Heaven on Earth

Lucy Swett
April 14, 2017

Is this paradise? After walking around the West Lake in Hangzhou, we went to one of the pagodas surrounding the lake around sunset. We climbed up to the fifth floor and could see all of the West Lake and the city of Hangzhou on the horizon. In Chinese, “上有天堂,下有蘇杭” (Shàng yǒu tiāntáng, xià yǒu sū hang) means there is heaven above and there is Suzhou and Hangzhou below, and from the top of the pagoda, I understood what the Chinese meant. I could have stayed up there forever in awe of the view.

Then, we went in search of a cave, which was hidden in a courtyard, through a hidden door, behind a blue construction wall, and then we arrived at the entrance. The place looked deserted because there were stores and restaurants, but no one was inside. We hesitantly walked into the cave, where it felt like the scene of a horror movie, but as we went deeper into the cave, we found a Buddhist shrine. It was such a surprise because it was so colorful and bright compared to the silent darkness of the cave. After we left the cave, I realized it would have been the perfect place to play a prank on someone.

With all the travelling we have done, I have had a lot of time to think on buses, planes or trains. Sometimes, when I look around at all the other people, I think about how I could be in their place. I could be that little kid growing up in a big city, taking the subway every day. One day, I could be the old woman whose daughter helps her get a seat on the bus. One time, I was trying to untangle my hair on the bus, and thought, I want to cut my hair to my shoulders, which would be cutting off a foot of hair. Then, I looked around and realized most younger people have long hair, and older people have short hair. Therefore, I think I’ll wait before I cut off a foot of hair. I think it’s funny how I can look at all the people around me and they can be my fashion models.

It made me think about the fact that most people can look at their parents and see what they will look like when they grow up, but I will never look like my parents, so I have no way of knowing what I will look like in 60 years, except by looking at the people around me in Shanghai.

Therefore, I better take a good look because T-24 days until I’m back in the USA! Next weekend, IES Abroad organized karaoke with some Chinese students, so they sent us some Chinese songs to look at beforehand. We will have to see if my singing in Chinese is better than my singing in English!

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Lucy Swett

<p>Hi all! My name is Lucy Swett, and I am a sophomore at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA. I am majoring in Computer Science and minoring in Chinese. I was adopted from Hubei China, when I was one year old, raised in the United States, and now I am excited to go back for the first time! I hope you join me in my adventure!</p>

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