*** This post was written in my journal on 7/3/14 prior to having internet access.***
It’s currently around 0430 in Liyang, China. I am wide awake but not from excitement. In my mind, my journey to China would be communicated to my family. However, I was unable to access Wi-Fi throughout my 24+ hour trip (and counting). I am fine and safe but it has killed me not being able to share this with the family I left in tears.
The company set me up in a hotel for the first night (no Wi-Fi). I have applications on my phone that would allow me to contact them in at least 4 different ways….WITH WI-FI. So, while I should be sleeping, my heart and mind are worrying about my family.
I was expecting maybe 2 family members to see me off. It actually became 7 people + 2 little ones. My brothers had to be at school so we said our “see you laters” and I saw them out. They returned about 20-30 minutes later and for the first time, I saw my little brother cry. My heart broke into a 1000 pieces hearing him sob. There were multiple moments of mini breakdowns. My eyes seemed to shed steady tears. At the airport, they watched me at the window, we waved our “see you laters” and I walked towards my adventure.
The flight to San Francisco was uneventful and short. The second flight was to Beijing and roughly 12 hours. I did well for the first 10 hours and then became lightheaded, sweaty and nauseous. I was positive that I was about to pass out! Thank the Lord, I pressed through with more Dramamine, wet cloths and lots of fanning. My final flight from Beijing to Shanghai had EVERY potential to go astray. I was L.O.S.T. The first person I asked for assistance spoke English and guided me through the first 2 parts of making my connecting flight.
I had to visit an area to check my passport (?), immigration, security…and then find my gate. I arrived to my gate and quickly assessed that it was ground level. I’m looking like…”where is the plane???!!” It turns out that everyone’s ticket is scanned and then “directed” to a shuttle. I’ve never been in an area so packed in my life! All the while, I’m getting stared at my wondering children LOL.
The shuttle drives us to the flight grounds and I’m not talking about around the corner either. There is no last minute hopping on the flight. The flight was uneventful. There was an older man (50s) sitting next to me who somewhat adopted me for the flight. He was either very nice or I looked in distress LOL. He woke me up for snacks and drinks. Literally, anything that could be easier with a second set of hands, he was on it. God’s little blessings, right :)
Upon arriving to Shanghai, with direction, I retrieved my luggage. There was no sight of anyone with my name on a sign. I eventually headed outside and there was new co-worker with my name sign. We travelled by car about 3 hours to the city. On the trip, I experienced my first Chinese toilet and there was NO toilet paper in sight. It was a very awkward moment…squatting and aiming into a toilet…especially when the urine surrounding it is unavoidable. **** pause for gagging****
We went to grab a bite and my stomach about retreated. I looked at the meat and I couldn’t justify taking that adventure at 3am. I settled for rice and a edamame/greens mixture. The looks I got throughout our time there was priceless…a mixture of confusion and interest. They were happy to pack up my leftovers…with a spoon. It was clear from JUMP that my chopstick game is on level 1.
Well, I’m in a hotel. I’ve showered and am lying in the bed watching the light grow from the curtains. I should be sleep. The plan is to complete paperwork at the police station and go to my apartment today.
Attempt to Sleep #2