It's four years of loving China
Updated: 2012-12-11 05:52
Becoming a fixture in the Chinese culture has been a journey of love for me. I can't believe how many years I have lived here - Jan 27 will be my fourth anniversary.
I remember how tired I was when I first arrived in Shanxi from the United States. The flight was 13 hours, and when I got off the plane, all I could think was how cold it was. I was so cold I felt a chill all the way to my bones, even through several layers of clothing.
Truthfully, I only felt that way for a minute. That's because so many Chinese people had come to the airport to welcome me here, and that just warmed my body and my heart!
The show of love made me think of my mother, Mabel Marbury, who is in China with me for a month. If you got the chance to meet my mother, you would quickly realize she has many simple yet profound sayings. One of her favorites is, "It's one thing to want something, but another thing to need it". I needed to feel loved China when I first came here, and that is just how you made me feel.
I did not know how I would be received or what it would be like living in another country. Until then, I had only lived in the US, and I never thought I would live anywhere else. Once I got here, I knew I could not only live here but fall in love with the country as well, and I have!
China, I will always be thankful to and love you because you have shown me love. You opened your arms and heart to me then and are still doing it today. Sometimes I wonder and even ask myself: Would I have come to live in China if it had not been for basketball?
When I was a teenager, my oldest brother Eric would hold a basketball in the palm of his hand and extend the ball toward me. He would tell me that ball would take me all over the world, if I let it. Yes China, I have allowed the basketball, which I view as a globe, to take me 7,000 miles around the world from my native homeland to my new adopted one.
China is my home now, and I am eternally planted in the country's soil with a life-sized monument of me in front of MasterCard Center in Beijing. More importantly, I feel the connection between the people of China and myself is a bond rooted in love.
In life, you never know where your journey will take you. I truly believe God brought me from America to the Far East to grow me from the inside out, and closer to Him. What a blessing!
When I arrived in China, I never imagined becoming so ingrained in the culture. I now attend cross-talk shows, eat chicken feet for lunch and frogs for dinner! My mom may not believe you if you tell her that because I was probably my parents' pickiest eater of their seven kids. Yes, I'm still picky. However, I am now open to change and growth, as well as new things like speaking and writing in Chinese.
When I came to China, I tried to force myself to learn everything at once, but it didn't work. When I realized that, I began to quiet my mind and think more about embracing all China has to offer. I started making real strides in learning the culture and enjoying life here.
I am a driven person. I'm very determined and don't quit. But the difference in me today is that I'm much more patient and calm. My mother recently told my sister she noticed a positive change in me. As a scripture in the Holy Bible tells us, everything will change but the word of God. I'm a living witness.
In other Starbury news, my Beijing Ducks teammates and I had a three-game home-stand last week, going 2-1. We lost to Tianjin, then rebounded by beating Shandong, which was the only undefeated team in the CBA. Up next is a two-game trip against Xinjiang and Shanxi. Both are good teams. I suspect most of the country will be watching the game against Shanxi because of the intensity of our matchup in last season's semifinals. This should be an interesting week, so, stay tuned. Love is love.
Stephon Marbury can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
(China Daily 12/11/2012 page23)