My pieces of clothing that were washed in the sink and are currently hanging on all different kinds of surfaces around my hotel room to dry.
The number of water bottles— when one of our cohort mentioned wanting to look for water— the students bought for each of us present at the time and refused to let us pay.
The number of squares on the magic box crafts the art class showed us how to make today at the Chengdu College of Arts & Science. Shanti and I fumbled through the construction process and the students helping us thought we were a couple.
The assortment of dishes prepared specifically for our cohort and faculty today at lunch, perpetuating the feelings of overwhelming gratitude and never-ending astonishment at how welcoming everyone has been thus far.
The number of dances we learned at the college today. They were a mixture of traditional dance and children’s songs. We ourselves ended up teaching them a few games from our childhood, such as Slide and Boom, Snap, CLAP!
The number of college students from the college that took some of us out tonight for hot pot, cultural and conversational exchange.
The approximate number of mosquito bites I can reach to itch.
The number of pictures that decorated a banner at the base of the college’s administration building— boasting the accomplishments and faces of Dr. Paik, Dr. Smith, and Dr. Duh!
The number of times today I’ve sat back and briefly, but intently, reflected on missing home, and thinking about my family and what it took for them to support me my whole life to get me— quite literally— to a point to be able to pursue higher education, go to SFSU and, by extension, be on this trip. This trip is for so much more than me. It is for my Dad who has worked virtually every day in construction since before I was in born till this day so that he can provide and help my sisters and I have access to more opportunities than he did. And it is for my Mom, who has sacrificed more than I believe anyone should for the people she loves.
The foundation. The reality. The singularity. The understanding I hold that everyday on this trip, I only get to 1 chance to do what I’m doing at that moment. This number is to remind me to not waste it, never take it for granted, accept that not every moment will be perfect and I will never always make the right decision, but to revel in that fact and remain persistent in the pursuit of something much bigger than myself or any combination of numbers on this list.