It’s been a while! I have to catch you up!
A couple of weeks back, I embarked on a journey that took me across the globe. A total of 6,921 miles and 20 plus hours of travel. I flew over the Arctic Circle and crossed several time zones to reach southeast Asia. The travel was grueling but every aspect of the trip was worth the exhaustion. I spent most of my time in the Philippines, but concluded my epic vacation in Beijing, China.
Traveling to Beijing had me a bit on edge. 1) I was in an entirely different hemisphere, 2) unlike the Philippines where English is widely spoken, I had not brushed up on my Chinese, 3) I was visiting my first communist country so I had no idea what to expect and 5) I would be seeing my older brother, in person for the FIRST time, ever! This is the blessing! My brother had been living in Thailand for years but just made the move to Beijing only two months ago.
BACKGROUND: My dad has two older children from a previous relationship who resided in Liberia. As my father was finishing his graduate degree and my parents were set to move back to Liberia, a civil war broke out and lasted more than eight years. As a result, my younger brother and I have been separated from our older brother and sister for years. Until my trip to Liberia in 2012, we hand only spoken to our siblings over the phone.
The view flying over Beijing was so impressive. From an architectural stand point, you could see the city was perfectly designed. The high-rise and office buildings were all arranged symmetrically to one another. It’s a bit indescribable and pictures don’t do it justice, you have to see it in person.
An unexpected change caused me to have a 24 hour layover in Beijing, blessing! So once I landed in Beijing, my priority was to get to my hotel and link up with my brother Wheti. Meeting my brother for the first time was surreal. Think about it, the only interaction we have had is over the phone. So when I saw him in my hotel lobby, I ran to him as if he was our dad. Jumping up and down, hugging and kissing him as only a little sister would.
After our brief reunion, we had to keep it moving! I was only in town for 24 hours, I had a schedule to keep! Thank goodness Wheti speaks Chinese because I was at a lost. We hired a driver to take us to the Great Wall of China. During the hour long ride I took in the immaculate scenery of the hillsides. Beijing is BEAUTIFUL!
I caught up with my brother regarding everything he had been up too. During our conversation, I realized that my brother is AMAZING and DOPE as ish! He is very passionate about the politics of our native country Liberia and will be returning to help with the upcoming elections. He has played semi-professional soccer for years, has traveled extensively and speaks several languages! He has pretty much traveled to every continent. He is my travel idol! He has such a fresh perspective of the world and people. He is truly inspiring!
After the Great Wall we took the long drive back to city center to see the Forbidden City and Tian’anmen Square. Unfortunately, due to ridiculously heavy traffic, the palace/museum was closed by the time we arrived. So we joined the rest of city’s visitors and took pictures outside the palace walls. Standing on the streets on Beijing with my brother, in the crisp cool air, under the city’s twinkling lights with the traffic zipping by felt like magic and wonder.
Unfortunately, the magic faded after I noticed how exhausted our driver looked. So he dropped us off at my hotel and Wheti and I parted ways shortly afterwards. But not before planning our next trip. We agreed that I would come back next year to see more of Beijing like, the Temple of Heaven, Ming Tombs, inside the Forbidden City and shop!
My experience in Asia changed my perspective of the world. I realized that I am such a small entity in this huge world. It was a very humbling experience. I appreciate the Chinese culture, their way of life, attention to detail and work ethic. My brother left me inspired and ready to conquer the globe. This trip was truly a blessing and will go down as one of the best experiences I have every had!
Enjoy the Journey,
Tahlee (pronounced “Tah-dee” ) is a proud Liberian lifestyle blogger living up to the meaning of her name “successful journey”. She was born and raised on the south side of Chicago, currently resides in our nation's capitol, and loves to travel the world! Whether it’s snowboarding in Aspen, enjoying happy hour or kicking it with her crew, she's always on the go and looking for an adventure. Catch her at @bestiesandbrunch & @liberiangirl22 www.bestiesandbrunch.com