It has always been my dream to visit China and when I was chosen by my school to participate in the Global Young Leaders Conference to be held there, that long yearned for dream became a reality. A reality that was beyond words. My parents and grandparents were overjoyed at the news and preparations for my trip got underway. After months of agonizing waiting the D-day finally arrived.
The night before my flight was the longest night of my life. I tossed and turned and my bed was a tangled mess of sheets and anxiety. When I eventually drifted off into dreamland I was rudely interrupted by my alarm which at first sounded like the sound made by the button you press when summoning the steward on a plane. With adrenaline pumping I got ready in a jiffy and we left for the airport.
When it was time to board I had tears of joy in my eyes but my heart was sore. I would be away from my family for three weeks. The reality of the situation suddenly struck me and I felt weak at the knees. I was going to a foreign country all on my own for the very first time. My stomach was in knots. I wondered if I would be able to communicate with anyone, would anyone know English. I knew a little Chinese that I had studied at school but would it be enough? I realized with dread that it was too late to back down now. With a false smile and trying to reassure my teary mother that I would be just fine I waved an uncertain goodbye.
With a heavy heart I settled into my seat. All the excitement of the past few days had totally faded away and was replaced by a gnawing fear in the pit of my stomach. What was I thinking of when I had accepted to go? Was I doing the right thing? Beads of perspiration dotted my upper lip and forehead and a concerned stewardess asked if I was okay. I nodded and told her that I was a bit nervous. She assured me that everything would be fine. If only she knew what I was going through inside.
The flight was uneventful and I kept...