Location: Beijing

The students woke up bright and early today to get up for our 8:00 drive to the Forbidden City. Our passage through security was quick for China, and we made great time to the entrance of the Forbidden City. Earlier in our trip, we had unfortunately not been able to enter because of a newly introduced maximum on entrants. However, this time we arrived much earlier in the morning, to see this great hot-spot of Chinese culture. The Forbidden City is a famous location where the emperor of China could live and that no other man could be in after nightfall. There were many overtly grand names for some of the halls, and there were somewhat detailed paragraphs in English giving information. The city was quite large and had many a photo opportunity. It was very busy, and there were plenty of other tourists seeing the city for the first time. We had one specific encounter in which a German woman who spoke fluent English helped us take a group photo. After our encounter with the Forbidden City, we had lunch and then proceeded to go to another art lesson to improve our proficiency in the ancient skills of calligraphy and Chinese painting. The lesson went smoothly, and there was a clear change in skill level from the first time we had had a lesson. After the art lesson we had around three hours until dinner; therefore it was decided that we would go to the baby home for some extra service. The students are much more relaxed and happy with taking care of the babies and toddlers from when they first arrived, and now some of the toddlers will remember the students who had played with them. The faint depressing air that eventually we will have to say goodbye to the baby home has saddened the students, but it has not affected their dedication to the service.

Moreover, it seems to have intensified it. We had a special dinner tonight in which we went for hotpot at a nearby restaurant. The students had all been excited about this event, and it was undoubtedly worth the wait. Everyone enjoyed the meal thoroughly and was happy to go to sleep to enjoy another day tomorrow outside of its comfort zone.