Wednesday, June 16, 2010
December 17, 2009
December 17, 2009. The longest day of my life. Literally. I left China that day, did a 1 hr 30 min ish flight to Taipei, a 14 hr flight to L.A., sat in LAX for 5 hours, then another 1 hr 45 min flight to Salt Lake.
This was the day I was most anxious for and it was a bitter-sweet day. I loved China. I knew enough of the language to tell Chinese people their prices were “ti guile” and “xie xie” when I went for my daily dumpling run. I knew the money really well and I loved the kids. However, I missed my birthday and was eager to see my fam again. We left before dawn’s early light from the apartments and got a ride with Banker to the bus station that would take us to Hong Kong. “How are you going to drive to Hong Kong when Hong Kong is an island?” may be the question you are pondering. Well, ponder no more. Hong Kong is actually 5 islands and they are connected by roads and bridges. It took us 2 hours to get to the airport, where we camped out for several more. I’ve always wanted to be in an airport around Christmas time, thanks to movies like Home Alone because I feel that airports are the most festive places to be on holidays. And I was not disappointed. Mainland China doesn’t celebrate Western Holidays, but Hong Kong does, since it was previously owned by the British (until about 20 or so years ago). There were giant Christmas trees everywhere and Christmas music was playing. Mistey and I swung by the Starbucks to get some hot chocolate (me) and coffee (her) before the flight.
We finally were able to board the plane and had to suffer during the safety video. Since we were in a country where English is not the primary language, the video went first in Mandarin, then in English. I zoned out as soon as it began, but it’s not like I missed anything. I know the whole “When the plane crashes, put your oxygen mask on first, then help your kids,” and “The seat you are currently resting your butt on doubles as a flotation device!” info, so I wasn’t too concerned. We were served a meal of rice and veggies, then flew to Taipei. When we got to Taipei, we had about 2 hrs time to kill, so we just hung out at the terminal. I went to the Subway and got myself some dinner. It was a bit pricey, but Subway tastes better in Asian countries. I don’t know why. We caught the plane and spent the night flying over the Pacific Ocean. There were some cases of turbulence, and for once they kinda freaked me out. I was afraid that I was going to crash in the middle of the Pacific and that Hayward (my computer, for those of you who don’t know) would be ruined and I would die a cold, wet death in the middle of nowhere when I was so close to home.
We arrived at LAX around noon-ish. It felt great to be back in a country where everyone speaks the same language, but I was self-conscious. I just got off a really long flight from a country where no one bathes regularly, so I was a bit worried about my stank. However, all that was overshadowed by Sydney who said really loudly on our way to pick up our luggage “I really need to tinkle!” I started laughing because a lot of people turned around and looked at her. She was embarrassed and said “Oh man, I forgot everyone here can understand me!” My very first American meal consisted of a cinnamon bun from Cinnabon and a bottle of water. I wasn’t too concerned about getting a real meal because my fam was taking me to the new In-N-Out Burger by our house when I got to Utah. The roll was too sweet for me since I had adjusted to the natural sugar in China (when people get dessert there, it’s just fruit), but I ate it all. Sydney got too much sweet stuff added to hers and she couldn’t finish it. When our plane finally came in, we had to wait 20 minutes before departing because a whole bunch of missionaries had to get on the flight and they weren’t all there.
Finally, we got back to Utah. We stopped in the bathroom before we went to meet our families, and I was anxious to see mine. I was amazed, but not surprised, when I saw as we were coming down to meet our families that there was a giant crowd of people there. It made sense that they were all there for me ;). After all, I’ve been gone for 5 months. I felt like crying when I saw my sisters waiting for me. I was finally home and we (the fam) were all excited.
And then we went to In-N-Out for din din (that’s how I say “dinner”. It’s not Chinese, but it makes me giggle) and I didn’t go to bed until Midnight since it was roughly 7 p.m. China time.