There are fourteen hours before I get on the plane to China. My suitcase is almost packed and I feel like I have packed both too much and too little, but at this point I don't think I'll remember anything I might be forgetting. I'm exctited to improve my language skills and learn more about Chinese culture. I've been to China once before, a little over three weeks ago, for a little more than two weeks. We visited Beijing, GuiLin, YangShou and Shanghai, but it was mostly tourist activities. This is my second year in college and I have also never lived in a dorm before, so I have two new expierences coming my way.
I am starting to notice the things I'm going to miss: plans with friends, family gatherings, concerts, pizza, home-cooked meals, having my own room, etc. Not to mention all of my friends and family back home. It's hard to think that I won't be around to participate in the things I usually do, but I keep reminding myself that I'll be busy with plenty of other activities and new expierences.
It's almost time for my last round of goodbyes. Tonight, I'll see two of my closest friends for the last time and tomorrow morning I'll have breakfast with my family and say goodbye to my mom and little sister before my dad drops me off at the airport. It's the first time I'll be away this long and although I'm nervous, I am also very excited.
There are fourteen hours before I arrive in China. I remember not being able to sleep my first time here, but I'm much more tired this morning so I hope that won't be the case. I had forgotten how large international airplanes are. I have a window seat and next to me is a man sleeping and next to him is a woman that has been knitting since the moment she landed. I've never seen anyone knit on a plane before, but I suppose its just the first of many new things I'll see on this journey. Last time I came through the Beijing International Airport I was with a group of students from my high school district and two Chinese teachers. This time, I am alone so I'm trying to remember what it looks like.
I can picture the large hall filled with people and the little border control "stands". Hundreds weave in and out among the roped off lines. I don't remember much about the process, except that after it was over there was a line of face buttons ranging from smiling to frowning. My teacher told me that we're supposed to rate the service by hitting one of the faces.
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<p>My name is Kelly Cunningham and I am a Chinese Studies and English major at DePaul University. I love everything about languages-reading them, writing with them, speaking them, etc. I'm studying abroad to improve my Chinese and learn more about the culture.</p>