By Laura Bowden
Today was one of the rare days we didn’t wake up early. Not only that, but we also waited an extra hour before going on the hour long subway ride to Peking University. It was miracle we were even allowed to go on campus – all due to a stranger’s kindness. Dr. Liu stopped a medical student to get directions and suddenly they led us inside the campus.
Only the top 0.05% of high school students get high enough scores to go to Peking University and yet there seemed to be so many people on campus. The size of the campus was what really stumped me at first, so many modern buildings on one side and then the other side was the old campus. Both sides were beautiful and swarming with students and professors on bikes and walking. We didn’t even make it past the subway exit before my feet started hurting, I cannot begin to imagine so many people making that journey daily.
Next, we met up with Grace, Dr. Liu’s friend, and we met with Dr. Liu’s other friend who started her own business. Her business started after she raised twins, realizing that parenting wasn’t as natural as everyone believed it to be. So, she thought that people have to get licenses to drive, take tests for university, and yet parenting doesn’t need credentials. She talked to us about the roots of her business, how she started up and why she does what she does. Then, she talked to us about the psychology of children and parents, especially the different types of mistakes parents make when they are trying to raise kids. It’s nice to know that teenagers are the same in all cultures.
After this we went downstairs to eat a Chinese version of Japanese food. Not two hours later we ended up eating hot pot.
We met up with Showtime’s dad and asked him about being a business man in China. It wasn’t like we expected, usually business men tell us that it’s a dog eat dog world motivated by selfish aspirations. Instead, he told us that friendship was key to progressing. We talked over hot pot about our trip and any questions we’ve wanted to know about China. It was nice to hear his impressions of us and telling him about what we think about the country. Our impressions were definitely biased due to the food, but he confirmed our thoughts and ideas while also expanding on our original thoughts.
Today was an especially good day because of the food and because of the beautiful campus. We learned a lot today about parenting in China and about the stress of tests. The entrance exams are especially stressful, even leading to suicide in some cases, and its difficult for parents to prepare their kids for something so huge.
It was a great learning experience, and I’m glad we had the opportunity to do this.