In the summer of 2010, my dad had signed me up for a Root searching trip to China. He said that this was for me to “learn about my origins and ancestors.” To tell you the truth, I found this pretty ridiculous at first: I’m an American, so my ‘roots’ so to speak, are in the United States. However, before long, I was packing my bags for an origin seeking trip to the heart of China: Beijing. At first, I was apprehensive and nervous since I didn’t know anyone going on this 3 week trip.
Soon after arriving in Beijing, I was dropped off at the resort, where I was supposed to stay for the next 3 weeks. Being as cautious as I was then, I double locked the door and even put the chain on the door.
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There was a rugged pull at the door after a few hours and I knew that my roommates had arrived. However, I didn’t know that I would become such good friends with this group of strangers that to this day, we still talk.
As a massive group, we toured through all of Beijing, including the Forbidden Palace, the Great Wall, and various other parks. Later on, our group even visited a foster home for children. The weather in Beijing was absolutely horrible, with its humid, 100+ degree weather. However, our group was still positive in every way and this optimism rubbed off on all of us. For example, we ate popsicles to combat the weather. I met people from all over the world, some from Switzerland, and others from Venezuela. There definitely was a language barrier between all of us. My friends from Switzerland spoke a variety of languages, including French, German, and Swiss-German. The 2 girls from Venezuela only spoke Spanish. We all tried to speak in our broken Chinese, because that’s what we had come here for, to learn about our Chinese roots. Although our communication wasn’t perfect, we had fun nonetheless. No matter where we lived, I realized that we all were Chinese. But more than that, we were all part of the human race. Sure we had different customs and traditions, but when it comes to the roots, we were all the same.
I had come into this trip thinking that I should just get it over with, since my dad signed me up anyway. I had thought that I would be the loner who didn’t know anyone at all. However, my pessimism quickly gave way to the cheerful attitudes of my new friends. I had not come expecting to meet lifelong friends, but I’m glad I did. Leaving though, I realized that friends can be from any corner of the world. Even now, in 2012, I still talk regularly to my friends on Skype, since they do live around the world. Sometimes we send mail to each other, other times, we just talk about life. Despite our languages barriers and being thousands of miles away from one another, we still have something in common: we are all human beings living on the planet trying to forge our own paths in life. I made friends on this trip that I wouldn’t have made if I had chosen to stay in my home in California. This has taught me that I need to be more adventurous and better-rounded. To this day, I thank my dad for have given me the opportunity to meet new friends from around the world. Through this trip, I had gained more knowledge that further develops who I am as a person today.
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