, the sounds and the culture. The architecture in San Fran is breath-taking. The buildings are old, yet modern and adorned with beautiful details. The Chinatown in San Francisco is the oldest Chinatown in North America. I was amazed at how customs are retained, yet so many different people from many walks of life cohabitate comfortably.
During this entire trip, I was late to everything. This journey to Chinatown seemed to be the only thing to happen right on time. We even caught a fun “dragon show” that took place on the streets! I was trying so hard to find out the meaning behind this, or why these students put on this really cool show. I think they are students at a martial arts school. If anyone has information on this–please enlighten me!
There were lots of little shops that had herbs, spices, vegetables, foods and fruits that you would never see at a local (American) grocery store. I watched as many people–no matter the origin, shopped at these places and didn’t even flinch at how “abnormal” some of these things were because these oddities have become a part of their lives.
What Chinatown SF Taught Me
For me, Chinatown has re-enforced the importance of keeping an open mind. Everyone is so different, but what brings us together are those differences. In order to live together peacefully, we have to learn from each other. Exchange customs. It was an honor to walk the same streets that many immigrants coming to America did. Fighting for opportunity. Seeking peace.
Chinatown has inspired me to keep my heart open, and my mind expanded. There’s always something to be learned from other people. Everyone has a story and it’s our job to listen to them because we have to understand one another. Embrace all of the culture that makes our world colorful. Give love. Make peace. Always.