Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The End of One Trip

It’s the end of one trip, the beginning of another.

Today was a little nerve-racking to say the least. I woke only to find that the three presentations I had to give today were not working.  After getting that fixed, I presented about the Sichuan earthquake, the Miao minority group on Hainan Island and China’s agricultural policy.  I said my goodbyes and headed to the airport! I don’t know how I could get through this without my Papa. He has felt so close these past few days, calming my nerves and giving me peace.

I absolutely loved my time in Beijing. It was honestly starting to feel like home and felt kind of abrupt to leave so quickly. I cannot imagine a better study abroad experience.  I know I won’t look back and remember my time in the classroom, but I think I learned some valuable things about China’s history, culture, and agriculture that will shape my view of the country. 

I’m going to miss the OSU students I spent every waking moment with more than I would have imagined.  Just walking into Jess, Ashe, and Amanda’s room today made me cry…I started calling them my sisters from week one.  I loved getting to know my roomie Juan and working out some of our cultural differences.  Being in a group that size, for that long, will always have some conflict, but I think we worked out quite well and learned a lot about ourselves.

There are so many people I wish I could have had long conversations with.  I have grown to love them and see such hope and direction that can be brought to them. I hope it is not the end of all of our relationships.  I was blessed by a few of the girls writing me notes and assuring me that even when there are not words said, I can live by an example and cause others to wonder.

I’m really going to miss my China mama, Dongfang. She was an amazing friend to us.  She was so open and inviting. I felt like she really let us in on her life. She could joke with us and we just knew that she truly cared for us.

I’m also so sad to leave all my new Chinese friends.  It inspires me to find some study abroad students at OSU next year and make friends!  Andy was so kind to take me to the airport and hang out with me before I left. I had promised much earlier in the trip to give him his first try at Starbucks and we had our chance right before I went through security. It was pretty sad to give him that last hug. I think he’ll make it to the States sometime!

I may need some more reflection time to examine all that I’ve learned about myself this trip.  My goal was to come completely open to change. The trip was not what I pictured; I thought I would have more alone time than ever in my life and have a lot of time to pr.y and press into the character of my Friend. Instead every day was jam-packed. It helped me to learn to be patient and take peace at every quiet moment I got.  

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