Today, we went to Chinatown! While there are over 50 other Chinatowns across the country, the one in San Francisco was the very first! It was a place where people from China would migrate to, and the people really came together as a community to form Chinatown. Chinese merchants built restaurants, shops, and places to live, causing more and more people to move here. They maintained their culture and worked together to create this safe space. Their community was a place away from the oppression and racism often faced, helping them live in a safe environment with a connection to their heritage.
From live chickens to fresh fortune cookies, we saw it all. We walked around several blocks of Chinatown and really got to experience being immersed in the culture. Our tour guide, Gimmy, showed us around for the morning. She was so sweet and knew a tremendous amount about the area, which made it interesting to hear about some of the history. There were tons of small, unique shops that we walked by; I definitely would love to go back! We all enjoyed the fortune cookies, new years calendars, and fresh food we saw as we walked around each block. We noticed that there was an emphasis on fresh food everywhere we went, which was something very different than what we were used to. It was apparent that the restaurant and shop owners took pride in their food/work, and getting to see them in their everyday lives was amazing. A specific place we went that impressed us was the pharmacy; they made herbs for people to take home and make tea with. This alternative medicine from a different culture is not something we really see in Nashville, and it really opened my eyes to other perspectives and ways of living.
Our group loved visiting Chinatown. It was different from any other community I had seen before, and walking around was an amazing experience with our group. I know we would all love to go back and spend more time going to the shops and trying the food!