Seven weeks flew by so quickly and it feels like I arrived at Beijing International Airport just yesterday. The last weekend led my friends and I feeling bittersweet, but we made the most out of it. We had already gone to a lot of places, so we decided to fill our weekend activities with things we haven’t done yet like visiting the Temple of Heaven, Wangfujing Snack Street, Old Summer Palace, and the Capitol Museum.
My friend, JJ, had one last mission in Beijing and that was to eat a scorpion, so we took the trek to Wangfujing Snack Street and was pleasantly surprised to find squirming scorpions lined up on a stick. I could barely look at it without cringing inside, so I was so amazed when Emma bravely got a stick of scorpions, took out its tail, and grabbed a pair of chopsticks. Her last words were, “When in China, do what the Chinese do.” JJ followed after Emma, but as he was about to eat the scorpions, a bunch of Chinese people crowded around him in awe and took pictures. It wasn’t the first time JJ had a bunch of people take pictures of him, but it was an interesting sight to see a crowd cheering him on as he was fulfilling his last mission.
I had not visited the Old Summer Palace, so on Sunday, I decided to go around 6 p.m. My other classmates told me that it was just a big park and was not worth going to, so I had very little expectations. However, when I arrived and saw the willow trees dip down into a reflective lake with giant Water Lilies crowding its surface, I was in awe of the beauty around me. The best part was the sunset, and for the first time in Beijing, I forgot that there was air pollution and just watched the splashes of orange paint the sky over the lake.
I definitely think this last weekend summed up my experiences in China so well. I had the opportunity to do (and watch) crazy things, explore the most known and unknown places in Beijing, and find beauty in the most unexpected places. It is a bittersweet feeling knowing that I only have a couple of days left; I am ready to return home and to Notre Dame but I also wish I had one more weekend in China to learn and explore.