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.
I just had a self-realization… I am obsessed with chewy Chinese balls :P
The soup looking dish is a bowl full of something similar to dumplings with black sesame paste inside. They are served hot so the paste oozes into your mouth after biting into it. They are normally served at New Year’s.
The drink is milk-green-tea with black tapioca pearls. They kinda taste like honey and are really chewy. They can liven up almost any drink and I feel an absence if I go a day without them.
June 23, 2012
As Hu Laoshi stated, “Food is fundamental to life and Chinese truly confide in this concept.”
If you are wondering how the duck was, I was pleasantly surprised myself. It could have been chicken and I would not have known the difference. The method of eating this Beijing BBQ Duck was to: dip the duck meat attached to the crisped skin into the sauce, then putting it in the flat bread, add the cold veggie, and roll it up & enjoy.
As extreme as the winter was the summer is just the same. I feel like I should shower as soon as I step into my room it is so hot. I still like summer and being hot better than being cold though. At least there is more to do during the summer, winter is just depressing and miserable.
My new tailor-made pants makes my bottom half look like a Christmas present!
I swear I have gotten so much cooler after coming to China. This country is inspiring man. Example: I made Chicken Kimuchi Seafood wraps today for lunch, an original recipe but inspired by living in China. Who does that? Only crazy people that have lived in China for 9 months, LIKE ME. I will be returning to America with MAD skills.
I finally had the courage to cook Tofu on my own and I am proud, even though all I had to do was boil it, because it is good. I like this particular kind because it has a smoked or roasted flavor to it, can’t decide which one. I hope I can find it in America; I would hate to depart with my newly found skill.
Just this morning I went to the gigantic fabric market that is here in Jinhua with a friend that teaches English here at ZNU. She has been here a couple years with her husband so she knows this market pretty well and knows which seamstress is the best. This weekend I decided to take it easy and I am staying in Jinhua for once so I thought it was a good day to go check out this market. After a few hours of sorting through the maze of fabrics and a lot of bargaining, I came out a very happy customer. I am getting 3 pairs of pants, 2 dresses, and a blazer all tailor made with fabric I chose. The total price for all the fabric was only $36.50 and it was quality fabric. Then the cost of labor from the seamstress my friend suggested is only $87 for everything! So on May 28th I will get to pick up clothes that were tailor made for me for less than I would have paid buying a worse quality in a store. Not to mention they will all be done before my trip to Russia on the 31st. I think I am starting to fall in love with China…
P.S. My roommate Kensija just got a phone call from a university in Shanghai congratulating her on receiving the scholarship she applied to for next year. So happy for her, she will have so much fun in Shanghai.
Instead of the weirdoes in America that honk their horn at me while I am running, I get thumbs up with my honk here in China. I can just picture that driver saying to me over and over again, “噢噢噢。。。你非常非常厉害。。。真的厉害！” Or in English, “OOO… you are so hard-working… so very hard-working!” Just as our teacher Mama laoshi would say.
One thing I love about China’s people and that I find very inspiring is their work ethic. I feel like Chinese do not understand the word lazy. Maybe it is their love for money or they feel it is their duty, but I think we can all learn from how hard these people work. I just keep thinking about those middle-aged men and some women carrying up loads of goods on their backs all the way up that mountain (my trip to Huangshan). One guy just reminded me of a horse with all his stamina and gusto. Not only do they work hard themselves but they respect and are happy to see the hard work of others, thus the honk and thumbs thrown at me while I run.
On a side note ~ Why is it that just when you start to get used to something in life these are shaken up again to throw you for a loop? I am finally feel I am getting used to my life here and have figured out many of the challenges I was originally faced with coming to China but now I just have less than two months here (53 days). Unbelievable. My life here is soon to pass away and although it was short-lived it was to the fullest.