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The dazzling bright sky and the embracing summer breeze greeted us as we left the airport. For a moment, we stood there taking in the sweet smell of fresh-cut grass and the chatter of excitement we left behind.
It had only been two years since the last time I set foot here, yet China seemed all but familiar. The bumpy dirt roads have become smooth pavement and large buildings occupied the vacant lots. In my memories, the many trees of China surrounded every corner of the street and cars were scarcely seen. As the car neared our destination, I was oddly comforted by the more familiar surroundings. It was definitely going to be a great month. Or so I thought
We made it to morning after a long restless night with a few extra itchy bumps and sweaty shirts. Fuzhou was so humid, it became next to impossible to go on long distance trips. It had been a week upon arrival and already my mom and I had pretty gruesome sunburns. My sister, however, only seemed to tan a nice golden brown color. Regardless of the threats the fiery sun made to peel our skin away, we still went out daily.
Out of all of the places I have been to, the most memorable was climbing Drum Mountain (GuShan). When we got off the bus to Gushan, all we were able to see was a towering mountain of trees covering the whole space before us. It was only morning and the temperature was relatively low for Fuzhou, yet the climb up the mountain was excruciatingly painful. Every few hundred meters, we would take a short break trying to steady our breaths and wipe the dripping sweat from our foreheads.
Like the eyes of a kingfisher, scanning the lands below for fishes, my eyes hungered for the beautiful scenery we were told about. Looking downward from one edge of the paths, the thin fog seemed to cover everything, creating a mysterious allure which would, for sure, capture the mind and soul of any passerby. As the sun finally awakened and crept out from behind the clouds, the small water droplets in the fog below shimmered, glowing as the bright rays of light hit them. Satisfied with the beautiful spectacle that I had overseen, I charged forward.
Though we made it to the top of the mountain, the gates to the inner temples were blocked off. Nevertheless, we had accomplished our mission. It was said that GuShan use to be a dwelling for monks and it was famous for the gigantic pot that they ate from. But with weariness covering our curiosity, we resolved to head back. Walking downward is just like that of life; it takes what seems like an eternity to reach ones goal, yet it only takes seconds to land back to where one began.
The month spent in Fuzhou flew by quicker than that of a speeding bullet. Nevertheless, to me, it was much more than just the escape to paradise I had longed for; it served as an entrance a different universe. Through the agony written over the faces of the many vagrants that fill the street of China, I learned to be grateful; of my home, loving family and the freedom I grew up with. All this, was once there for that same person, whom others ignore and is now without a place to call home. Yet those who are well off take for granted the things that these vagrants have dreamt of; a dream that they can no longer see.