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Trip in Beijing

21 Oct

“Taylor is the love of my life,” I overheard one of the boys whispering to his friends at a restaurant on my most recent trip around Beijing. Giggles and stares ensued. “Trey loves you, Taylor!” One of the giggling cohorts shouted at me. My admirer was a good-looking boy, blond hair, blue eyes. Too bad he was eleven.

I always iron my shirts before trips, and I like to wear a little mascara, but I didn’t know I was looking that good. What can I say, these sixth graders loved me, which was probably not at all related to my appearance, but more so to the fact that I handled snack distribution. “Taylor, Taylor, can we have more Oreos? Thanks! You’re my best friend.”

The teachers liked me too. One teacher, James, a very smart, fifty-something year-old man with incredibly fluent Chinese and a long grey beard, made more than a few inappropriate comments towards me.

I liked him anyway. He recommended various iPhone Chinese dictionary applications and some good Chinese reading material. On the first day he overheard me asking one of the Chinese tour guides to speak to the hotel desk clerk for me in Chinese. “It’ll be faster that way,” I’d said.

“Taylor,” James said to me, “Jump into the fray. Don’t be afraid. Just jump in!”

The teachers and kids wore bright red zip up hoodies that with the name of their school on the front and back. The teachers gave me and the two tour guides their sweatshirts at the end of the trip. “We get new ones every year,” they explained. “You guys should have them as souvenirs to remember us!”

Though my trip around Beijing had no “Edwards,” from Shandong Province, and therefore no hilarious cultural miscommunications, there were almost no problems either. (I consider this trip a reimbursement from the last one). Activities ran smoothly, teachers were responsible, and our dining opportunities were excellent. We ate at some coveted elite Western restaurants, Pizza Hut and TGI Fridays. (It was luxury all the way). I was actually sad when we dropped the kids off at the airport this afternoon.

So, I’m currently curled up in my new sweatshirt, stuffed with Pizza hut and Oreos, and without any witty or hilarious trip stories for my blog. But even though very little went wrong, I regained some confidence that was lost during my last trip, and have made forty three eleven-year-old friends from Hong Kong.

I received a thank you card from the teachers with notes from each student. Like I predicted, they were mostly related to snacks. Here are examples:

Thanks for the snacks and other thingymajiggies. Also for the grape fruit gum, that was cool. Thanks! I gots guummm! ☺

Thanks for the Oreos and organizing everything! WildChina is going bankrupt! (U no Ha)

Sup Taylor! We had so much fun!!! You’re my best friend!!! *wink* Thanks X100000000000000 (until infinity + google plex)

What talented young writers they are.

As the teachers and students were checking their passports and walking through the airport security to their gate, James came over, hugged me and shook my hand. “Jump into the fray, Taylor.”

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