My last day in Shanghai was definitely a memorable one. Kristen and I spent the morning and early afternoon in Yu Yuan and walked some of the back streets and soaked in Old Shanghai; the smell of the street food, the laundry hanging, the kids laughing and playing, and the groups of people playing mahjong. This was my last everything… my last time riding the subway, last time seeing the pearl tower, having my picture taken by strangers, crossing crazy traffic, riding a taxi, bargaining, attempting to use my Chinese, etc .
Later I headed to the fabric market to pick up my things, my favorite is the zebra dress I had made – it sounds crazy but it’s simple, a long dress that’s pretty casual and difficult to explain haha. I then hopped in a taxi and headed home. I went upstairs to try and pack, my bags could only be 50lbs each and the cost of a third bag or to ship was way more than I was willing to spend. I am still befuddled at how I managed to pack everything and make it home with only two bags. I packed and then took a half hour nap and was woken up by my phone ringing, it was ms. Evelyn. I answered and she was asking what I was wearing out to dinner tonight. We talked for about ten minutes then I asked her where she was and she told me she was home. Haha then she asked me what time I would be home and I told her I was in my room haha. We talked for another five minutes then got ready for a night out. Oh goodness I am going to miss our text and phone calls while being in the same house hahaha, and of course all of our conversations on the couch or at the table.
I decided to wear my zebra dress and headed with the boys to go pick up mr. Gary and meet ms. Evelyn, Christina, Eric, Wai Yi, and Friedburt for dinner. We finally arrived and after ordering the waiter brought a live fish in a bowl to our table. It flopped around and almost came out of the bowl; he quickly took it away and came back 20 minutes later with it on a plate…. The fish was cooked and the ENTIRE fish was on the table, eyes included, staring at you mouth open as though he was screaming. Needless to say I didn’t eat any of him. We had a few other dishes, pig’s tendon, Shanghai noodles, pork, beef, etc. We then headed out for a terrific desert at this hole in the wall chocolate place I ate at a couple of weeks ago. We had a delicious Stress-Free Chocolate Cake and a bottle of chardonnay for mr. Gary’s birthday and of course my departureJ. The boys fell asleep at the restaurant and we had to drag them to the car haha. We got home around 1:30 and I finished packing.
I stayed up the entire night; I do that before any flight I take. It is not because I am anxious or excited, it’s just something I always have and always will do. I packed and repacked just to make sure my bags were perfect and met the requirements, and I watched some movies and TV series I had bought. Some of my friends were online so I got to talk to them which was awesome too! Around 4am I had a craving for coffee so I went downstairs and made a pot and enjoyed sipping my coffee on the couch with Harry. Around 8am I took Harry for a walk and came back upstairs to find ms. Evelyn crying, she ran towards me and gave me a hug telling me she was going to miss me. My response was that we still had 5 hours together and I couldn’t start crying now haha. We laughed and sat at the table talking for awhile until mr. Gary joined us. The three of us had a wonderful conversation and then before I knew it, it was time to go!
Kristen came with us to eat at East West, my final Chinese meal with my Chinese family! I said goodbye to mr. Gary and Bryan, all three of us crying!! I got in the car and my driver took Andrew, Kristen, ms. Evelyn, and I to the airport. We arrived and stood in line for what seemed like hours, I thought I was going to run out of time despite the fact I got there 2 hours early. We came up to the desk and were told my flight was delayed 3 ½ hours. This was frustrating and relieving all at the same time, the lady had to change my connecting flight and so all worked out I guess. I was turning around when somebody called my name. It was Peter, the man who I talked to in Chicago when I was flying to Shanghai! I talked to him and his wife and they were on the same flight as me going to Shanghai. Peter’s wife headed home to Boston two weeks ago and he was now flying back on the same flight as me! This was kind of a relief, especially since I had a long time to sit in the airport. I said a tearful goodbye to Andrew, Kristen, and ms. Evelyn, and made my way through security. Got a drink and found a spot with free wireless and then talked to Peter for awhile.
Our flight boarded and the flight was long, I slept off and on and had a couple of meals. I arrived in Chicago and Peter, who was ten seats in front of me, waited for me so we could go through customs together. Our flight landed late and so Peter and I thought we were going to miss our connecting flights. We grabbed out luggage and made our way quickly through more security and to the other side of the airport taking shuttles and going through more security then split up and wished each other luck. I made my way to my gate and finally arrived with 10 minutes till I had to board. I grabbed some Smoothie King while calling my parents and texting to let people know I had landed. I touched up my makeup a bit- I don’t know why I cared how I looked… sometimes I don’t get what makes women do crazy things like this but I still do them haha!! I boarded and promptly fell fast asleep before we even took off and I woke up right as we were preparing for landing. I grabbed my bags and made my way off the plane and headed down the hall; the lights were low and all the stores were closed. I walked down the stairs and my mom was standing there ready to give me a big hug! Dad was over and had already gotten my luggage and came and gave me a hug. We made our way to the car and had a chatty ride home, attempting to catch up on the past month. I unpacked a bit when I got home and showed my parents some of the stuff I had bought, and then I carried everything upstairs and fell fast asleep.
Our plane had eyes.
15 minutes after flopping around on our table.
I’ve been home a couple of days now and am still trying to get used to it all. I switched back to the time zone pretty much right away – no jetlag. I have had a bit of an English overload and the lack of people is a bit weird. I love the really blue skies and the fact I can drive again. As much as I love being home I feel like part of me is still in China with my new friends and the family I fell in love with.
Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers, I had such a great experience in China and I hope that you were able to capture a small taste of all that I did.
Zai Jain, Goodnight,