Day 6: A Day of Service

     Today was the first full day in Xi’an and it was filled with very meaningful activities. I found the service day to be rewarding because I enjoy volunteering myself. At home, I volunteered at an elderly home for 50 hours in the summer before coming to the university of Pittsburgh, and this trip reminded me of the warm feeling you can get by spending time with people who might enjoy it. Naturally, I wish that these kids spoke a little bit of English to make the communication between us flow, but William helped to translate between us. I was also pretty impressed with the athletic capabilities of some of the younger kids because they not only were able to pass and communicate on the court, but also put in effort to make the game all the more entertaining. Before meeting with these kids we watched a video on the history of the children’s village and how this program began. In 1996 a police woman decided it was time to help children whose parents had been taken away to jail, and the rest was history. This NGO can be an example to the United States for how people in a country should take care of each other. After visiting with the children, we traveled to see the Greater Wide Goose Pagoda where we learned about the pagoda and artistic capabilities of the monks inhabiting this area. The calligraphy was beautiful, and I purchased two pieces with the Chinese characters for “happiness” and “love” for my girlfriend because she turns 20 today. I think that she will love these pieces and I’ll probably score some brownie points, so all in all I am happy with today’s touring. For dinner, we went to the Muslim market and had a variety of food that I have never tried before in my entire life. I thought this food was absolutely incredible and included pork on a stick, bread on a stick, and a giant fried squid. Before my time in Xi’an ends, I will probably go back for another fried squid.

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