Honestly, I did not want to leave Hong Kong and I was a bit apprehensive to go to mainland China after the warnings and advice from my lab mates but now looking back I am so glad and appreciative that we had the opportunity to experience mainland China as well!
Our mainland travel portion of this experience was started off with a reunion of the entire group in Xiamen. It was really cool to be able to see where the other students had been working and living for the last 7 weeks! We, well the Hong Kong crew as Professor Duncan would put it, even got to see the other students present on their research which was pretty cool (not to mention the after-presentation delicious lunch buffet at a local upscale hotel)!
I really wish we had more time in Xiamen because our five days just flew by! We definitely got to see some really cool sites, such as Gulanyu and South Putuo Temple, but I think the real experience in Xiamen was not the sites but the interactions with its people and its culture. In those 5 days I learned more Mandarian than I had learned in 7 weeks in Hong Kong (well Cantonese). Now this is neither a pro or con but I just mean to say that it was different and I really wish I could have had more time to fully experience it. So before we knew it we were heading to our last destination in China, Beijing.
Beijing was amazing to say the least! I honestly am finding it hard to explain because we got to experience some of the most spectacular views and sites in the entire world in just a few days! We got to explore The Forbidden City, Beihai Park, Tiananmen Square, The Temple of Heaven and the GREAT WALL of China (!!!) just to name a few! The last week and a half of this experience was a marathon ran in 3 seconds! Not to say that I am not thankful for getting to see and experience everything that I did because I am, but I really wish we could have had more time because there was just so much to soak in!
Now I know that I just thanked everyone in my previous post but looking back and reflecting on my experience I cannot thank anyone enough. This truly was an experience of a lifetime and I am very appreciative that I was lucky enough to be chosen to partake in it. So thank you again everyone who made this international experience possible, thank you so very much!