A couple of posts ago, I hinted that I wanted to go back to China. Particularly, with the same arrangements I had last year. The deadline for applications feels like it’s coming sooner than it actually is, but I think that’s because of my indecisiveness to attend again. On one hand, I think it would be great to go back and see some of the teachers and volunteers, maybe even some of my fellow campers. Part of me feels like going back sort of makes the trip less special because I’ll always have the memories from last year, and I’d have to readjust again this year.
Nonetheless, if I do or don’t go, I’ll let you all know. For now, let’s take a look back at some tidbits from Beijing!
My flight to Beijing was on July 4th. How patriotic, eh? I had a layover in Seattle and from there, it was about a ten-hour trip to PEK. I want to say that I landed around 5:30pm, but I might be wrong. At the airport, I met some of the teachers, volunteers and a couple campers. We took a bus from the airport to our dorms in Shunyi. When we got there, I didn’t expect the campus to be so green, and I didn’t think that the air quality would be, well, breathable. But it was, and from there I knew that this trip would bring up the unexpected.
I roomed with two other girls, one from Germany and the other from Indonesia. They were both younger than me, actually a lot of people were younger than me. ( T o T ) Despite that, we bonded pretty well and shared lots of good laughs together! I wouldn’t have roomed with anyone else, my roommates were legit!
The campus itself felt big, but I think that’s because there were a lot of things to do there. There was, of course, a huge canteen where I lived when I wasn’t in my room or in class! On top of that, there was a full soccer field and even a fitness park with a rock climbing wall. I didn’t get a chance to climb the wall, though, because one of the directors (not sure if this was her title) advised against it. I guess she didn’t want any of us to get hurt, which I totally understand!
We didn’t get the chance to venture out on our own too much, you really had to go out of your way to be able to do that. So, most of the time, we just anticipated the trips the college had planned for us. Nonetheless, I was still able to see some of Beijing with a couple of friends I made at the camp. The teachers and volunteers didn’t make a big deal out of us going out, just as long as we were home before the gates closed. We did have room check every night, but towards the end of the camp, that whole thing sort of fell apart! haha! No one would be in their rooms, not even the teachers! Everyone would just be hanging out at the common living areas or playing cards in the hallway. It was a pretty lenient atmosphere despite the rules, to say the least. Besides, at the end of it all, even though I was grateful to see what I was able to see, I didn’t value that as much as I value the friendships I made.
It was really, really, really hard to say goodbye to some people on the last day. I actually took the earliest bus just to avoid tears! I exchanged goodbye messages instead, not knowing the next time we’d all meet again. Which, I surely hope we do because the people I met at this camp are AWESOME! That’s my one, real, genuine takeaway from it. Sure, I was able to brush up on my Mandarin, even teach a little bit of English, even American slang. But all those hours in the classroom wouldn’t have been worth it if I didn’t spend it with who I stumbled upon on this trip.
Until next time, Beijingers!
TL; DR? Beijing was dope. I want to go back. Y’all should go, too.