Location: Baotou

Our day was started like a lot do in China… on an overnight train. This time, however, was a little different, as our alarm clock was a train lady yelling at us to wake up and give her our tickets. You know, the usual. We arrived in Baotou ridiculously early: 5:30 in the MORNING. At least we were greeted with the amazing and now homey Baotou breeze as soon as we stepped off of the train! Ten minutes later, we were back in the Tan Van, the majority of the group exhausted and not feeling that hot, a couple of us lively and ready for another day. At the hotel, we swapped roommates based on sick levels so that the 3 of us who felt great wouldn’t catch anything (and could sleep without being woken up every 5 seconds by coughing). We were given a lot of time to rest and nap, but for those of us who were up for it, breakfast was at 8. We split in half, some to Queen Image, the bakery with the best caramel bread, and Hallie, LongYun, Evan, and I headed for some wonton soup and Chinese hamburgers from a local hole-in-the-wall. [BTW, a Chinese hamburger is a delicious biscuit-like bread and pork sandwich] Surprise, after that was a quick Tell Me stop for some snacks/drinks because we can’t go a day without our beloved teas and White Rabbits. We had another nap time, or talk time for some people, before a Chinese lunch courtesy of the orphanage and health checks with the staff. Most people did not go to service today due to fatigue/illness so they could rest, so Olivia, Ryan, and I went alone. It was oddly quiet, but we did have a good time soaking in our last hours with the kids… they’ve really captured our hearts, and we’re gonna miss them so much.

We had a forum to reflect on the trip, followed by dinner at our favorite noodle place where, OMG, I ordered. Wait, WHAT?! You don’t speak Mandarin! Well, thanks to the help of Chloe, Ryan, and LongYun, I ordered our noodles, and even more surprisingly, everything came out right. Stuffed with noodles, we went back to the hotel to call home and check in with our friends as it’d been 5 days. While sitting in our room, Hallie and I heard some guy scream-singing in Mandarin right under our window, making us laugh like crazy people. THAT capped off a one of a kind day in my personal favorite, Baotou.