Personal Narrative: China
by Michelle W., 7th Grade

One day, my mom and dad told us that we were going to travel to China in the summer. The day before the trip, both Daniel and I were very excited. We packed our suitcases and went to sleep earlier than usual because our flight was early in the morning. However, I lay in bed, unable to sleep because I was so thrilled. In the morning, it was hard to get out of bed because I was so tired, but after breakfast, I was full of energy again. When we got to the airport, my parents checked in our flight, and we headed to security check. After all the complications were dealt with, we waited until we were allowed to board. Finally, we got on our flight and took off. Although we were excited to go to China, after 7 hours on the plane, Daniel and I could hardly stand it anymore even though there were still 5 hours left. When we finally landed in Shanghai, we hailed a taxi to the hotel. As we drove through the city, I realized that Shanghai was different from Saratoga: everywhere, people bustled around and traffic was very heavy. We arrived at the hotel soon, ready to collapse and sleep. Since we were all very tired from the long flight, we rested in the hotel room for the rest of the day.

The next day, we visited the Bund. Visiting the Bund was one of my favorite parts of my trip. Although it was crowded both day and night, it was still fun to explore the streets of Downtown Shanghai. Lining the streets, many shops had their doors open, welcoming people in. Inside the clothing stores, bright colors glowed on the clothing racks, while young women who worked in the shops yelled out their deals to the passersby on the streets. Teddy bears, toy automobiles, and dolls in toy stores caught the children’s attention. Jewelry stores shimmered with necklaces, bracelets, and earrings. While walking down the streets, I smelled the sweet and sour aroma of Shanghai cuisine. Tall skyscrapers towered over me, some so tall that their tops were covered by clouds. As we wandered around the Bund, the sun slowly set behind us. Once it was dark, all the lights turned on and it was almost as if the whole city was glowing. It was exciting to walk down the street and see sights I couldn't see in America.

Strolling through the Bund during the day was fun, but I also enjoyed going on the night cruise. As the cruise sailed through the Yellow River, everyone on board got a chance to see the lights of Shanghai. The night cruise was also cooler than the day, making it much more relaxing. On the cruise, I could see people walking on the streets and the yellow streaks as the taxis passed by. Since Shanghai is a very busy city, it was very loud. On the river, I could still hear the loud horns of cars on the crowded streets. Mobs of people crossed the streets, everybody yelling and talking to each other. Even though the water of the Yellow River was a murky brown, I could still see the reflection of the moon and the tall buildings. Going on the night cruise was a great way of experiencing another side of the city.

One day, we planned to go to Chongqing, another city in China. At the train station, my dad asked the ticket salesman, “Hi, I’d like to get tickets to Chongqing for 4 people, 2 kids and 2 adults.” The salesman typed something into the computer and replied, “Sorry, we’re all sold out.”

Confused, my dad asks, “Do you have any other times today?”

“I’m afraid not.”

Listening to their conversation, Daniel and I were greatly puzzled. “What! How can tickets be all sold out? It’s only 8 in the morning!” my dad told my mom. After saying thanks, my family and I walked out of the train station and headed to another one. We arrived at the second train station after 45 minutes in the cramped taxi. At the ticket window, my dad asked again, “Hi, are there any tickets to Chongqing for today?”

“No, we’re all sold out,” the salesman told us again. Frustrated, we gave up and headed back to the hotel. Later, we found out that there was a special event and many people wanted to go to our destination, so tickets were selling quick. We were all disappointed, but to cheer us up, my dad told us, “We’ll try again tomorrow.”

The next day, we headed back to the train station. My dad asked the salesman again, “Are there any tickets to Chongqing today for 2 kids and 2 adults.” While he tried to find tickets, my family and I stood there, anxiously waiting for our tickets. “Yes, we do have tickets,” the salesman said and handed us our tickets. Relief washed over us as we headed out the door. “Finally,” commented my brother, Daniel.

One reason why I love going to China is because I get to visit my grandparents. Visiting my grandparents is very exciting because I only get to see them once a year. Both my grandma and grandpa are two amazing people who always make us smile. My grandpa is a kind man who has a bald head with a few pieces of white hair. He loves to read and always cooks the best food. My grandpa also likes to drink green tea at home and is very cheerful, always talking to us. Not only is he a very jolly man, my grandpa is very caring towards others too. My grandma is also very sympathetic. She has short white hair cut just above her ear and always makes sure that we feel comfortable at her house. My grandma loves aromatic flowers and Chinese music. She likes to talk with my brother and me, asking us how we do in school and so on. Both my grandma and grandpa like to interact with other people, and they are always talking with my family, making the house seem a little bit more welcoming. As we talked and caught up on life, my brother, Daniel, and I walked around, glad to be in a familiar place. Dinnertime neared, and I smelled the smells of my favorite foods being cooked: Chinese brown sugar cookies and chicken wings cooked with vinegar and spicy pepper. We spent a few days visiting my grandparents before heading off to visit my aunt and uncle.

I love visiting my aunt because she always makes me laugh by telling funny stories about my mom when she was little, to which my mom responds by saying they’re not true. My uncle is also amusing because he talks with a funny accent on purpose in order to entertain us. When we were visiting my aunt, she took us to the panda museum one day. Going to the museum was very exciting because I had never seen pandas before. We walked around, looking at all the different pandas: the black and white ones, red pandas, and even baby pandas. I liked the red pandas because they were more active and playful as they ran around chasing each other. The black and white ones just sat on the ground of in trees, eating sticks of bamboo. I even saw a peacock walking around with its bright blue and green feathers behind it. There was also a lake with swans and koi fish, which Daniel and I fed with pieces of bread. It was really funny watching the swans fight over a little piece of bread. After the swans ate all our bread, we went to the panda nursery. I didn’t really enjoy looking at the newborn pandas, but watching the 1-year old pandas climb around was very entertaining. Filled with energy, they climbed all over the trees while the older pandas just sat there and slept. The panda museum was definitely one of the highlights in my trip to China. When our stay with my aunt and uncle came to an end, my family and I were sad, but we promised to visit again next year.

After my family and I visited my aunt and uncle, we went back to Shanghai for a few more days. We tried to enjoy the last few days of our trip. While there, we wandered around for the last time before heading back to America. My family and I also visited my grandma one more time before saying goodbye. We went to the Bund and gazed at the stars and lights again because the sights in Shanghai are different from the ones in Saratoga. On the last day of the trip, we started packing all our belongings, getting ready to go home. However, the next morning, it was time to face the fact that we had to go home. Sadly, we drove to the airport, wishing that we could stay in China longer.

We arrived at the airport and went to go check into our flight. After a few hours, we started to board the airplane. However, the flight was an uncomfortable and unbearable one, and I did not have the appetite to eat any of the food provided for me. Even though the flight was shorter than the first, it was still very exhausting. Finally, after 11 long hours, we arrived at SFO, glad to be home. As we arrived home, I thought about my relatives in China. They were so kind to me when I was there, and I was already starting to miss them. There was no doubt that next year I would go back to visit them.

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