I have been flying longer than I can remember and I still love the feeling of takeoff and landing! Left CLT at 7am and headed to Chicago, had a two hour layover, made a few phone calls and talked to a Chinese couple from Boston, then boarded my flight to Shanghai at 11:30 CLT time.
My original seat was next to a woman and her screaming baby. I had a headache that started before my flight so this was not a great situation for me. I was able to ask a steward if there was a different seat that I could move to and he found me one. It worked out well too because nobody was in the middle – lots of room for a long flight, YAY! A kind woman heading to visit her 2 month old granddaughter was able to supply me with Aleve for my throbbing head and I, already exhausted, fell asleep in an attempt to change my schedule to Shanghai time. I got about six hours and I don’t think I will have a big issue with jet-lag. I woke up and had missed a meal so ate a pop tart- kudos to heather! -and watched a rugby movie that was playing. Later I was handed a packaged of Chinese Noodles and chopsticks! The flight attendant came by and filled it with hot water and you had to let it sit for four minutes before eating. Delicious! I was setting myself for Shanghai time so it was 5:45am when I ate the noodles, what a breakfast haha.By the end of the flight I think I had a total of 5 or 6 cups of coffee. The steward had memorized how I wanted it haha.
I love sitting and people watching… the man across the way in an animated conversation, the woman napping in 47C, the cute guy in 53H, the man in 52B halfway through his large bottle of liquor, the baby sleeping in 36A, the woman standing at 59E, The man wearing the sweat band with a Michael Phelps expression on his face, and the group of friends looking out the window in 50HIJ.
Well as the plane was coming in to land I got one of those feelings of “Oh man what did I sign myself up for!” We landed and I made my way off the plane and followed the rest of the passengers. Talk about putting myself out there and going WAY outside my comfort zone!!! I honestly felt ill prepared – maybe I should have taken more classes, studied harder, brought a friend, etc. Customs was fine, and then I was waiting for my luggage feeling out of place and sticking close with the other Americans who were sitting somewhat near me. Grabbed my bags and walked through some gates and was met by a sea of people all shorter than me holding signs in English and Chinese with people’s names on them. Then I saw Ms. Evelyn, a smiling face, I recognized her by the picture I had seen. She gave me a hug and I felt instantly at home and comfortable. We met her driver and headed to a market where I got a Chinese cell phone, a subway map, and Starbucks then headed home. They have a beautiful house and I have my own room and bath. They also have a cocker spaniel named Harry and I have two little brothers now :) Bryan and Andrew.
I spent time sitting downstairs on the couch listening to the boys and their two friends play an assortment of instruments. Harry was lying at my feet and Bryan and I got to chat a bit. I went and had a foot/leg/neck massage, ate a seaweed salad and ravioli, I am exhausted but having a blast! Its almost 11pm here I am off to bed. This is definitely going to be an awesome month full of plenty of adventures.