May 21, 2008

CHECKING IN: Allison Raguse's China Trip Journal

May 21, 2008

SHANGHAI, China -- Unforgettable. Amazing. Shocking. Motivating. Incredible. Moving.

All of these words accurately describe our ten-day adventure in China, but, honestly, I think only one truly encompasses the journey we've taken: indescribable. Maybe that's why it's so hard for me to sit and journal to you all back home tonight. Because even after talking together in a group for our last night here just a moment ago, we are all still having trouble trying to sum up everything we've done or felt.

There is no way we can let you all know what it is like to be in the same place where emperors once walked and where history was made. It's impossible to describe exactly how accomplished one feels after reaching the top of the Great Wall, or how inconceivable it is to look out on Shanghai's horizon from the tallest building in town and not be able to see where the city ends. Even when trying to describe something simple, like the scenery around me (the buildings, trees, and millions of people), I still find myself feeling like a failure when trying to express how cool and bizarre it really is.

This place, and this trip, can't be summed up in words or even in pictures (though we have certainly all tried with our overworked cameras). China is too amazing, too overwhelming, too emotional, and too memorable.

For the 26 of us who were blessed enough to go on this trip, our adventure technically comes to an end tomorrow. And for the most part, our lives will go back to normal. We'll go home, re-involve ourselves in our daily routines, and get back to normal life in the United States. But I know I am speaking for all of us when I say that we will be different. We aren't exactly the same people we were before we came here. From this trip, we'll take away with us a more eye-opened view of the world. We'll not only be more knowledgeable about the Chinese people, but humanity as a whole.

We've also come closer as a team, learning more about each other and the sport we play as we have experienced this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity together. I think that's what's touched me the most about this trip. Most people get the chance to come to China only once, and we got to do it together -- as a team. We are proud to represent Northern Colorado on an international level and are thankful for the support the administration and the community has given us as we've planned for and taken this trip. And, of course, we'd be nowhere without the donations and assistance of the generous friends, fans, and families around us. We are very fortunate people to have been here to learn all we did, and we hope we got the most out of it that we could have.

So, tomorrow, when we land in Denver, forgive us for not being able to stop talking about our trip or for not describing it well enough. Because, like I said in the beginning, it's been too indescribable to even come close to measuring it up. We'll show you our pictures, and tell you our stories, but, in the end, China is China.

It's an experience all its own.