Before giving a chance to China, I saw it through different eyes – one of prejudice almost, and incredibility towards how the government treated their people. I could not accept that, and internally wanted to revolt about their regime by not setting my foot there.

The opportunity of going to Beijing came to me through my boyfriend.  We decided to meet there and experience a bit of what I would imagine to be a different world. When I arrived there, I should’ve known better (especially coming from a country that has A LOT of issues as well).  

I automatically felt in awe by the different point of view of what I would expect. People were nice, but reserved. Looking at me from top to bottom, and some would even venture to smile back. (I would smile to everyone.) We felt almost like pop stars when a couple reached to us to take a “selfie.” I’ve experienced that before, traveling in Asia, but never in a city as big as Beijing.

It’s always a weird yet soothing experience to understand how people treat “westerners.” China, from what I’ve seen, is like any other country, with government issues and the population living with what they have and how they can. I could see youngsters hugging and making jokes with their friends and loved ones on the street, and right by their side the immersed proud Chinese culture embedded in the old Hutongs (neighborhood alleys).

This trip has marked my life in ways I could never imagine and I wouldn’t think twice if someone offered me a chance to go to China again.