The exchange trip to Xi'an was a literal vortex of emotions - I thought that for 13 days, I'd be left alone with 19 other familiar faces, in a foreign land where everything revolved around apparel knock-offs and obnoxious, tall asian people. On one hand, I wasn't completely sure that the trip would be of any benefit to me. On the other hand, the 'voice' in my head said to give it a shot; to embrace a new experience with open arms and I haven't looked back since.
Jumping at this opportunity opened my sights to many new occurrence that Singapore doesn't offer. How the majority of the 7th Graders I attended school with, took their education so seriously, how they're so respectful towards their teachers that drinking out of their water bottles while the teachers were conducting lessons were considered uncultured - it was a complete opposite of what i thought the stereotypical Chinese people behaved.
It took me by surprise, too, that a province of China could house such rich history dating back to a thousand years. Xi'an was home to so many natural resources and vast greenery that for the mere 2 weeks that I was there, we only managed to cover the museums and other historical monuments. My desk mate at school said that she hasn't experience most of what Xi'an has to offer even after 13 years.
The cityscape of Xi'an was so bewildering in a way that within a single picture, one may capture a scene of a historical monument starkly juxtaposed with sky-scraping buildings and a busy street filled with locals of all walks of life. When the day comes to an end, and the weather gets a little below 10 degrees, the streets just across our dorm would be lined with many road-side vendors, selling mainly handmade crafts and barbecue pork on a stick. Such vibrance despite the cold, moody weather.
I could really get accustomed to the perpetual cold weather and having to layer knits and turtlenecks under a wooly pullover but the my dorm mates and I fell ill by the end of the first week. We survive on 6 whole packets of tissue paper and a daily dose of cough syrup. Besides the frequent snorts and the mess, it's safe to say that friendship were forged amongst the 19 other 'familiar faces', and I have grown a lot closer to my room mates (or what we would call '604').
See you again China, it was great while it lasted.