Global Education

Curtain call in China; the final entry

By Michelle Chan
Published: June 2010

For days, I have been thinking about what I should say in my last article about the Newton and Jing Shan high school exchange program.

While I only have less than a month left living with my host family, attending a school in Beijing, and ultimately spending time with the people I have met here, I can only say that I will be terribly heartbroken when I leave.

Not only have I added people to my family and made long-lasting friends, but I also learned so much by being in an entirely new atmosphere.

I have experienced something that no one else will ever be able to imitate.

I have spent hours at rehearsal after school and on the weekends practicing for the 50th anniversary of the Jing Shan High School performance.

I will perform on stage at one of the most well-known theatres in Beijing four times; once in front of students and parents, and the three other times for the “invitation only spectators.

As the high school is the number one high school in Beijing, there have been rumors around school that not only will there be “big cheeses there watching, but as will the family of the president, and perhaps the president himself as well.

At the beginning I thought I would dislike rehearsals and find it to be nearly torture to have to perform in something that I didn’t choose to be in.

But while my acting, dancing, and speaking skills have improve I have realized that having an after school activity with other students is the best way to find people who I might not have ever met without participating in the dance.

While all host families have their own unique vibe and routines. I would have to say that mine is the best, just because I like to brag about my incredible family.

Rose, my host sister, is extremely smart, nice, caring, mature for her age, and is “normal compared to the rest of the ninth graders I have met.

Mama Liu, my host mother, is the one in charge of the entire family; she is not afraid of eating, and is the most giving person I have met.

Baba Liu, my host father, who currently lives in a different apartment that is closer to his work place, takes over Mama Liu’s place when she goes on business, which has happened quite a few times so far.

He likes Michael Jackson and always asks me to sing one of his songs when he sees me.

And even though I have met some aunts and uncles and cousins and a grandmother, I have not been able to befriend all of them during my stay here.

My youngest host uncle drives Rose and me to school every day, and will drive the family whenever they need because neither parent knows how to drive.

His wife, also my host aunt, is very good at cooking and likes to probe me with of questions about America.

Anyways, my main point is that even though at times I did have trouble with language boundaries or figuring out how I was supposed to get home, I had an incredible experience being in Beijing.

When I thought that I would miss out on senior slump and would get stuck being in school then going straight home with Rose, I was completely wrong.

Even though seniors this year came up with a lot more activities to do during second semester, I don’t think I missed anything worth throwing away my time in China.

Yes, there were a couple of things I missed, like food, some clothing, fresh air, yummy tap water¦

But I learned that even though I didn’t have those things, I could always find a way to ignore my American wants, and see the brighter side of life in China, which ended up being a lot better than what I was missing.

So now whenever I go away from my home in Newton, I will always know that no matter where I am I can make more friends and add to my growing family of people who love and care for me; even if I am just some random student who ended up living in their house.

Oh, and I wouldn’t want to forget the fact that China transformed me into a professional volleyball and basketball player, ballet dancer, performer, actress, speaker, and much more.

So if you ever have the chance to travel abroad and create a new life somewhere far, I would definitely recommend it.

Not only will you have the best experience in a life time, but you’ll also learn a lot more about yourself as a person. And that is definitely a stepping stone towards any goal you have in life.

It has been an amazing time sharing this experience with all of you in Newton, and I hope you enjoyed reading about it, even if at times it did not seem that exciting¦trust me, it ended up being more than I bargained for.

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