Ah, the sweet stink of adventure.....
December 16th, 2013:
I woke up and Kunming was covered in snow. This was very weird weather for Kunming and kind of freaked me out a bit. My flight home was on the 17th.....what was up with the weird weather?! There ain't no time for snow in the Spring City, foo!
I received many phone calls and messages telling me that flights were grounded and the highway to the airport was closed because of the weather.
Trying to stay calm......breathing.....packing.......breathing........
Jessica came over to meet the movers. I left my furniture with her, so she hired a truck to take it all to her new apartment. I stayed behind to clean and get ready for my landlord to come check me out and junk.....return the key and hopefully get some money back......
I ran out of garbage bags and called Charlie, who wandered over about an hour later and started claiming really random stuff that I was leaving behind.
Andrew came, the landlord came, I got all checked out and set to go (step 1: completed)..........but, the road to the airport was still closed. So, I still couldn't get to the airport hotel I was staying in that night.
Charlie, Jessica, her friend, and I all went to lunch. Then we walked back to the car and I started crying while saying goodbye to Charlie.
We decided just to head out there and see how the road was. It was fine (step 2: completed). YAY!!!
I cried a bit when I was saying goodbye to Jessica. But, as soon as that door was closed behind her....I bawled like a baby in the bathroom. I knew she would be the hardest to say goodbye to, and I was ten kinds of correct.
So, my next obstacle.........I can't sleep. I'm rarely tired at the proper time. I had to be up and downstairs at 5:30am to check out and catch the shuttle to the airport.
I showered. I wandered the Internet. I made myself get in bed at 10pm. But, of course, I have no idea how long I laid there staring at nothing before sleep happened and the alarm happened.
December 17th, 2013:
Check out, shuttle, airport (step 3: completed)............HUZZAH!
K. My flight to Shanghai was supposed to leave at 7:40am. This was important to me because my flight to America was leaving Shanghai at 1pm. I wanted to grab lunch on my way to my next gate. I had time! It was all set!
In my head. It was all set and planned beautifully, in my head.............the real world? Other plans.
The flight was first delayed because they had to deice the wings. Then it was delayed for who knows what reason. But, we sat there for three hours before the plane took off. On the plane. Not moving.
I did a lot of breathing exercises and prayed that my Shanghai flight was also delayed because of weather.
CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
We finally get to Shanghai. Actually, we landed about five minutes after my flight to America was supposed to have taken off. But, I got lucky(???) and was told it was delayed until 1:30.
There were people waiting for us with new tickets. They directed us to all the proper places and I rushed like a crazy person to get to my new gate, only to see that we were delayed again.
Lucky? Sort of.
I walked up to the counter and asked about the time. The man offered me food and water. I took the water and asked about the time, he kept saying 'no time, no time.' I didn't know if that meant he was busy or he didn't have a new take-off time. It could have meant both......
So, I sat. We all sat. Three different airlines with flights to LAX.....we all sat for four and a half hours.
I called Jessica and asked her to email Tiffani and my brother (I don't have my dad's email memorized) to update them about my "adventure".
I was still trying to stay calm and not freak out. Cause I was almost home! But, here was my new problem.....Tiffani had to be to work at 2pm. My cell phone wasn't going to work in America. I had no idea who would be waiting for me at LAX or where to find them.
But, first things first..........WHY AREN'T THE PLANES LEAVING?!?!
I was sadface.
But, a woman from Mexico sat down and started complaining about the lack of updates. She was pretty peeved that they never made any announcements to update us. She had only been in China for two weeks.....so, she totally wasn't down the system. I wasn't surprised at all that they were leaving us in the dark. Cause, you know......I was used to the lack of communication. :)
FINALLY, they made an announcement. And do you want to know my favorite part of this announcement? I UNDERSTOOD IT IN CHINESE! I stood up and got in line with and looked at all the sitting foreigners and thought, "wait.....I didn't have to wait for the translation announcement. I UNDERSTOOD THE CHINESE! That talent would have been useful a year or so ago......."
*Insert looooooooooooooong plane ride here*
I had tears of happy joy while I was walking to customs. I got asked a lot of questions in customs. I guess I looked a bit suspicious. I couldn't stop smiling.....
Man: Why are you smiling so big?
Me: I'm trying not to cry because I'm so happy to be back in America.
Man: Where were you?
Me: China. Two years.
Man: *stares at me a long time* Why?
Me: *tears escaping and giggles escaping* Teaching English. I'm so happy to be home! I'm going to take off my glasses so you can look at my face before the crying really starts......
He asked a lot of questions after that, but I was too happy to care if I seemed like a nut job. I am a nut job.....so........
After taking FOREVER to get my luggage and finish the last customs line.......I walked outside into the California sunshine and wondered if I should panic about not knowing where to find whoever was waiting for me.......
And then I heard my name being called. Greg was there! I was saved from airport abandonment!
I WAS IN AMERICA! I'M IN AMERICA! I'M HOME!!!!!!!!