[Malaysia] Tan Zi Hua, Beijing Institute of Technology
After another day of study, I closed my notebook and looked out of the window. The moonlit night is particularly quiet and peaceful with bright and shinning stars. The night is as alluring and beautiful as before the outbreak of the epidemic. A full moon hung high in the sky. Someone says that the moon in foreign countries is relatively rounder, but is the moon above me rounder?
The gear of time flies back... It was late February 2020, which marked the end of the winter vacation. I should have caught a flight to return to China. I should have met those lively and active friends again, returned to the campus to start a new journey of study and kicked off a new adventure in a foreign country. At this time, Beijing should be snow-white, but not as cold as the winter before vacation. I dragged my luggage and treaded on the snow step by step towards the college gate. Around me were also students returning to school. Everyone’s faces were full of passion for study and vision for the future.
As winter leaves and there comes the spring, everything on earth comes back to life. Beijing, washed away by the river of time, gradually displays the color of spring. People’s life was on a fast track again. But the beauty of spring should not be missed. My friends and I wandered around the campus. We bathed in the gentle sunshine, walked slowly and leisurely around the red bridge and enjoyed the spring. The elegant black swans sat on the grass combing their beautiful feathers, stylish and full of air; Industrious little bees were flying in the flowers, busy with collecting honey and doing their work attentively. The beautiful scenery was picturesque.
I was absorbed in it and a poem came upon my mind “Flying among the flowers, they can’t rest for an hour. The fragrance will eventually become honey. Every little bit of sweetness comes from every little bit of labor.” Then, we continued to walk to the lake. Like a mirror, the lake reflected the beautiful scenery by the water. Several white geese watched us on the shore. At the moment, a group of ducks swam leisurely and broke the tranquil lake. The white geese couldn’t help joining them. Escaping from the busy schedule, we were appealed by the campus view and felt at ease.
Spring does not last long. Cicadas were chirping as the sunlight became scorching hot. The students were sleepy in the muggy classroom. However, with the approaching of the end of the semester, the drowsiness of the students was driven away. Everyone straightened up with wide open eyes and ears for fear of missing any key point said by the professor. Going through two weeks of exams, we finally ushered in the summer vacation. Sunshine and beaches are essential in summer and so we set out for Sanya, Hainan Province to start our summer trip.
June is the off-season for tourism in Sanya, which sees relatively less tourists. Therefore, we could stay away from the noise and have a real relaxation. The sea was clear and shadows of the coconut trees were swinging in the wind. We strolled pleasantly along the beach; The sea corals were rich and colorful. The overwater activities were exciting and stimulating. The local food was fresh and delicious. What a rewarding trip!
In the twinkling of an eye, the summer vacation was over and autumn came quietly. I like autumn most. The sky was crystal clear and cloudless and the land was decorated with orange red leaves everywhere. Being outdoor every time, I could feel the breeze gently brushing my cheeks. “Crunching, crunching” is my favourite sound of stepping on fallen leaves, crisp and pleasant. Our teacher said that we must go to the Fragrant Hills to enjoy the red leaves in autumn. Therefore, we started another trip.
The red leaves of Fragrant Hills Park were blooming like a sea of flowers. Although the red leaves were beautiful, the ancient buildings also drew my attention. They stood there silently and witnessed the vicissitudes left by the long river of history. I picked up a beautiful leaf and made it into a bookmark to record the books I had read and the beautiful scenery I had seen.
Autumn in Beijing is short. The weather soon became cold and dry and the sun got up later and later. The wind in winter was so fierce that it made the hard trunk bend slightly and pushed down the bicycles in front of the dormitory. Finally, the snow arrived as promised. My companions and I were very excited at the snow falling. We ran to the open ground to make snowmen and have snowball fights with others. The magical snow narrowed the distance between us. After the snow stopped, we came to the Great Wall again.
Dotted with snow, it was a little less serious and a little more romantic. Hot pot was also a must in cold winter. After climbing the Great Wall, we went to a hot pot restaurant for dinner. Cold weather and spicy soup were a perfect match. Dipping the food in the sweet and salty sesame sauce, we did feel it was a feast for our taste buds! We excitedly shared what we saw and heard on the day and stealthily took away the meat our friends put into the soup. Meanwhile we also served food to friends. How happy we were!
I slowly opened my eyes and bustling scenes were gone. Everything was still calm around me. There was still a little bit of warmth remained in the notebook on the desk. I stretched myself and walked to the window. The moonlight was still hazy and the stars were shinning. If there had been no epidemic, 2020 would have been just the beginning of another year. It would have been an ordinary year, nothing special but something splendid.
The ordinary things, such as enjoying delicious food together, exchanging greetings and shaking hands, chatting and playing, traveling and wandering, became more precious due to the epidemic situation. I am patient to wait for more good things to take place soon after the epidemic ends. Now I have no choice but understand that I should wear a mask when I go out shopping tomorrow, avoid contact with people and keep distance from others.
The story is from "My Beautiful Encounter with China" Essay Competition organized by the Chinese Service Center for Scholarly Exchanges (CSCSE).