So we spent the morning walking around the Russian Quarter of Dalian. There are some really impressive old buildings and shopping streets! I really like Dalian, it is very different to the other Chinese cities I've been to so far. There are a lot more trees, maybe a bit less pollution and it feels cleaner!
After lunch we went back up to the orph.nage for the last time. The next day (Wednesday) I head to JiaoZuo to spend 5 weeks at Eagles Wings Foster Home. As it was raining the kids were all just sitting inside. I don't think they knew we were coming so when we walked in they were all really excited! A few of the boys ran over to give hugs! We spent the afternoon doing lots of fun things, though they all LOVED playing on my iPhone! I only got it out to translate something but they knew how to find the games easily ;) HaiLang particularly loved it and wasn't too happy when I made him share it!
|Being sneaky passing the phone!|
Lucia had an interesting conversation with the orph.nage director. She has visited a few times before and they never really showed much interest in her, but as soon as she brings a Westerner along, they want to get to know her! The orph. have had a few volunteers over the years, many coming from the likes of Harvard and other prestigious universities. So he asked more about me and whether I go to a good university as they have limited availability. (I do actually go to quite a good university which is very well known but I just thought it was funny how they view things!) She was a bit taken aback and said that I'm very busy working for lots of international organisations and that I would try to fit them into my busy schedule next year ;) haha
Saying goodbye was not nice. Early on in the day the boys asked me if I would be back tomorrow. I had to tell them that I wouldn't be that I was going to ZhengZhou tomorrow. They didn't seem too happy :( They asked when I would come back. I wish I could have said I would see them again this year, but it just won't happen. So I told them I would try to come next summer, and that I really want to see them again. HaiLang pretended to be annoyed at me for a while, but couldn't not smile when I pulled a silly face! Actually leaving was hard. They were called for dinner so we took that as our cue to leave. HaiLang just said 'zaijian' (goodbye) and walked off to dinner looking sad. [It made me thing how many different people come in and out of these kids lives and how unfair that is on them to not have real stability... ] I wasn't going to let him go that easily! There were lots of hugs and it turns out the kids all have QQ (chinese Facebook) so we shared QQ numbers and I gave HaiLang my email address so he could email me. A gave him one last final hug, said 'wo ai ni' (I love you) and we had to leave...
The walk down to the bus stop was sad as I thought of how quickly we had all bonded in just three afternoons. It also made me think a lot about which kind of home for orphans is really best. In this one there is very little supervision and the kids are sort of left to their own devices for most of the time. They are also made work really hard. But they are given a real home that is theirs, unlike a big state orph.nage... These kids are so smart and capable and hard working. I will really miss them.
But life moves on... and so does my journey in China. While I will never forget these kids and I hope to visit them in the future, I am SO excited to be headed to Eagles Wings. These are the kids I have thought about and missed the most over the past year! So excited to be working with them for 5 weeks!