As I got in the taxi tonight and drove away from the Home Inn in Beijing, I watched as my new friends waved goodbye.
Two weeks ago, these friends were complete strangers who sat awkwardly and quietly through our first dinners together. But as the days passed, these unfamiliar people, who like me had come to the China Care Home to volunteer, became good friends. Our dinner conversations became loud and entertaining. Whether it was a conversation about the ridiculous TV shows we watch or a funny, sarcastic remark from a volunteer, I was always amused. As I drove away tonight, I realized that within two weeks all these people had transformed from strangers to people I will remember forever and people who gave me memories I will always cherish.
In addition to making great new friends, I loved that for two weeks I didn’t have to worry about the ACT or getting into college or any other drama. The trip allowed me to live in the moment, leading to some hilarious memories. For example, the girls on the trip spontaneously decided to get our hair done. First, while getting our hair washed, Grace, Emily, and I practiced our Chinese by dissing each other to the hairstylist. Then they forgot to brush my hair before blow-drying it - basically my hair was a disaster. I also became more adventurous during this trip. For example, Grace and I decided to bravely eat scorpion for the first time while a group of Chinese onlookers took pictures of the crazy blonde Americans.
Although I had great times with everyone, what I cherished most was the China Care Home where I got to see firsthand the relationship the babies had with their nannies. The nannies treated the children as if they were their own--I was able to see the true love they have for the children. Although I will miss the babies I got to hold and play with very much, I know that they are in good hands.
North Shore Country Day School