As I was riding the number 751 bus today, I couldn’t help but reflect about the first time I rode this bus. This bus goes directly from Siming campus to Xiang’an campus of Xiamen University.
I remember entering the small, crowded bus dragging along my big suitcase. I was completely unaware of where I was going or which stop I should get off at. I felt a bit nervous, yet excited, to see what the road ahead had in store for me. It was an hour and a half long bus ride. During that time I watched the scenery change from the city, to the beach, to rice fields, villages, then finally, the very last stop, Xiang’an campus. This road definitely had its bumps along the way, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Along with these bumps came friendship, adventure, knowledge, and life lessons to be learned.
Today I was riding this bus with two of my friends, one from Germany and one from Poland, to Wanda (a shopping mall) to do some Christmas shopping. This is my first Christmas away from home, and the same goes for my German friend. During the ride we talked about what we usually did for Christmas Eve at our homes and what we missed the most about it (since China does not recognize Christmas as a holiday). It’s moments like these that make you appreciate your home even more, as well as appreciate this friend you can share your thoughts with.
I’ve had many meaningful conversations on this long bus ride. Whether it was with a friend or a complete stranger that I never saw again, they were all conversations I’ll never forget. One thing I’ve learned for sure is that it doesn’t matter where in the world you are from, people are people, and you can connect with them on so many levels. Even if for a brief time, it’s a great feeling to know you were able to connect with someone.
No matter where you go in China, it’s always going to be an adventure; even if it’s just a trip to the mall. The mall is a good place to practice your Chinese and it’s also fun to see what type of things the stores sell. For example, the Starbucks here has green tea and red bean cheesecake; it also has matcha frappuccinos. There is also a store in the mall known as Miniso. It’s a very cheap store that sells beauty products, winter clothing, and very random things, like a mini flowerpot where you can grow your own flowers in chocolate soil. However the curse of the Miniso is whenever you walk into that store you always end up buying something, always. Not surprisingly, we bought most of our Christmas gifts at Miniso. After crossing off the items on our Christmas lists, we headed back to campus on the 751, where we continued our conversations about culture, relationships, family, politics, etc. It’s conversations like these that make your study abroad experience so much more meaningful and memorable.
This semester, I’ve gotten off this bus numerous times to arrive on Xiang’an campus. This may be the final stop of the bus, but it’s definitely not my final destination. Since the semester is coming to an end, and winter vacation is approaching, I’m planning to do a bit of traveling to places like Hong Kong, Heinan, and Xian. I have no idea what the road ahead will be like, but I’m eager to continue traveling in order to experience and learn new things about life.
Talk to you all next year! Enjoy your winter vacations!