Lucy Dabbs, Gloomy day in Beijing, China

By: Lucy Dabbs, Georges P. Vanier Secondary School, participant of the 2017 Beijing International Education Exchange (BIEE) Summer Camp.

Dreams, in the sense of the visions we have while we sleep, are wonderful things. They are curious, sometimes confusing, sometimes pleasant journeys that our brain takes while our bodies rest. Dreams are messages from the subconscious.

However, sometimes reality can interfere with our dreams, and on the first night in Beijing, here I am in my dorm room dreaming when my peace is disrupted. And what is interrupting my sleep but the ear shattering sounds of construction trucks, dumping massive loads of sheet metal into piles on campus. In my hazy dream like state, my logic is not fully in motion, and I groggily groan to myself that the construction worker ought to try being more quiet. It does not occur to me why there would be construction workers at 3 AM. Nonetheless, a teenager like me can ignore almost anything just to savour a good sleep.

A few minutes later though, I am disturbed again, this time by my roommate taking pictures with the flash on. Through my closed eyelids I can see the white light illuminating the walls for a split second. Now, this is certainly odd. I finally wake myself up and turn on my senses, to see that all my roommates are sleeping peacefully, no camera flashes anywhere.

Suddenly, the sounds of rain pattering the roof combined with the rumbling sounds coming from the sky click the gears inside my head.

Awake now, I quietly sneak over to the bathroom window, face pressed up against the glass to see the rain pummelling the cement in the streetlights. It’s a thunderstorm. An incredible thunderstorm belonging in a tropical climate. The sounds are astoundingly loud that I’m not even ashamed for thinking it was sheets of metal. I suppose that's why it's called sheet lightning, I think as lighting cracks, searing a bolt that lingers on the surface of my retina.

I haven’t seen one of these since my recent trip to Tennessee for DI globals. On our way home our flight had been delayed due to the sudden monsoon which had swept upon us at one in the morning, with a fantastic lightning display to entertain us from the airport windows.

Despite all the warnings in the guide we’d been sent, telling us to dress for the heat, I hadn't anticipated China would be so jungle like; seeing as it was fairly cool when I came during spring break. It was the Knoxville monsoon on steroids. Or maybe it had a swig of milk tea.

I watch the storm for a while, and soon find that I am much too awake to fall asleep now. I text friends back in Canada, where it’s currently 8 PM. A look at my watch tells me that it’s 5 AM here. I’m supposed to wake up in half an hour, my glorious plan to get 8 hours of sleep had been short lived. This won’t help my adjustment to the time but I am ok with it. At least for now, until my fatigue catches up with me after lunchtime.

Student Blog


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