December 1, 2016
Max, Y11, Century Park Campus
For the majority of my life I have lived in Shanghai, immersed in the bustling day-to-day activities of city life. Therefore, when my year level travelled to rural Xi Lian for our EOTC [Education Outside the Classroom] trip this year, I expected a huge contrast to Shanghai and what I was accustomed to, and I was certainly correct.
Xi Lian is a small town in the countryside of China. Being so small and isolated, Xi Lian doesn’t get many tourists. This was made evident when we first arrived. I was immediately greeted by scores of the townsfolk, all smiling and excited at the prospect of meeting a new person. The children were incredibly hospitable, following us around asking us question after question! Even walking down the street became an event for us, as we were constantly stopped by the local residents to make small talk.
Never in my life, while living in Shanghai, had I ever felt so welcomed as I was in Xi Lian. The busyness of city life leaves little time for idle talk with strangers on the street. Xi Lian, however, takes life at a much more leisurely pace. Instead of rushing home after school, some of the students preferred to stay back and play soccer or Jianzi [a traditional Chinese shuttlecock game] with us. Everyone had such an approachable nature, and I enjoyed learning how to make bird call noises with my hands from one of the people I met! Every time I call out to a lone sparrow, I will think of the kind older gentleman back in Xi Lian!
Although it was a little rough going for three days without showering in Xi Lian, I am so glad that I went on this trip. I have never met more hospitable people in my life.