Our last day in China was one of our best. We biked through amazing landscape, visited a bunch of cute primary school kids, bargained for last-minute gifts, blew out the candles on Weifang’s 70th birthday cake, and celebrated each other’s positive contributions at a fun and heart-warming closing ceremony.
At this morning’s meeting, we tore two pages out of our journals. On one, we wrote a regret we have from the trip (a sharp word, an insensitive joke, a missed opportunity); then we tore the page up to leave our regrets behind in China. On the other, we noted a time we felt we were completely in China. Here is a sampling:
I really felt like I was in China when…
- We went to the mosque and I was just looking around by myself. It was really nice exploring without interruption.
- After dinner during my first night at Yali, my buddy, her younger brother and I went to the store. Whenever I’ve been walking with our grade we get stared at and cameras are instantly pointed at us, but walking through the streets with just my buddy was a nice way to feel less like a tourist and more a part of it.
- I realized I was seeing one of the most beautiful landscapes in the world that I would never see in Connecticut (a karst landscape).
- We were bargaining in Xi’an because the shopping was so different. There were a billion stores and the vendors were more persistent than the vendors in the United States.
- When we were on the bike ride in Xi’an, three ladies, not speaking English, helped us figure out how to ride a tandem bike.
- When I was with my host parents who didn’t speak English and the translating app broke.
- When everything in the whole restaurant was duck.
- When we were walking around the lake and Chinese music was playing.
- When I joined a group of people doing taiji.
- When I was eating in Changsha and they brought out a whole chicken in broth, from eyes to feet, everything was there.
- On our first morning in Beijing when I saw grandparents lifting their grandchildren onto scooters to driving them to school.
Tomorrow: An early wake up call and a long journey home.