Guilin is by far my favorite place in China. The weather was warm compared to the freezing weather in Beijing. There were even palm trees as we left the airport. We only stayed in the city of Guilin for a night and took a bus the next morning to Longsheng, right outside of Guilin. In Longsheng we stayed in a hotel in the mountains. It was beautiful, but we had to hike an hour, with our luggage, to the hotel. By the time we got to the hotel I just wanted to crash onto the bed and sleep. I feel like it drained all of the energy out of me. The hotel was more like a three-story house made of wood from trees from the mountain. Since we were in the mountains, the internet signal was very weak and we only had electricity from 6pm until 8am. The next day was a free day and seeing that we were in the mountains, all that we could do was hike. My roommate and I slept in and then hiked for a few hours and took pictures. After our hike, we walked around to the many little villages in the mountain and bought some souvenirs.
The next day, we woke up bright and early and hiked back down the mountain to the bus so that we could go to Yangshuo. Yangshuo is a valley on the outskirts of Guilin. It has an amazing nightlife. The markets came to life with lights and there were numerous restaurants to choose from. Of all of the places in China, I felt most comfortable there. Many of the people that live there have seen plenty of foreigners so they were not surprised to see us when we got there. In Yangshuo, we went river drifting, which was very relaxing. It was a great way to end the two-week study trip and wind down from all of the traveling we had been doing.
The next morning, we boarded the plane back to Beijing. I am currently in Beijing and just finished my term paper. It feels so good to be done writing papers. The program is having a farewell dinner tonight to say our goodbyes and we will receive calendars with pictures of our semester here in Beijing. After the dinner, my roommate and I will be lugging our luggage to the subway and take the subway to the airport. Early tomorrow morning, we will be getting on a plane back to the U.S. I have met so many people while studying here in Beijing and have created lifelong friendships. This was an experience of a lifetime and I would recommend that anyone with the chance to study abroad take the opportunity. Although I will be sad leaving my many friends, I am excited to see my family and friends back in Oregon. I will be driving to campus on Thursday so see my friends at Linfield before they leave for winter break. I look forward to showing pictures that I have taken and telling stories of my trip abroad.
This is the end of my journey in China and next time anyone hears from me, I will be back in Oregon, studying at Linfield. I guess it is time to sign off!
Until next time,