Day 6: Paper Hearts & The Pagoda

This morning we got to check out if the breakfast at this hotel matched up to the breakfast at the hotel in Beijing, and I think it did. After having some fantastic banana bread I met the group in the lobby and we got on the bus for the Children’s Village. I was really excited for this visit today because I love volunteering with kids. This village is made up of a little over 50 children whose parents are in jail. If this place didn’t exist, these children would most likely become homeless and have bad futures ahead of them. The village is a home for these children when they are not in school. It houses children of all ages and has been in Xi’an for years. I like the mission of this non-profit organization a lot because I believe in helping those children who have no control over their situation.

We got to the village after a long bus ride and watched a video about the history of the organization. After that, some of the kids went onto the stage and preformed a dance for us which was really cute. Dr. Li asked some of us go onto the stage and we decided to sing “Head, shoulders, knees and toes” for the kids. I don’t think any of them understood what we were doing but they still enjoyed it.

We split up after that; the boys went outside to play basketball and ping pong while the girls moved to a different building to do some arts and crafts activities. The little kid I was with helped me fold papers into little hearts that are really cute, and then she started showing me how to write some characters in Chinese. I would draw a picture of a tree, and then she would show me how to write it out in Chinese. Although I was pretty awful at copying the characters, it was really cool how we could communicate with drawing pictures even though we couldn’t speak each other’s languages.

We had lunch with the kids after that and then we left the village. The next bus ride was to the Greater Wild Goose Pagoda. I loved the gold statues here, the colors were so vibrant and rich in all of the different rooms. We learned a little about Buddhism and I thought it was really interesting.

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While we were at the Pagoda, we got to practice writing in Chinese and looked at art from local artists. I really enjoyed all of the paintings that we saw, especially the ones of flowers. I wasn’t great at using the brush to write but it was super cool to try it out!

When we came back from the Pagoda, a group of us went back to the Muslim Quarter to take a closer look at all of the things they have there. We spent a couple hours there but didn’t even make it that far because of how much stuff there is to look through. I didn’t bring sunglasses with me and I knew I would need them for when we biked tomorrow, so with the help of our guide Jane I bartered for an inexpensive pair of definitely real Ray Bans.

As it got later we made our way back to the hotel. After today I was super tired, but I’m really looking forward to seeing the Terracotta Warriors tomorrow, and especially for biking around the city wall!

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