Final reflection from Beijing- Last day

By Cathy H - 3:59 AM

Today's the last full day of my stay in China. The current time is 12:05 am, just packed away all my luggage. Been looking at one of the toys I bought from the streetside, 10 yen~ thinking about the situation here. Just like this squishy toy's tough design and imperfectly painted face, much of China is still below the poverty line. This toy's face reminds me of all the misfortune I've seen along the way- from blind & scarred face beggars on the subway, to the ones selling souvenirs that don't make profit, to the ones that are forgotten under this country's insurance and medical care system. I don't know why I keep pitying people along the way, just everywhere when I meet someone's eyes I can tell they're unhappy with their lives, and that is heartbreaking to me. Heartbreaking they are giving up an eduacation to stand by the street side selling ice cream, old people that depend on recycled bottles for a living. I came across one guy's story that really shifted my paradigm. He had muscle paralysis at 3 months old, with his parent's neighbours and friends convincing them to give him up. But they didn't despite him being forever a vegetable. He eventually learned to walk, and now travels in Beijing to sing for change that will treat that medical condition. I thought to myself, how do people like that find the will to live. Facing the possiblity of death everyday, living in poverty- the kind that can't gurantee 3 meals a day, and steal being able to stand in front of a crowd of people everyday singing? Why is it some people have such a hard life? I told myself, if he can suffer like that and still not give up there is not a thing in this world that I can't do. I sometimes thought I wasn't good enough, rich enough, smart enough. But in fact, comparing my life back in Canada to him it is probably like heaven. Made me feel ashamed that I previously felt like my situation wasn't good enough. Look at him, what does he have~ nothing but a crippled life and body to hold onto. People like him, I just want to give them a hug and tell them everything will be ok. He is truly the definition of brave, a role model. Some have it even worse...I just want to do something for them. I don't want to live in an unbalanced country like this, where people are left without care to depend on themselves even when in need. When the rich can virtually do anything and go anywhere with their money, while the poor's yearly salary can't even reach a rich person's one time meal. I can't take that unequality, because beneath everybody's appearance and financial background we are really all the same. It is mind boggling to me how some people have managed to live in such poor conditions. Why is the difference between people here so big. Yes, there is much to do here but it is so uncomfortable passing by these people everyday and carrying on a good mood with my tour group. 
Aside from that, I just really loved this trip. I came here thinking I wouldn't even be able to find an airplane gate by myself. From that, to eventually waiting for delayed flight after delayed flight, riding the train by myself, finding restaurants myself, being in a hotel for a week by myself, taxi-ing myself, and taking care of all my belongings. Most of all, the people I've gotten to know along the way and the numerous friends I've made are priceless. Young to old, all walks of life. It's just so strange thinking back to June 22, leaving Canada with a heavy heart and kind of homesick. To now having tons of contacts on my cellphone, and even meeting friends in a different city. So wierd that, just by myself I made all that happen. When so many things could've gone wrong or not my way. I am very thankful of all the adults that took care of me, of my uncle & aunt that showed me around, all the friends that worried for my safety and planned our time together. Despite the inequality and thirst for money evident in people everywhere, this country still feels like home to me. Though I'm already looked at as a foreigner, I love my country & the people here. I just can't put all that I've experienced into words, because these things are like life lessons and things I'll never be able to forget. All these nights of eating out, laughing, coming to my temporary home, transfering plane flights, riding the crowded Beijing subway, all the tourist spots I've been to. Feels so familar, like I've been living here forever. I feel sad to leave all this behind, the memories and atmosphere. The crowded night scene and the hustle and bustle of traffic. I'll miss it all. This time, I leave with a heavy heart full of nostalgia for many years to come. Thank you, China.

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