Writing and photography by Emma K., Class of SYA China 2019. Emma K. joins SYA from St. Louis Park High School.
On my first full day living with my host mom, she took my out for Peking duck and we walked around Kunming Lake and the Summer Palace for hours talking. When I looked across the lake, I could see the mountains to the west of Beijing and the hazy Yu Feng pagoda in the distance. The view was breathtaking, and I immediately knew I had made the right decision to come to SYA China.
On Wednesdays at SYA China, we get out of school at noon and get to go out and explore Beijing. On our first Wednesday, we traveled as a class to the Forbidden City. It was blistering hot, but the yellow rooftops of the City are truly a sight.
As a class we visited the Temple of Heaven where the emperor used to pray annually to the heavens for good harvest.
On one of our Wednesdays out in the city, I went with two friends to Beihai Park, a former imperial park first built in the 11th century. We rented a peddle boat and peddled around the lake for an hour. People in nearby boats greeted us and asked us where we were from.
The entire SYA class wore "I ❤ Beijing" t-shirts to Sports Day and we singed each others shirts. SYA students competed alongside 二附中 students in sports events like the long jump, the 100m sprint, and the 4x200 relay.
The 798 Art District is a popular destination for tourists and young hip Chinese. Full of galleries, boutiques, restaurants, and street art, the district could never bore. One mural on the street seems to perfectly depict the essence of Beijing; dense, fast-paced, with its own rhythm that seems to breathe life into the streets. My friend Hiyab and I couldn't help but get a photo is front of it!
During the National Holiday, my host mom and I went to make dumplings with family friends. They laughed when I first tried to seal the dumplings and the stuffing came out, but with practice and their help, together we made maybe 200 dumplings. We feasted!
- SYA China