Last summer I had an awesome experience that I will never forget. It wasn’t just any other trip, I went to China! Our purpose in going was not like most vacations. I went with my parents to pick up my newly adopted sister. I am the oldest child and have three younger brothers. I had been waiting for a sister for a long time. I had the privilege to go and experience a part of the world where most teenagers, and even adults, don’t have the opportunity to explore.
We arrived in Beijing first after a 12 hour flight from San Francisco. When we got off the plane we stopped to use the restroom. To my astonishment, when I opened the door, all I saw was a hole in the floor. It was a squatter. That was a very interesting experience and that’s all I will mention of it. While staying in Beijing we saw many overwhelming sights. One of the places we visited what is known as “The Forbidden Palace”. This is where the emperor resided. While we walked through this palace it was so amazing to see the intricate work on the roofs of the buildings. There were fierce dragons and beasts that were painted with bright red, yellow and green colors. It was amazing to see the detail they put into each one. The whole palace occupies 170 acres. It is huge! I thought it would never end. That’s one thing I learned about China, everything is big-except for the people- and very intricate.
Another great monument that we had the privilege of seeing was The Great Wall of China. It was so amazing! It is over 4,000 miles long and 25 feet high. I have never seen anything so big and long, although, it was very startling. I always imagined that it was a wall but flat on the top to walk on. Boy was I ever wrong! The whole wall is steps. Some are a foot tall and some are only a few inches tall. This made it very hard to get up and required a lot of concentration. On the way up, I counted over 1,200 steps! My parents and I hiked up as far as they would let us due to the lightning.
Next we visited Nanning city, the province where we got my sister. We stayed for a week and it was the hardest week of the whole trip. My sister warmed up to us fast but she missed her foster family very much. She was 6 years old and wanted to be adopted but she had a hard time adjusting. Here in Nanning, we had the privilege to look at the Chinese culture closer. We went what they say is a park but is very different than a park that you’d find in the U.S. This park was all around a small lake and there were tables lining the shore on little brick sidewalks. People would play music, dance, play cards, or just hang out. There were tons of people and it was a really cool place to be. I think that it is a big gathering place for everyone because nobody has a house. Everyone lives in apartments because there are so many people living in China. The apartments looked like huge skyscrapers, just with laundry hanging on the balcony. So I imagine that people don’t like to hang around their apartments much if there is limited space. I became really grateful that we have so much room in America that we can have our own houses with backyards and a garage to keep our cars so that we don’t have to ride the bus or subway everywhere we go.
Next we went to Guangzhou where all the other adoptive families met. There were approximately 100 adoptive families in our hotel. That was really cool to see all of the kids being adopted. While we were there, all the children being adopted had to have a check up with a doctor to make sure they would be able to come home with us and it was also a part to finalize the adoption. It was very interesting to see the difference between the hospitals in the U.S. and the hospitals in China. China is strict on some things and not so much with others. When we flew into Beijing from San Francisco, we had to wait on the plane before getting off so that some nurses could check our temperature. If your temperature was too high then they quarantined you for a week. This was during the time when the swine flu was out and I think that had a lot to do with the strictness. After having this experience, I was surprised to find that the hospital wasn’t very strict or organized. It was kind of chaos and they weren’t very sterile when doing procedures. It made me really grateful for the awesome health care that we have in America and I want to be a part of it someday by becoming a Medical Technologist.
After a week in Guangzhou, the adoption was finalized. We were ready to be home but decided to make one more stop in Hong Kong. This last stop was scary because Hong Kong is almost like another country and so our guide couldn’t come with us. We were on our own. Our purpose in going to Hong Kong was to visit the LDS Temple. This was my favorite visit of the whole trip. It was a very humbling and powerful experience going into the temple. Although it was difficult getting there, it was very worth it.
After bringing my sister into a new country and totally different home, we try to keep her native culture in her life so she won’t forget. I’m very grateful that I was able to take this trip and gain the experience of learning about a new culture. I learned so much about their culture, I learned more about myself, and I learned to appreciate everything that I have, even small things such as having a backyard and a car to drive instead of riding a subway everywhere. I loved going to China and I am so glad I had the opportunity to do so. The only bad thing was that I had to empty my college savings so that I could go on this amazing trip. A scholarship would be great to help pay for college.
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