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Bearcats on the Road

The Last of China

Posted by Theresa Thimons on Mon, Jun 27, 2016 @ 12:00 PM

My time in China is coming to a close, and I just got kind of good at figuring out the subway system. It’s sad to know I’ll be leaving in the morning, but I am excited to arrive in Taiwan and begin the next segment of this trip!

Since you’ve last heard from me, I visited the Great Wall of China and the Pearl Market, as well as spent two more afternoons with the orphans at New Hope. The Great Wall was incredible - I was not prepared for the beauty that I saw. Similar to the Grand Canyon or Niagara Falls, no photograph can do it justice. Initially when we arrived at the Great Wall, we were amused by a sign that read, “do not appreciate the scenery while walking.” A few minutes into our hike, however, we understood. (And yes, hike is the appropriate word to describe walking the Great Wall.) It was a difficult hike, but it was breathtaking. I honestly think that it's worth a trip to China to visit the Great Wall alone. 


This past morning, I went to the Pearl Market to barter with vendors and buy souvenirs for my family. I don’t have much experience with bartering, but I soon found that I loved it! When I saw something I liked, I would ask the vendor, “how much?” and they would take their calculator and punch in a number. They would then hand me the calculator and I would make a counter offer, usually about 10% of their original price. Of course they would always say no, and sometimes they would even laugh at me, but if I was stubborn enough and would only raise my offer slightly, I could get a good deal. The trick was  walking away at some point. These vendors are hungry for business, so they will chase you down and lower their price. That is not the point at which you stop; that is when you make another counter offer and, with some stubbornness, get the vendor to agree. Needless to say, bartering gave me quite the adrenaline rush and I loved the experience!
Of course, I have to talk about my last days at the orphanage. I spent a lot of time with my favorite buddy in a wheelchair (mentioned in my last blog post). When I walked in on my last day, his face lit up. I walked over to him and he took my hand in both of his and kissed it. My heart sinks when I think about how I will likely never see him again, but I will forever be grateful for the joy he gave me and that he allowed me to show him love. Someday a family will be very lucky when they adopt him.
Although it’s hard to leave this place, I am excited to go to Taiwan in the morning! I can’t wait to see what adventures will come with being in Taiwan. I’m ready to go, but I know that there is one thing I’ll be leaving behind; a piece of my heart will always be with the boy from New Hope orphanage. 

Topics: China, Hope Foster Home, service learning, Great Wall of China, Theresa Thimons, Pearl Market, Beijing

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In Bearcats on the Road, students chronicle their lives while studying abroad or completing internships away from campus.

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