Ghost festival 盂兰盆节

Today, the 5th of September , while going home after school, I noticed a man and a woman crouched down on the sidewalk. They were watching an accumulation of ashes on they ground and they were really concentrated. I was really curious so I asked my sister what they were doing and she just looked at what I was referring to before answering to me.

– It’s for the 盂兰盆节 (Yúlánpénjié), we put on fire some special rough paper with money for deads and hell money, a form of joss paper. We think that the money will help them during their afterlife –

After her explanation and the dinner my mom calls me from the living room saying that I have to go with them for helping them to light the fire and watch. We searched for the right place and then, after preparing four different pile-up of those materials we just fired them and looked until the flames finally extinguished. It was really particular and a lot different from the day that we dedicate to dead people in Italy, so I was really fascinated, also because, as my mom said, it’s a really ancient costume. I also wanted to take some pictures of it but my sister immediately stopped me because she said that it would have brought misfortune on the family. This will be one of the memories that I will cherish for a really long time. 


Finally, the day before

Yup, today is the big day. I finally separated myself from my family (aka mother, father and brother) and shed a few tears. We brought the luggages in the hall of the hotel in the morning and then we walked for a kilometer searching for a place where we could eat. Around 3 o’clock we attended a ceremony for goodbyes and we took different ways; they to my house in Asti and I… to my new adventure.

It’s difficult to say goodbye to your parents but it’s a necessary passage for starting your real journey.

And your luggage? Did you prepare it?

And your luggage? Did you prepare it?

Ehee…Next question?
I’m actually very confused right now about what I should put in it. My mother has already prepared all medications that came across her mind, I think that she will make me bring few clothes and lots of medicaments.

Anyway, documents, dollars and medicaments are settled, I just have to choose which clothes bringing with me.


That’s it.
The day when you finally realise that you’re going to leave.

It’s incredible how days go faster and faster and suddenly, the last day with your best friends arrives. You didn’t thought so much about it, you just chat with them.
The trip is so far away for you, but not for them.

That’s what happened to me, at least.
Some days ago I was invited to a sleepover with my best friends and I was so happy to meet ’em!
This year’s summer vacations were very unlucky for us because we all went away in different weeks and as a result there wasn’t a lot of time to spend together, so I was more than happy to spend some quality time with them.

They seemed so happy as well, so I enthusiastically began to tell them about my host family, my future sister and so on. I answered to every single question they asked me but then, just after the midnight swim, in my friend’s bedroom they gave me a little bag with letters envelopes that I could see even before opening it.
I asked them what was it, if it was a gift, and they just told me to see it by myself. I was shaking, literally, I didn’t saw it coming at all!

I read the letters in silence, and, after a few minutes one of my friends started sobbing, I was heartbroken. I was going to live a beautiful adventure, but I suddenly realised what I was leaving behind, friend, family, the safety of being at home…
And before I could even reassure her, I started crying with her.

Now, I’m a crybaby, but I prefer not to cry in front of people, but that, it was really touching moment, and I couldn’t help myself. They were sad about leaving me for a whole year and it was nice to have a confirmation of that. Just when I thought that it was finished, that I received the most beautiful gift that they could give to me, their letters, I saw something, a little white box, and when I opened it I saw a beautiful bracelet. On the bead it’s written “all around the world” and there are four encrusted hearts like the four of us. That was very meaningful for me.

Then, the day after, we had to separate and that was the most difficult moment. We hugged each other like we won’t see each other ever again and we cried, again.
When I finally returned home I fell into my mother’s arms and started crying again. I’m not a person for goodbyes or the kind of person that express her feelings easily, but I really love them and I will miss them.

I think that those goodbyes are the ones that makes you grow.


“Buon viaggio, che sia un’andata o un ritorno, che sia una vita o solo un giorno, che sia per sempre o un secondo.”


“Ci vuole più sforzo per conquistare anche solo una piuma delle ali dell’uccello della gioia, che per lasciarsi trasformare dalla corrente del dolore.”


“Non rattristarti di fronte ad un addio. Un saluto è necessario per incontrarsi di nuovo.  E un rincontro, dopo un momento o dopo una vita intera, è inevitabile se siamo davvero amiche.”

Hey there!

I don’t know why you are reading this article in my blog: maybe you’re a future AFS student that will go to China and you want to know something more about it, or maybe you’re thinking about going there in a way or another, or you’re just bored.

Anyway it seems legit to me that I, at least, introduce myself. My name is Giorgia and I’m Italian, I always developed a passion for asian cultures and travelling. Since I was a child my mum encouraged this dream and now here I am. In 30 days I will be in Tongling, Anhui for living a whole new year in a place that I don’t know and where I don’t even understand the language. This is happening thanks to Intercultura-AFS an association that believes in youth and the power of connections between all the countries in the world.

I always liked adventures but this is so unimaginable that is feels fake. It seems that it was just yesterday the day of the selections which were hold in the university of my little town; that day I was so scared, I wanted to participate so bad and during the interview I was really shy, scared to give a wrong impression, but after all, here I am. I don’t have really realised that I will soon have to say goodbye to everyone in my little city and fly to my new family that lives in a bigger one on the other side of the world where I’ll have a little sister and I’ll go to a school where they talk a language that I have never studied (if we don’t take in consideration an online class).

And even if it’s all so blurred and unknown I can’t wait to start this fantastic experience and just thinking about it makes me shiver from joy.
Anyway it’s time to go!