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Location: Beijing, China

Note before you read: this blog was written by a very tired15 year old.

Our day started at 7:00am for breakfast, which for 11 sleep-deprived teens is way too early. We ate breakfast and hastily left for the van that was awaiting us outside. We drove to the subway station and spent a healthy hour and a half traveling to the most renowned Tibetan monastery outside of Tibet. It was truly

A surreal experience. We spent 30 minutes lighting incense and praying while hundreds of other people did the same thing around us. When the incense were all gone, we decided to go look at all the other Buddhas they had on display. They had some small ones and some bigger ones but somehow we found our way to the biggest of them all. This Buddha held the World record for the biggest Buddha carved from a White Sandalwood tree. After a thoughtful debate, we decided it must have been 45-50 feet tall. When our time was up for sightseeing, we went and waited for the rest of the group in our set meeting place. After all the sightseeing, the group was really hungry, which a group of teenagers usually are at 11:30am. So while leisurely strolling down one of the side streets, looking for food, we found a noodle stand. This place was tiny. Like, literally a tiny stand on the street. The noodles they had looked really good so we decided to ask for seats. Note: we were 13 people asking for seating. Somehow, we managed to all squeeze into 2 tables. The noodles were cold, but surprisingly good. Spicy, but good. After lunch, we were allowed to go shop around the area for an hour in groups of 3. My group had 3 goals; to get coffee, prayer flags, and buy some really good incense. We found a place called Costa Coffee, and got ripped off by baristas. I spent more money than I did all week. 135 CNY for 3 people, if you must know. From there we went to buy some prayer flags. We went into a store and tried to barter them for the prayer flags but they had fixed prices and we ended just buying then for like 15 CNY each, so not that bad. Though we may have achieved the goals of finding coffee and flags, we didn’t find any incense that we liked. With 5 minutes to spare, we went back to meet the group. When we were all there, we went back to the Subway. For those of you who have not been on the Chinese metro, you’re missing out on a pretty cool experience. If you like to be pushed and prodded on a crowded hot train, the Chinese subway is for you. We had about an hour rest when we got home before we got right back at it with kung fu lessons. Yes, you heard me, kung fu lessons after all of that. I actually did learn a lot during the lesson, even if it was 110 degrees. I don’t think I have ever sweat more. For dinner, we all went to different group homes in 4s or 5s for dumpling making. We made pork and beef dumplings with the families at the homes. After that we came home and now here I am writing this blog while waiting for my turn to shower.

Ok. Long day. I am very tired.

But before I go, I have a question for you all; Do pigeons have feelings?

Ps. Sorry I cant call you mum but don’t worry, I am still alive.

Till whenever the next time I blog is,

Sophia