Today is ms. Evelyn’s birthday. She was in the shower when I left for the community center but I saw her when I came back a little later. I gave her a few gifts mom and I had picked out before coming and then was off to Concordia again. Today was my last day promoting the paintball event that goes on tomorrow. I sat at my table and watched some of the kids play basketball outside and talked to the people who walked by. It amazes me when I see this elementary, middle, and high school expat kids attending school in Shanghai. I think living in their shoes for a day would be fascinating. I have to say I have had the privilege to travel near and far and have plenty of stories to tell from each of my trips but seriously these kids LIVE here… the girl from Wisconsin, the boy from Texas, the kid from Tennessee, Washington, Mississippi, and so on. That may bore you but I find it interesting haha.
It was an extremely hot day today, I walked from Concordia to Carrefour and was ordering a frappuccino and a wrap when Kristen came over and said hi. We ended up going upstairs and chatting for an hour before walking back the community center together. I talked to Ron for a sec after giving him the signup sheets. I then bought a coke and headed home to finish packing. Ms. Evelyn gave me a small suitcase to use and so I threw in all the stuff I thought I would need and was ready to go. Ms. Evelyn’s parents were coming in at 2:30 and so she couldn’t come with me to the airport. My driver took me and was kind enough to show me where to go and to help me with my bags; he is such a nice guy! I was walking through security and going down the halls looking for my gate and thinking: Oh goodness what was I thinking, China and me seem to do solo a lot and I don’t like that…. I don’t know these people I am staying with, I wish a friend was with me, and I still feel sick and want to be in my comfy bed at home hearing the boys play drums and guitar downstairs!
I got on my flight and the man next to me was a bit nerve-racking… he kept sitting there with a weird look on his face pounding his knuckles together and then rubbing the back of his neck till I thought it ought to be bleeding!! Some odd man in 53L was not sitting in his correct seat and when asked to move by a woman he got up looked around and sat in the next available free seat… hmmm WEIRD! Throughout the flight he did odd things that made me a bit nervous but hey I’m still alive so it’s all good haha. I was feeling sick to begin with and fell asleep before the plane took off, woke up after about 40 minutes and had a cup of jasmine tea. I made notes of where all the people I heard speaking English so I knew who to ask a question if I had any. We landed and I got off the plane onto the tarmac, there were busses and I just got on one! I had a couple of people ask me if it was the right one and if I was from Beijing or Shanghai… haha little did they know haha! So I guess that’s a good thing that people think I live here because I am obviously doing something right, or looking like I know what I’m doing!
Our bus stopped and I followed the Chinese people to the baggage claim because there were about 15 different ones that ALL looked the same with no English. I soon realized I hadn’t looked at the bag ms. Evelyn gave me and didn’t really remember if it had a tag on it!!! Whoops! Guess I was a bit pre-occupied. I remembered something green and I found one with a green tag with Gary Sun written on it, haha so I was good! I made my way out into a sea of Asians looking for Cameron and a piece of A4 paper with my name on it. I didn’t see her or the paper… I called her and she said she was 20 minutes away!!! Well I looked around and found something familiar – a Starbucks! The taste, the smell, the environment! It was like I was back in Pudong, or even back in Charlotte. I ordered another cold drink, I felt like I stepped into a sauna when I landed. It felt so good going down my throat, I sat there and waited, trying to comprehend the fact that I had made it here and was starting a slew of new adventures. Cameron arrived and we hopped in her car and headed for Lily’s house. I thought the pollution in Shanghai was bad, the sky here is gray; I can feel the thickness of the air as I breathe it in.
We finally arrived and climbed to the fifth floor. She has a nice apartment but I must say I have been spoiled by living in one of the top three most prestigious compounds in Shanghai. Lily wasn’t due home for another hour but her i-ee made us dinner. It was interesting and Cameron didn’t like it, neither did I for the most part so I filled up on rice. Lily arrived halfway through and I am looking forward to getting to know her better. We finished eating and did a few other things. Cameron left to go home and Lily went to bed – which I was a bit grateful for because I am tired and I wanted to get ready for bed. I have an early morning tomorrow, my itinerary is listed below.
1. Temple of Heaven
2. A visit to the Tian'anmen Square .
3. Forbidden City
***Quick lunch break.***
4. Summer Palace