I wish I could remember all the conversations that I was a part of or overheard over the course of the 22 hour journey home. People are funny. Heck, culture is funny.
But what really struck me as awesome was just how small the world is.
When I was boarding my Delta flight in Detroit (bound for Shanghai) I was meandering my way along the aisles in economy class I looked down and saw an acquaintance who lives in HZ doing the same grad program I graduated from!
That was fun. He came back to my area about 8 hours into the flight and we chatted for a few hours. That made a huge chunk of time go by quickly. We talked about being a muslim in China (he is) and graduate thesis' and Europe and how we were both feeling kinda -blah- about returning to China. What a great thing to have a friend on board.
To add to the fun, my seatmates from my flight to America three weeks ago were also on this flight, in the same seats. I was one row behind my seat form the last leg, so we were able to talk a lot, but I was also able to get some alone time. (thankfully).
They are a Chinese mom and college son who were visiting their hubby/dad in Texas where he is stationed for a year for some engineering program.
I loved hearing about their trip in America (because of my suppressed nationalistic tendencies).
The mom cornered me by the water station and talked my ear off about how she wants her son (a sophomore in college studying math) to "go study in US and stay in US."
The son followed me as I got up to go to the bathroom for the 49th time and we had a nice chat also. He told me about how Washington DC was his favorite city he has ever been and talked for 4.7 minutes straight about the squirrels that "just come right up to you." He also talked about how clean and polite everything/one in America is and said, "China has a long way to go."
I about high-fived him.
But instead, I was diplomatic and pointed out that all countries have good things and things that can be improved. But really I just wanted to high-five him. Or go feed squirrels with him. One or the other.
Between my conversations with the mother and the son I have so many observations and interesting things I want to remember. I'll def be doing a post just on them in the near future. I need to remember everything first, and jetlag doesn't help that cause too much. ha.
Arriving to Shanghai and the night in the airport hotel was uneventful. It's old hat by now.
I was a slight jerk when checking in. I can tell if I need to pray if I refuse to speak Chinese. I was checking in at the hotel and the english-speaking helper girl gave me my bill and told me to, "sign everywhere." I asked her to repeat herself, and she said again, "sign everywhere." Instead of turning on the Chinese to make the situation move more smoothly, I told her, "that doesn't make sense," and she started to shake. (normal to encounter a shaker, usually nervous 4 foot 2 males).
Once I figured out where to sign, I gave her a big grin and thank you because I felt bad that she felt bad about her english. I didn't mean to make her feel bad or nervous, I just didn't want to sign everywhere or speak Chinese. Not yet. Not wanting to accept where I was in the world just quite yet.
Then this morning I woke up at teh bum crack of dawn thanks to the gloriousness of jetlag and proceeded to push my 2 50lb. luggages to the long distance bus to HZ.
I made it just in time because a huge family came on board right after me, yelling and making a ruckus about not having enough seats. There was much hullabaloo that could have been averted if one of the ticket sellers had any balls and just said, "don't get on the bus if there aren't enoughseats for you, we can't just create seats." We set off 30 minutes late. I just thought to myself, welcome back to inefficient China.
To add to the small-worldness of my thought from the plane, my Japanese classmate was also on my bus back! His flight from Tokyo arrived this morning. We didn't get to talk, but that was a fun little addition to the morning.
One we arrived I helped a b-e-a-u-tiful Belgium guy get a taxi to our school. It's his first semester and he had no idea what what going on. Oh how I remember those days. He was walking around with a printed out sheet and taxi drivers were refusing to take him. I asked him where he was going (turns out - my school) and asked him to show me the paper. It was all in English. I was like, dude, you've gotta get it printed in Chinese! I said, "I'm Jessica," and he just stood there. After a minute I asked, "What's your name?" he answered,"Floriugguggghghn. What's yours?"
haha. Note to self: don't just say, "I'm Jessica" say "My name is Jessica." This clarifies it for the non-native speakers. :)
Soon a taxi pulled up, and I waved the beautiful soul goodbye and goodluck.
Once I was home, I hauled my stuff up the 4 flights of stairs and added my electricity for the month of Feb. The dorm workers commented on how "fat I have gotten in America." Welcome back to China. Abrupt, nonsensical, hilarious, inefficient, wacked-out - China.
There's no where else I'd rather be.
How else would I be able to randomly get on a plane in Detroit and see a friend? Or chat it up with people from a completely different culture while 33,000 feet in the air? Or help a gorgeous European named Floriughhghghghhgn? All in a span of 30 hours?
Alrighty, the break from life in America is over. Let the randomness commence.
It's 7pm and my jetlagged self is going to bed. Unfortunately there won't be much sleeping because today is lantern festival. This day marks the end of the Spring Festival. And there are fireworks going on right outside my window. And car alarms ringing. And probably 800 housefires within a one mile radius. (ok maybe that's exaggerating, but it's a real threat). The fireworks won't stop until the sun comes up tomorrow.
Welcome back to China. :)
walk slow. xoxo.