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My first week in China was one of the longest weeks in my life, but also one of the most unforgettable. The moment I stepped off of the plane in Guangzhou the tiredness I felt after not being able to really sleep after 23 hours of flying completely vanished and was replaced with adrenaline and excitement. I have never been to China or any country in Asia and neither had my parents, so I knew that this was going to be a once in a lifetime journey.


Even though I was only in Guangzhou for two days, Zhixin High School made a lasting impact on me. When we arrived at the school, I immediately was excited because I saw cats laying out in the hot summer sun (I am obsessed with cats as all of my fellow team mates now know). We were greeted with a warm welcome from the students who proceeded to tell us that the cat who I had named in my mind as Mr. Fluffy was actually named Fatty. We ate lunch at the school and then went to learn more about Win-Win education, the education program who connected Hsiao-Mei to Zhuhai No. 9 Middle School and Zhixin High School.


But what really made Guangzhou such a memorable experience is the boat tour we took of the city. Student from the high school joined us and that is when I met Ivy. I knew I would remember her immediately because her name is Ivy and my name is Pamela, and one of my favorite comic book characters is Poison Ivy whose real name is Pamela. I spent the entire boat tour with her- we took pictures together, we laughed, and we talked about the city and our lives. I don’t think I have ever bonded with a person so quickly. I told her that she needed to try and changed the name of the campus cat from Fatty to Mr. Fluffy, and she said she would try her best to make that happen. To top the night off, we were able to make a key chain out of a photo taken on the boat. We hugged and parted ways, hoping we would see each other the next day.


I found Ivy the next day petting the cat we had talked about the day before. We were so happy to see each other! She said she had a gift for me and ran quickly back to her room to get it. Of course it was cat themed, and she said she would miss me terribly when I went to Zhuhai. I told her not to worry because we would message each other on WeChat all the time and we have! I have messaged her and talked with her every day since I left Guangzhou. I’m so glad I was able to make such a connection in a city I was only able to spend a couple of days in.