The third day of the trip started bright and early (5:00 a.m.) and I was still exhausted from the day before. Traveling is pretty stressful for me, but I have a lot of experience with it so naturally it wasn’t that hard to get my things together and pack for the plane. The airport was massive and kind of intimidating because of the thousands of people packed shoulder to shoulder. We all made our way to the terminal without any problems. Because we hadn’t rehearsed the show in a while, we all thought we should rehearse it in the airport. Feeling reluctant and awkward, I somewhat got what I needed for the show and got ready. As soon as we started a large crowd formed around us, which surprised and freaked me out a little bit. We didn’t use a lot of props or instruments for obvious reasons, so it didn’t really feel like a real practice, and I wondered what the people’s reactions were.
When we took the plane to Guiyang, we noticed a change in scenery. It was much warmer and greener. This was something that everyone could get used to, coming from a cold winter climate. After a three-hour bus ride, we reached the city of Kaili. We met the New Star School students and teachers and we watched a video of the 2016 Journey East group. The New Star school is for students who want to improve their English education. They attend these English classes in addition to their regular school day by meeting in the evenings and on weekends.
We then met with the host families. My host family consisted of a mother, a father, and two boys. Norman is a 15-year-old who knew pretty good English, and Rock is in 8-year-old who is just learning how to read and write English. Norman and I took one taxi most of the way to their apartment, walked the remaining distance to the apartment, which was on the 20th floor with a great view. After I dropped my bags off at the apartment, I met up with some people from the group to eat dinner, which was nice because I hadn’t realized how hard it would be to successfully communicate with my host family. Outside of the restaurant was a square where people gathered to watch a traditional Miao performance. We got to participate by holding hands in a large circle, surrounding the musicians, and dancing around the fire. This was a very long yet exciting day, and I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.