I walked into my very last day of work proud, confident, and poised. The sun was actually shining that day, the way the sun shines in Florida. I could see the blue sky and clouds. I kept smiling but something felt off- and I could not put my finger on it.
I realized as happy as I am of all the hard work I have completed, I hate lasts.
The last day at work:
I kept glancing around the room reminiscing on all the moments I have had in the office. Moments of self doubt when an idea I said did not seem to be the best. Or moments of stress when there was a deadline due by the end of the day and no one was leaving until it was done. But more commonly, moments of absolute joy. Like the time our project officer, Tim, took us all downstairs and bought us ice cream. Or all the four birthdays we celebrated in our office. Or when a fellow Chinese intern spoke English for the first time on my last day and managed to say “your future is as bright as you”.
The last meals:
After work Friday I invited our entire group to meet up at Hai Di Lao for one last Hot pot dinner. Even though I made reservations, we ended up waiting about 2 hours before we were seated. But after spending two months in China, I learned how to be patient and remain calm. We stayed busy by getting our nails done and playing board games. Before we knew it we were seated at a large table. One of our native Chinese friends Lareina helped pick out the best traditional Chinese foods to try. We all were eating a delicious hot pot meal together, just as we did the very first week we arrived in Beijing. We sat nostalgically remembering how long ago our first Hotpot was, and how much we have changed since.
The last adventure:
Early Sunday morning a group of us decided to venture to Longqing Gorge in hopes of being able to bungee jump in China. When we got to the park we realized the bungee jumping was under repair because of a recent death. We were upset we could not go bungee jumping but instead of dwelling we were thankful that we would be safe instead. Even though it was pouring rain, we got the most of our last day by hiking to the summit of a beautiful mountain amongst the clouds, exploring an ancient cave, and riding down a toboggan slide. We all had smiles on our faces and enjoyed every last second exploring and laughing with each other.
What China has taught me is to see the beauty in everything. Most people would not call the alleys that we walked through everyday to work beautiful, but to me it’s home. It was the start of each day that was filled with interesting foods and people’s. Most people get easily bothered when plans do not go accordingly. And I of all people used to be like that too. But now I realized everything will eventually work out if you remain positive and calm. But above all I have found beauty in the unknown. I decided to come to China because it was the most unique place I could think of. Before I knew it, I bought my tickets and I was on a flight to a country I had never been to in my life. As scary as it sounds, it was the best decision of my life. I hate lasts but I really do not think this will be a last for me. I know I will continue to explore the world and discover all there is. And hopefully I will be back to these very streets in China, talking to my friends I made here, and enjoying the amazing foods and adventures sometime very soon.
It is impossible to think of the one key takeaway that I gained from this entire trip because I learned so much about China, the business world, and myself everyday. But if I had to say one last thing it is that: If you are willing to take a risk and travel somewhere unique, you will find the world out there truly is beautiful.