Location: Beijing, China

Hello everyone! Today was our third official day in Beijing, China. Our morning routine was typical: wake at 0700, shower and get ready for the day ahead, breakfast at 0800, and arriving at the orphanage at 0845. We spent the next 3 hours caring for and entertaining the children as per usual. They can be a handful sometimes, but the happiness of being important to the kids is a wonderful feeling and definitely worth the effort. We returned just before noon, where we were greeted by a great meal of homemade spaghetti with vegetarian sauce, garlic bread, and lotus fruit along with some leftovers. After watching some short documentaries about Chinese traditions (building styles, New Year’s and weddings), we attended an art and calligraphy class run by Yao Art Studio. We tried our hand at traditional calligraphy and artistic brushwork, topped off by a tea ceremony featuring Chinese white tea and complimentary sweets, such as mini pineapple cakes, traditional mooncakes (flaky pastry filled with red bean paste and salted egg yolk), and various other small snacks. After our return to the apartment, we watched Kung Fu Panda 2, a comedic animated movie by Pixar Studios. The rest of the evening was spent eating dinner (white rice, cooked bamboo shoots, rice noodles with cucumber and sweet & sour meatballs) and relaxing in the living room.

I’m looking forward to our trip tomorrow, which includes stops at Huang Fu Jing Exotic Food Street, Tiananmen Square, and The Forbidden City, and I’m sure my fellow students are as well. After all, our favorite place to be is outside our comfort zone.