Prior to my trip to China, I hadn’t grasped the idea that I was actually going to walk the streets of Beijing, Xi’ an, and Shanghai. But the very second I stepped out of that airport I was bombarded with emotions I can hardly put words to. I met our tour guide whose name was Sean, his English was great and by his sense of humor I could tell we would be great friends. I came to Sean with questions all the time and never did he show one sign of annoyance with my frequent, random inquiries. The hotel room is powered by a card; without it nothing will turn on or work. The hotel was nice with beautiful elevators and plants, but the beds were hard as rock. It’s safe to say that jet lag kicked my butt; because I arrived to my room at 11:32 PM while in Atlanta it was only 11:32 AM. I fell right sleep!
Every morning breakfast was served at the hotels, the food was good and I enjoyed trying new dishes. As you may imagine rice was always there for breakfast, lunch, and dinner! So when the food was too bizarre for me I could always enjoy a big bowl of rice. One night we were served a Peking duck dinner, northern China’s most famous dish. During this feast we learned about the ritual preparation and all the side dishes that came with the specialty. I didn’t eat the duck, but perhaps I should have tried it. I believe it is safe to say I have mastered the use of chopsticks. Forks and knives were always offered, but I figured when in China do as the Chinese!
I loved the Temple of Heaven. I was particularly excited about this visit because I’d done plenty of research on it. My grandfather recommended that I research Chinese history before my trip so that the places would hold more significance. When our group arrived at the Temple of Heaven I found myself sharing information with my peers and feeling simply amazed.
The last day we went shopping! The thing about shopping in China is that you have to bargain shop…a lot. Vendors will try to rip you off, but in the end you get things for a really great price. Once I finished shopping I treated myself to a massage. After all that walking, I think my feet deserved it! The bus took a few of us over to a nearby body massage shop. The place was absolutely stunning. Waterfalls, chandeliers, music! We were actually fed grapes and drank tea while experiencing amazing massages. I was so comfortable I literally fell asleep! I think that was a great way to end my trip to China. Time for a 14 hour flight home!
When I arrived in Atlanta my eyes searched for my father. I hadn’t realized how much I’d missed my family until then. My siblings were under the impression I was returning the following day. I was so excited to surprise them. When I walked in my sisters and brothers attacked me with hugs. It may have been my imagination, but I could swear my little brother grew while I was away for nine days! I gave them their gifts and we talked for hours. As I got prepared for dinner and sat down to eat a nice American home cooked meal, I realized my mom made rice!
My eyes gloss over when thinking of this experience. To say China was amazing would be an understatement. It is my biggest blessing and my favorite memory.
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