Take an hour long taxi ride to the Shanghai Pudong airport for our 3:45pm at 12pm on July 11th. Check in our bags around 1pm. Go through customs. Go through security. Have some lunch and wait around for two hours. Discretely battle for first place in the boarding line with some other Chinese passengers who were trying to cut in front of us, all while watching the older Chinese women having their “lady time” doing exercises before getting on a plane for 14 hours. Mom and I are joking about the heavy dress we have in our carry on and how I should change into it mid-flight for dinner with a fresh face of makeup and all when we notice everyone around us going into havoc. We quickly find out that United just announced our flight was cancelled, not delayed but cancelled.
Dumbfounded we didn’t know what to do next, although we did not have much of a choice. Checking our bags and going through customs and security was all just a waste not to mention the fact that we were not going home anymore. “Stuck in China.” That can be a scary thought for some, luckily I was with my mother. After the initial hype slowed down the United attendant directed our flight to exit the terminal, go through customs again, pick up our baggage, and wait in line for our hotel voucher since they didn’t know when the flight would be rescheduled. Supposedly the engine went bad and they had to fly a new one in before the plane was usable again.
So we undid everything that we had just spent the day completing while longing to be on a home-bound plane. After we got our Howard Johnson hotel voucher and were instructed to take the shuttle there along with the rest of the passengers my mom and I decided we were not satisfied in leaving the airport until we were on a plane taking off to America. Mom did her work by getting us on a different flight going through Chicago instead of Newark but it still wasn’t until the next day. In disparity I approached the United ticket agent one more time to just tell her to get me on any flight going to the states. The previous tactic we had been using was to ask for a flight getting us to Baltimore, and it worked but it wasn’t good enough. They kept saying all the flights were full, full, full. I guess after approaching them more than ten times they figured we weren’t going to give up until we got what we wanted. Our determination paid off when they told us we could try for standby on the plane to L.A. at 8pm. We asked to be put on standby and waited. The Chinese ticket agent had the same watch as me.
Seven p.m. came and we heard “Sorenson” being shouted from the baggage drop. We were going home and with business class tickets!
Business class is the only way to go when you have a 10 hour or above flight. They served us a 4 course dinner and we had seats that reclined into beds.
After the most amazing flight of my life we arrived in L.A. Fat people in America are noticeable but after spending 10 months in China where most everyone is highly conscious of their current weight these fat people stand out like neon signs, and there is so many that it is blinding. At least Australia is leading in the obesity rate according to recent statistics. Maybe America is getting a clue but then again with all the fatties over here I would hate to see what Australia is dealing with, my eyes would be hurting real bad.
We spent five hours delayed in L.A. and continued on to Baltimore arriving there around 7 a.m. local time. We picked up our bags and headed outside waiting here a familiar face. About ten minutes go by and I spot dad driving the suburban towards us. I run towards the moving vehicle not wasting anytime waiting for him to stop and park. I grab on to all the sisters at once cherishing the moment. Vanessa, such a sweetie, holds onto me telling me how much she missed me and how happy she is that I am back. Sophia sits in her car-seat with a grin just staring at me. Cynthia is just as excited to see my huge stuffed animal I brought from China as she is to see me. Erica is now 13 and is almost caught up to me in height. Dad grabs the bags before saying hi and giving me a hug, typical. Oh, I love them all so much. Then when we finally get home after a two hour car ride I get tackled by Jordan my 19 year old college football brother and ignored by Weslee my 2 year old brother who is no longer familiar with me. We unzip our suitcases to distribute Chinese Christmas and our finally able to rest.
Good to be home.
Posing up with Confucius to officially completing a year of study in China at Zhejiang Normal University. My last test was this morning on spoken Chinese. My teacher graded it in front of me, because the test is one-on-one with her, and I got a 91. Still waiting on my other three scores but now that exams are finished the adventures can begin.
As crazy as yesterday was and after moms flight being delayed basically 6 hours I thought the day was never going to end. We spent the night sleeping in the airport and finally made to my dorm here in Jinhua today a bit after noon. I was able to show her a preview of my life at ZNU for the past 9 months before she crashed on my bed. I love her and I am so happy she has taken the effort to be out here with me my last couple weeks. She is making me feel like a tourist again and I don’t have to worry about being alone on the trains anymore; I can look over and my mommy is right there for me to rest my shoulder on. All the Ayi’s downstairs were so excited to see her, in awe of her “beauty and youthfulness” they kept repeating over and over. She shook their hands and they were so thrown off guard because no one shakes their hand here. Chinese children melts my moms heart just like they melt mine but we were both making protesting sounds of disgust at somebody spitting on the ground. I am ready for the adventures so be ready for the details!
One down, three to go.
One Chinese song I actually like, even though the lyrics are REALLY dumb.
“This world is too beautiful, like my lip gloss.”