While visiting Beijing, my team and I had the opportunity to travel to a few historical sites around the city. I LOVED my middle school world history classes, so witnessing my textbook come to life before my very eyes completely blew me away.
We had about an hour to explore Tienanmen Square, and my friends and I enjoyed taking photos of all the monuments. However, our funniest memory during this portion of our trip is not visible in the photos we possess, but it was captured by random strangers! We were approached by men, women, and children of all ages who simply wanted a picture with us- “the Americans.” I quickly learned how to pose for selfie after selfie and hold up my best peace sign for all of the cameras and cellphones. I had a blast meeting people from this beautiful country and forming special connections through merely taking smiling selfies and posing with cheerful kids and families. The action was so simple, yet the willingness to share a smile with a stranger brightened everyone’s day. How cool is that?!
I checked off another item on my bucket list on this particular day: I saw the Forbidden City! We didn’t have time to go inside the walled compound, but I was thrilled to just be near the entrance. I can still remember being so fascinated with China’s ancient history as a child, so I was stoked to have the opportunity to stand where the photos in my textbooks were taken so many years ago.
Beijing, China, is such a beautiful place! I’ve learned so many life lessons from the five days I lived in this city. Who knew that simply taking a selfie with a new friend could bridge the differences between various languages and cultures?
I didn’t know then, but I certainly do now!