I think that every trip changes at least a little piece of me. Sometimes I feel it is pretty obvious, sometimes it is more subtle. My first trip to Ireland made me realize how narrow-minded we can be before we've left our own home-country; my travel companion brought with her US postal stamps to mail cards home. She also wanted to jet to Paris for the day from there, like it was going from Massachusetts to New Hampshire. My first trip to Amsterdam made me more conscious of traffic, pedestrians, bikes, bikers without helmets and recycling...go figure.
Russia changed me in that it leveled the playing field in terms of the whole "us vs. them" mentality I had grown up with. Yes, they are different, they were different, they have different political structures, but my exposure to the locals left me almost relieved that they were a lot more like me than I imagined or expected.
How will China change me? What little piece of me needs to be adjusted, corrected, expanded, modified? What preconceived notions do I have that will be remedied? When I look back six months from now, how will my thinking have changed? I've been grappling with this over the weekend as my wait starts to dwindle and I start to think about actually being there as opposed to all that's done to get there.