Well outside of China, anything is possible as well! Long story short: my flight out of Miami was delayed five hours due to the horrible Miami afternoon storms. This caused the three of us traveling from Miami to miss our connecting flight in Chicago with the rest of the Beijing group. We had to reschedule our flight to China. Frustrating but doable. However, our rescheduled flight was also delayed due to weather. We made it to Beijing two days later than expected, but that’s okay now because I’M IN CHINA!!!!
We met Jason, our program director, at the hotel and he gave us a brief tour of Tiananmen Square. After, we went to the Lama Temple (not to be confused with a temple for llamas). The temple was the former residence of Emperor Yongzheng. It was the center of the Yellow Hat sect of Tibetan Buddhism from 1736-1795, and at its peak, it was home to 1,500 lamas. The Lama Temple is known for its 75.5 ft. Buddha carved from one piece of sandalwood. The picture below isn’t of the big Buddha, but of another within the temple. I’m not photographically skilled enough to fit that Buddha in one frame. And we also weren’t supposed to take photos…oops.
In addition to cultural sites, we also visit businesses that are either based in Beijing or have a Beijing office. One of these is PR Newswire. I had to introduce this to our travel group. According to their website, they are the “leading global provider of marketing and communications solutions that allow distributions of multimedia content to key audiences across traditional, digital, social and mobile channels, anywhere in the world.” We learned how they adapt to restrictions and censorship in China (Google was banned about two weeks ago), as well as the types of clients they have. It was a really interesting meeting, and I’m sorry I can’t fully explain what occurred as most of it was based off a PowerPoint, but it was really fascinating to learn how they operate in Beijing.
It has been incredible so far. I feel as though I’m in a dream; it hasn’t hit me yet that I’m in Beijing for the summer. After touring a few big sites and meeting with various businesses, I think it’ll all become real when I start teaching classes tomorrow. I’ve met my lead teacher, Ashley, and my co-volunteer (we’re technically called volunteers because we’re still undergraduates), Bertie. She’s from the U.S. and he’s from England. We’re a diverse group and he’s a foot taller than me so this will be fun! Our students are all studying either a branch of engineering or law. We’re thinking it’s a class full of boys based on the majors, but we’ll see tomorrow! I get to be a teacher!