May We Meet Again

Authors: Arianna Lara Rivera

2018-12-28

Arianna Lara Rivera was an American student at the g-MEO Chengdu American Center for Study Abroad, where she studied from September to December, 2018. Upon leaving China, she shared her experience in Chengdu.
I am writing this blog in the same airport where Sara picked us up the first time. It feels like a dream, like China never happened... Back then, these young students came with their suitcases full of fears, promises, anxiety and excitement. It is amazing to see how we have grown not only personally but culturally along this journey.
Arianna (center), her teachers and classmates
Certainly, we are not the same ones who came that September 1. Today, those young students leave with their suitcases full of dreams, lessons, knowledge, experiences, laughs, tears, and let's not forget also full of alibaba stuff, haha. I have tried to write this blog without crying but I think it is impossible at this time. We all feel we are leaving a part of our life in China, we all feel it is our home now, too. However, we all knew this moment was going to come, and nobody prepares you for goodbyes. If you told me a year ago I was going to have one of the best experiences of my life and it was going to happen in China, I would not believe it at all.
extracurricular activities
On my last walk through Chengdu, I stopped for a moment to see everything around me and I remember saying "I never thought I was going to be able to say this, but I'm going to miss China" and I guess that's how life works, when you do not expect something, it just arrives and changes your life.
For me, this experience was life-changing. Living three months in a new culture, submerging yourself in new customs, style of living and learning their language makes you open your eyes to a more real world that you are not taught in a classroom. I am proud of everything I have learned throughout this trip, and I think my classmates and friends feel the same. We have achieved a lot in this time, from the smallest such as do laundry without dryer, to the more complicated like make a bank account, use the high speed train, buy with Alipay, going to dinner with friends and even with all of that, having time for homework. Many of us practiced time management without even realizing it. Now, we have knowledge of a new culture that although different is beautiful and when you start learning about it, you love it.
Nevertheless, this trip would not be a true experience without the people we met. I want to thank everyone, from our teachers to the G-MEO team for changing our lives, for always being there for us and making us feel part of something bigger than ourselves. Also, I want to give special mention to the buddies, our Chinese friends. That group of young people who welcomed us, taught us, fed us and gave us so much love that I will always be grateful for. This experience would not be the same without you guys, a fundamental part of everything we learned from China came from you and that is valuable.
Without a doubt, life will not be the same without having each of you around us, but we leave with the hope that one day we will meet again and that fills my soul. Crystal once told me that you will never forget someone, because they always stay in your mind and in your heart. And that's exactly where I'll always have each one of you... I love you and I am going to miss you a lot.
For the new students who will come after us, I promise you there will be no regrets for coming to China. You will learn and enjoy a place that although different from ours is full of history and beautiful people. I already congratulate you for having the courage to travel and choose China. I hope you have the experience of your lives and love these people as much as I love them. Take care of each other as family and take care of the G-MEO team because without them nothing could be possible. Also, careful with alibaba, haha, it is an addiction! Good luck guys!

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