Fabiana in China: I Was The Donkey

As I finished reading the story, I remembered where I was about two months ago. I had fallen into an empty well and had no one to save me but myself…

After successfully finishing two textbooks since we first started, we began a new one last week. It welcomed us with a very curious and inspiring story:

In summary, the text talked about an old donkey that had fallen into an empty well. The owner and his neighbors did not know what to do to help this poor donkey out, so they decided to fill the well with dirt so the donkey would not suffer anymore. As they shoveled dirt in, they listened how the donkey become more and more silent. After some time they were all curious about what the donkey was doing, so decided to look down: as the dirt fell on top of the donkey’s back, he swayed his body and made the dirt fall to one side. He then took a step on top of the pile of dirt and repeated this motion as more dirt came in. When the pile got high enough, he took a big jump on top of it and trotted out of the well.

“I am that donkey,” I quietly whispered in class, and smiled right after.

I smiled because I realized I had been doing exactly the same: shaking the “dirt” of my body and stepping on top of whatever wanted to knock me down. I still have to jump out of my well, but I can see the light, and I am not far away from it.

From increasing the amount of Chinese vocabulary words learned each day, to increasing the amount of times I have to refer back to my English dictionary to check the English translation the book provides, I can now say that if I would ever take the SAT again, I would ace the reading part. Haha. But actually.

In order to shake out this week’s stress the program surprised us with a very entertaining weekend. On Friday, we had a scavenger hunt on Peking University’s campus. I was asked to recall Chinese famous dishes and New Year’s traditions, ask a “handsome” Chinese guy for his phone number, complete character writing in order to find hidden messages, and many more tasks. We had a beautiful day that accompanied the afternoon and delicious snacks waiting for us at the finish line! It was a lot of fun!

 Snapshots from PKU during the Scavenger Hunt

Snapshots from PKU during the Scavenger Hunt


That same day, I finally decided to go to that Kickboxing lesson I was long thinking about. With the scavenger hunt in the afternoon and the kickboxing lesson at night, I was destroyed. Although my body still hurts from it, the 加油s (“you can do it!”) I received from random kickboxing peers that day made the muscle pain worthwhile.

On Saturday, we all went to THE GREAT WALL! How exciting! We had a big bus waiting for us back in PKU (Peking University) and left for our half-day adventure. Although I had been to The Great Wall about two years ago, this time somehow felt more magical. We had all broke down into small groups and hiked our way to the very top. Well, except a couple of friends and I that didn’t really make it to the top. In my defense, I thought there was no such thing as a “top”! I could only see more of the Great Wall in the distance, and when we got tired we just started to walk back down. Apparently if you keep hiking up like some of my classmates did, there is a way to use a slide to get back down! So keep this in mind if you’re planning to come and visit! (I guess I now have an excuse to go back).




After that adventure, I had to end the day with my favorite dessert in China: Bubble Tea. Tapioca pearls, milk, tea, and your roommate’s smile are all you really need to end a day like this. With three more weeks left of actual teaching until the end of semester trip with the program begins, I can truly say I wish I would have extended my stay in Beijing for one more semester. I think I can speak for everyone in the program when I say that I still feel I have so much left to learn! Chinese language learning seems endless, but we all just simply love it! It’s sort of like a love-hate relationship. We can’t get enough of it!

Till next week!


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