Adventures in China with North Reading Resident

Greta Barresi has many stories to share about her travel throughout the world and China.

Resident Greta Barresi is a world traveler. She's been to every continent in the world. Last Thursday evening, Barresi returned from a two-week long trip to Machu Picchu and the Galapagos Islands. 

It wasn't her first time there, but she said it's probably her last. Why? Because at 80 years of age, Barresi thinks it's time to settle down for a bit. But, this doesn't mean she doesn't have exciting stories to share. On the contrary, she enjoys educating others about the places she's been able to see. 

"If people are interested in learning about these things, than I am happy to help them with anything I know," Barresi said.

This Thursday, at , Barresi will be sharing her experiences of a trip she took to China last summer. 

"Do not give up your American citizenship in favor of a Chinese citizenship," Barresi said, somewhat joking, somewhat serious. 

The trip lasted 16 days and Barresi had the opportunity to visit Biejing, Tiananmen Square and Suzhou, among other places. Suzhou is known as the place where silk originated from. Barresi said that tour guides were very keen on showing the good, but never the bad in China.

"They told us and they showed us what they wanted us to see, not necessarily the negative." Barresi said. 

Even at Tiananmen Square, known for its ill-fated uprising and massacre of protesters, tour guides glossed over what happened. 

"Everything was good and dandy in China," Barresi said. 

Despite these circumstances, Barresi said she enjoyed the trip, especially the food. Real Chinese food is different from what they serve in Chinese restaurants in the states, she said. As someone who travels she has noticed the incongruence of diets in the U.S. and abroad. 

"Other people do not consume the amount of meat that Americans do," Barresi said.  

She enjoys traveling and gaining perspective on the world we live in, she said. 

"You see different places, you meet different people," Barresi said.

She recalled a moment in Peru where her group visited a school, and after the visit, someone noticed that several students weren't wearing shoes. Most of the time these trips remind her how lucky she is to be an American citizen. 

"These people were so poor, so poor and they don't know it because they have everything they need," Barresi said. "It just gives you a bigger perspective on the world and makes you appreciate being a citizen of the United States." 

The most special of trips are the ones she gets to share with her entire family. Her extensive travel has taken her to many places, but she still has a wish list. What's on it? Egypt and the Amazon.  

Head to the library on Thursday at 3 p.m. to hear Barresi talk about China. She will also show slides from her recent trip.

Lindsay Felix July 19, 2011 at 11:55 AM
This is great! My son Chadem, spent two summers in Hong Kong and mainland China. Attending Peking University, learning to speak Mandarin and write traditional characters, visited The Great Wall, The Squares,The Budha's, The Terracota Soldiers ...etc. His Aunt, Laura Beth Barnes, a North Reading native and Governor Dummer Academy Alumni resides in Hong Kong .....allowing these opportunities for my children. In August, my other son Ethan will be traveling there for the first time. Chad blogged about his travels and kept in touch with friends, family and teachers at www.chademfelix.blogspot.com. He even visited the school and home of a Hunan Province Teacher we hosted and then Super Intendant Troughton honored and welcomed to the NR schools. I'm sure my kids would loved to see and hear about her travels and she theirs.
Andi July 19, 2011 at 02:22 PM
This is amazing. My personal 10 year goal is to make it to every continent. I've checked off three so far. This is truly an inspiration and I'd love to sit down and talk with Greta. Thanks for sharing!
Ashley Troutman July 19, 2011 at 02:47 PM
I'm sure she would be willing to talk at the library on Thursday after she presents the slides from her trip!
Julian Rawle July 19, 2011 at 03:51 PM
I am looking forward to this event. Like Lindsay, I have family living in China. My brother, Patrick, is in Chengdu (South Central China). He has been there for about 5 years now initially teaching English but he is now an examiner. He has been all over China and writes brilliantly about his travels at http://slow-boat.blogspot.com/. He likes living in China but his views can be a little cynical which is why his blog has been blocked and no one in China can read it. However, if you like dry English humor, you should read this. I also wanted to ask whether Lindsay was doing anything about formally teaching her kids Mandarin or Cantonese? I believe that by the time our kids grow up, China is going to be a major global economic power and the ability to converse with Chinese people in their own language (and perhaps understand something of their culture) will give our kids an advantage. I would be interested in Lindsay's and other readers' views on this.


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