There I was, alone at the airport in Beijing, as my passport was rejected by the Chinese personnel. Some panic quickly got the best of me as reality gradually started to sink in and I realized that everybody was leaving and I was the only one left behind in a country where almost everyone speaks a language which I had no knowledge of whatsoever.
I took a few deep breaths and calmed myself down by getting over the fact that panicking would not benefit my situation. I then formulated the necessary steps I needed to take at that time, which were: get enough money, find a way to get to the Dutch embassy in Beijing and afterwards find a place to stay for the time being. After seeking help in translating the address of the Dutch embassy, I quickly took a taxi and I arrived there shortly.
With some quick thinking of the study trip commission and a little help of Kitty, the previous hostel, in which we stayed the first few days in Beijing, had already been arranged for me. This made searching for a place to stay a lot easier for me, since I was already used to that place and the people that worked there. After having checked in the hostel I went to the room, changed my clothes, went to the hostel’s bar to buy some beer and slowly process everything, what has happened to me that day.
At the embassy, I was told that getting permission to leave the country would take 2 to 5 days and it could even take longer. Accepting the fact that I would still be in china for quite some time, I decided to just make the best of my situation. For the past “extra” days I stayed in China I met some Chinese and Americans, which I got along with pretty well. My roommates at that time were all Chinese, which were all students and could speak a reasonable amount of English. One of my roommates even needed to go to an Embassy as well, so we just went together and took the subway early in the morning.
Afterwards we met up with the other roommates and had dinner at a few restaurants and just went for some sightseeing. In the evening I did some reading in the bar, but was interrupted by one of the guys which worked there, asking me if I would like to play some pool. Of course, I could not refuse, since I had not played it in a long time. After a few beers and playing pool, a few others joined us, including an American girl, an Indian guy and a Chinese couple. That night the bar stayed open later than usual. While I enjoyed the extra days I also made the necessary calls and work every day to facilitate my trip back to the Netherlands.
Within a few days I received the necessary papers to leave the country and I quickly booked a flight back to the Netherlands. I humbly thanked them for making my stay enjoyable and told them that I shall return after a few years. Alone in Beijing for a few days has been quite an experience as I thought about it sitting in the departure hall of the airport. It was at that moment that I caught a glimpse of a very familiar face at the back of a newspaper a man was reading. Taking a closer look, I realized it was yours truly. My situation had reached the newspapers through the amazing efforts of Mollier by creating a crowdfunding in order to “#GetJonathanBack”. This is where I end the exclusive extended version of this blog, where I give thanks to everyone that supported me in my crazy experience and made my “extra” few days in Beijing enjoyable!