The last moments in the Care Home went by so quickly. Immediately after we arrived we were told to grab one of our favorite babies for a large group photo. Mia D. checked with me to see if she could take Friendly since she had grown especially fond of him. It worked out perfectly because I was then able to bring Brace into the photo. I went straight to his room and found him sitting in his crib and the nanny motioned that I could take him out. He was so excited to see me and clung onto me tightly. We all gathered in the large blue room and Brace was looked so amazed to see so many other babies and volunteers. It was pretty hard getting all 14+ babies, children, and volunteers to look straight at the camera at the same time but we tried our best.
Afterwards we took a group shot of just the volunteers and Katie but Brace really did not want me to leave him. Right after the photo I went to him and like the other days he liked playing with my bracelets. I did bring a new distraction however for him, stickers! He loved them, he put them all of over his face, legs, clothes, and on Vivian and I. Rosy was very cuddly with me and was so adorable trying to understand the way the stickers worked. Since volunteering was coming to an end because the rest of the day we would be visiting the Beijing office I decided to visit the pre school room one last time to say goodbye to Friendly and the other wonderful children. The older boys in the room humored me and accepted my offering of stickers and placed them on their shirts while the younger children placed the stickers on their faces and continued playing with play doh. Smiley was in there and she liked having me open the containers for her so she could roll and cut up multiple colors. Friendly seemed very tired and not as outgoing as he normally was but I was able to say a quick goodbye which I am not sure if he totally understood. Before meeting up with the other girls I wanted to say a final goodbye to Brace. I walked up to the room but found that all of the babes were placed in their crib as it was nap time for them. I whispered goodbye and then I heard Brace who sat up upon my entering say, "Bye bye Jie Jie." It made my heart melt and by instinct I said "I love you," to which he replied back "I love you!" It was amazing! He had often copied my words before but the way he said those three words I truly felt a deep love for him. The nanny heard him say it to and so she motioned me to come back in so I could hug him and she explained to him "Jie Jie ai ni (big sister loves you)," which he seemed to understand and so he looked at me and again said "I love you!" This heartfelt exchange brought me to tears. I was the last of the volunteers to come down and I was a mess. Mia F. patted my back and helped me cheer up but I was definitely saddened to be leaving.
We took the subway to the OneSky Beijing office where were warmly welcomed by many of the officials who had helped us on our sightseeing excursions earlier on the trip. At the office we were presented with the programs that OneSky facilitates including the Care Home, village, sports, and special needs programs. Anna F., Mia F., and I were then able to give a short presentation about how we felt about the trip and to express our thanks to OneSky with an extra shout out to Katie for helping us throughout the whole trip. After leaving the Beijing office we went to Wangfujing where Mia F. and I ate a scorpion!
After Wangfujing we had our final dinner together in a nearby mall and then walked to Tian'anmen Square. The lighting and outer wall was gorgeous and we all spent a while taking a multitude of photos together especially since it was our last night all together.
The subway back to the hotel was a little overwhelming, Anna F. and I almost missed getting on because everyone was so packed and pushed to get on. It was a long day and travel was exhausting but at the end of the night I felt satisfied. The trip was spent with the most amazing people and the experience of volunteering at a Care Home with children who need the attention the most was fantastic. I am so grateful to have been able to attend the trip and hope to return in the future to work with OneSky. That is all for now.