I’ve Arrived

I’m snuggled up in my bed in Shiyan now. It took a nonstop 38 hours of travel to get here. It’s so exhausting!

Saturday

  • 6:30am, arrive at airport in South Carolina
  • 8am, fly to Dallas (two hour flight -1 hour time change)
  • 9? 10? Arrive in Dallas and freak out because phone has not adjusted to the time yet- I have 10 minutes to get to my gate
    • realize I have an extra hour
    • eat crappy, expensive food (french toast and soggy fruit) because this airport only has fancy places to eat at
  • 10:30, get on 16 hour flight to Shanghai
    • I was seated in the middle of two guys. I felt bad for the man on my right, as I frequently went to the bathroom, or walked around.
    • Didn’t sleep very much….
    • Watched:
      • Bonnie and Clyde
      • Devil and Angle (fun Chinese slapstick comedy)
      • 10 Cloverfield
      • That new Divergent movie… Alligiant?

Sunday

  • 2:30pm (+ 12 hour time change from SC), arrive in Shanghai.
  • 3 hour layover
    • Pick up luggage
    • Exchange currency
    • Go through customs, end up at exit for airport
    • Try to find how to get back into the airport
    • Go through three baggage x-rays and 3 metal detector things
    • Recheck luggage
    • Ask if I can get a new sim card for my phone, denied
    • Eat at “Freshpure”. I get jiaozu, and beef soup with rice noodles. It lifts my spirit like you can’t believe, and I realize that I’ve missed the food here.
    • Get on a shuttle to the plane
  • 5:30pm, fly to Wuhan, sleep the whole two hour flight
  • 7:30pm, get to Wuhan. The real journey begins here.
    • Grab luggage
    • Get harassed by taxi drivers
      • Break down and pay 215 yuan for a private driver to the train station because I’m so tired, I’m afraid I might sit down and fall asleep.
      • Get harassed, perhaps as a joke, for American money as a “tip”. I ended up giving him all of my pennies because they’ll just weigh me down anyway.
      • For some reason end up having to transfer to a new taxi midway through.
      • Dropped off in front of the train station, opposite side of the road. This is a pain.
        • Harassed by older man to pay him 10 yuan to help carry my bags through the underground tunnel to the station.
      • Figure out how to pick up train ticket previously ordered online.
      • Walk around in circles with 125 pounds of luggage in tow, not sure where to go.
        • Woman stops me and comforts me somehow. She knew I was frazzled. I showed her my ticket and she pointed me where to go. I am thankful for her.
      • Finally find a place to sit at the train station.
  • 11:30pm, rush to the train. I’m excited, I wont almost miss this one by mere seconds like I have in the past (twice). I’ve also not tripped and busted my right knee, so we’re doing great.
    • Holy crap. I’m on the wrong platform. The elevator wont work to get me back upstairs to change platforms. The attendant isn’t helping. I’m going to miss my train.
    • Attendant opens elevator for me, I make it to my train with plenty of time.
      • Upon going down some stairs, a man asks me if he can help me. I say, “Please.” and don’t have to struggle so much to get down to the train. I am thankful for him.
    • Old man helps me put my luggage up on a rack without me asking. I am thankful for him.
  • 12 midnight, I am finally able to sleep on the train
    • I am so sweaty and gross at this point that I wipe my sweat off onto one side of my pillow case. There isn’t a shower and I am so exhausted, I just go to sleep this way.

Monday

  • 6:30am, I wake up with enough time to brush my teeth, quietly grab my luggage (so not to disturb the other people in my bunk space), and ask an attendant where we are. Wudang Shan! That’s a 45 minute bus from my house, so we’re really close.
  • 7:15am, arrive in Shiyan. Struggle to get my luggage out of the train station (they don’t always have elevators or escalators here, and often the tile floors have a lot of uneven spaces. Also, steep inclines. I often think about how unfriendly China is to those in wheelchairs).
    • Find a taxi. He wants me to pay 20 yuan, but I know how to say, “Da biao”, or “Hit the meter.” He complains about it raining, like that’s a reason for me to pay him more. It ends up only being 13 yuan for the trip.
  • 7:30am, Unfortunately, he doesn’t drive me up to my house, so I have to struggle into the school gate with my luggage. It starts to rain.
    • A woman stops and takes one of my bags to help. She holds an umbrella over both of us. I am very thankful for her.
    • She asks the school security to drive me on their golf cart the rest of the way. They don’t listen to me though, and take me to the international student housing.
    • I manage to find someone that speaks good English to explain to the security that I need to go to my house. I am very thankful for her. She is pleasant.
      • Despite being able to tell them I am an English teacher, they decided I was a student. Even after I had them call my boss, they didn’t understand. They were confused that I had a house.
    • Eventually they take me to my house. The man driving me helps me up the stairs. I am very thankful for him.
  • 8:15am, I am finally home.
    • Christina has left me breakfast on the table (It’s still warm- pumpkin bread filled with green beans, as well as cut up fruit. She is already at work. She also left me a couple gifts on my nightstand. I am so lucky to have her as my girlfriend and so thankful for her.

My back hurts, and I am tired, though not exhausted. I didn’t realize how much I missed the food until I ate at the Shanghai airport! I can’t wait to eat some of my favorite foods now- like fish on a stick, or hot pot.

Unfortunately I realized after some unpacking that I left my laptop cord in America. I have no idea how that happened. Regardless of that stinking, I am here and I know a guy that can get me one. I suspected mine would break soon anyway (Apple: you really gotta work on those cords, man).

I’m on Tina’s computer, or I’d post pictures here too. I just wanted to get it all out though.

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