Tuesday, September 15, 2015

China- Sichuan day 1 and 2

As seen from my Instagram, I believe most of my friends know that I'm off to China for two weeks of service learning.

To start off with, I'm a youth community leader in school and this trip is for me to learn how to facilitate groups for overseas trip in future. 

To be honest, I didn't know what to expect from this trip at all. It was just one fine day in the meeting that the teacher in charge came in and told us that we would be going to China for service learning in a few months time. Since then, we started our preparations for this trip and planned for the activities we are going to conduct here. 

After months of preparation, I'm finally in China and this is already my forth day!

The wifi connection in the current hotel is really very bad and I'm typing this post out now offline, hoping for a chance for wifi to post it whenever I can!

So for the first day, ..

I exchanged with one of my friends for the window seat as this was only my third time taking a plane. For my previous plane rides, I didn't have the opportunity to do so and I really wanted to look outside.
However, the shutters were closed throughout my ride because all I wanted to do on board was just to sleep or watch the airplane movies- (plus it was too bright outside) 

While we were landing, I finally opened the shutters again. The aerial view of China was really very very different from Singapore and it was then that I had the feeling that I'M GOING TO CHINA YAY!!

Once landed, the most obvious difference was the air quality as well as the temperature. The air was very humid and fresh, in great contrast with the hazy condition Singapore is facing currently. 

For dinner that night, we had Hotpot at a local restaurant.

This was our fan yuan yan <反鸳鸯> soup base. One reason why it was '反' was because the spicy soup base was on the inside instead of the outside as we knew we couldn't take the spiciness. 

The locals from the other tables were super tokong though. They had the spicy soup base for the whole pot. Really no idea how they ate their food because the numbness settled in right after I took my first 料 from the centre! 
And ohmy, the pot was so hot and I scalded myself:(

Doesn't look like a big scald but it was super painful and it will leave a scar sobs:(
Please send some concern HAHAH thanks;)

Was the first to do the facilitation for the group with TK that night. I think I was too nervous and I didn't really perform as how I thought I would. However, after the whole thing, I felt much closer to my team as we opened up to each other. I really hope that we will be closer over the next two weeks and learn from each other:)
For breakfast next morning, it was buffet style and I think I ate quite a lot. Can't emphasize how I find it so important to have a good breakfast hehe. 

Afterwards, we checked out of the hotel (T.T) and headed towards BeiChuan Epic Centre. It was a place which was affected by the 5.12 earthquake approximately 7 years ago. The place was turned into an earthquake museum as a memorial for the people who perished during the disaster.

The area was really a disturbing sight for me and I had goosebumps occasionally as I walked down the town. Also, I was frowning for more than half the walk through the museum.

One of the greatest way this walk affected me could not be described accurately in words. 7 years ago, when the earthquake happened, to be honest, I didn't gave much shit about it. After all, we all assumed that Singapore is a very safe country and we took everything for granted. Maybe as you're reading this, you would feel the same way as what I felt previously. Because it's really very very hard to imagine how bad the situation is unless we really experience it/ see how the situation like by your own eyes and really feel it.

I didn't bring my camera for this trip so all photos are taken with phone so please bear with the quality and lightings
Somehow when we were at the place, the place seemed to have a dull "filter" on its own. The colors were as sad as the story there. Nothing was bright in color there and hence, all the photos appear to be dull even without editings.

Could you imagine that this place was once a school?:( and after the quake, all that was left was just a basketball court and a flagpole.

After this sight, I felt really blessed to be born in a country with no natural disaster and I'm really sorry for taking things for granted previously. 

We were supposed to have a tour guide for the walk. However, none of the tour guides were around. It was rather disappointing as this meant that we listened to lesser of the stories. 

Our team in charge from YMCA and those that came here before were able to tell us a few stories though, so I guess we didn't miss out that much.

One story that touched me deeply was that a victim who was rescued after being trapped for 76 hours, requested for a can of cola. I could totally imagine his hunger, thirst and devastation throughout these hours and the roller coaster of emotions he must have felt throughout the entire rescue period. The relief he felt when he was out must have been something not all of us could relate to. 
I walked pass this orange thing without noticing it at all until one of my friends asked me whether it was a roof. At that moment, the first thing that came to my mind was how fragile life was. It was really scary thinking of how everything collapsed and what was left was just a roof. 
All the walls, windows and doors were just buried underneath..

It felt really scary to imagine how the walls crumbled like cookies and that wires and screws seemed only as strong as cotton strands from the ways they were twisted. 

Another story that was told was that the students were in school when the quake occurred and the stairs got destroyed. So in order to escape, they used whatever cloth like rags, curtains etc they could find to leave the building. If you look closely to the picture above, you can actually see the cloth hanging out. 

The next story was that during the quake, a husband protected his wife and before he died, he begged the wife to live on and take care of their child. Hence, in order to escape, the woman amputated her own leg with whatever sharp objects she could find in order to drink her own blood to live on. I really admired her courage and strength to survive because in her case, I believe death would have been an easier option and she really had a lot of courage.

However, despite all these sad stories, to be very honest, I didn't like how people treated the earthquake remnants as a "tourist attraction". I felt that even though raising awareness about the earthquake was important, maybe rebuilding the homeland for the victims was more meaningful.. 

Here's the before photo of how the place looked like:

After first round of earthquake:

After second round of earthquake:
Natural disasters are so scary:(

The place was actually still quite beautiful and the water was in such a pretty shade of blue!

To wrap up, I must still say that I feel so blessed and really appreciate each and everyone for being in my life. 

Ohwell, sorry if I've dampened your mood because of some of the photos but it's the happier part of the post now!

After the epic centre, we then headed to another nearby town for lunch!

Everyone please don't buy anything made of animal fur PLEASE:(

At the restaurant:

We had 12 dishes for lunch and ohmy bless my diet and let's estimate the weight I'll gain when I go back to SG.
Haven't been eating healthily at all even though it's only been a few days! Urgh.

Ohya, throughout this entire trip, we are playing "Angel and Mortal" and hehe here's my first gift from my mortal!


Really no clue at who's my angel and I had fun playing with the crocodile HAHAHA thanks yay!!

I guess it's a rather long post already and I'll put a stop to this post for now because I'm left with only 4 hours of sleep and this post already took 2 hours! Hope you enjoyed reading and I'm looking forward to share the rest of my trip with you all!

Thanks for reading, love y'all!!

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