Today was our first travel day, and after our 12-hour flight, we finally arrived in Beijing! When we arrived, we were greeted by our host and driven to our hotel in a van. Along the way, we learned about the population and a brief history of Beijing. After arriving at our hotel, we were given around 20 minutes to put down our luggage and get changed if we wanted. Then, we went to dinner at a small restaurant that was right across the street from the hotel. The food was AMAZING. Then, some of us took a stroll down a large shopping street near our hotel. It had a large amount of stores, restaurants and much more! We walked along and just explored the view around us.
When I was a little girl, I would often play in my backyard and go down the slide over and over again. In my four- or five-year-old mind, this wasn’t just any slide, it was a magic slide that could transport me to any place in the world … even China! Now, some 14 years later, my magic slide has become an airplane, but the destination remains the same. This time, it will take closer to 15 hours than 15 seconds to travel to China. And this time, it’s real.
This past weekend, I was finally able to escape the city and get my first glimpse of “real China.” As beautiful as Shanghai is, I was a little bit sick of the constant noise and shoving and rude behaviors. I threw caution to the wind and decided to sign up for a weekend hiking trip to Ling’An, which is in Zhejiang Province, southwest of Shanghai.
After our work in Taiwan, our group said goodbye to our friends from Cardinal Tien Nursing College and Fu Jen University, and flew to China. After a free day filled with visiting the Forbidden City, climbing the Great Wall, and watching a Chinese acrobat show, we spent our days volunteering at the China Little Flower orphanage. This orphanage specializes in caring for handicapped children. Unfortunately, for privacy reasons, we were unable to take any pictures at the orphanage, but Kate Blakely shared her thoughts on our experience there: