What an interesting start to Part 2 of this crazy adventure.
It took 3 flights to get back to LC. The first 2, fine, great, dandy. The transition between the 2nd and 3rd almost gave me a heart attack. BUT it was an incredible way to get focused again (I'll explain). I landed in KM and had an hour to get 2 bags, check in again and get to my gate. Usually they take us on a bus out to the plane so I was assuming I had even less time because I couldn't miss that part. Baggage claim sucks! It really takes forever and it tests the small amount of patience that I do have. The yarping began. Intensely.
Let's start at 3.
By 3:15 I had my bags (miracle #1).
There was another customs check point thing and people's bags had to be scanned. The lady just waved me through and I didn't have to check my bags, or I misunderstood and just ran through illegally (miracle #2).
I speed-walked(?) like an idiot up to the counter - the wrong one because the sign lied to me. Ran to the correct one and had a line to wait in. Chinese time! I told the group of girls in front of me that I had 30 minutes to go to my city. It was a terrible attempt at decent Chinese but they understood and let me jump ahead (miracle #3).
I had 2 bags to check, but am allowed 1. They told me the fee for another and I was completely ok w/ having to do that. But wait! Problem. This man who worked there ran me to another place and I was supposed to check my bag because I had hairspray in there, but he just said it wasn't a problem and so we sprinted back (miracle #4)
But I still had to pay, so we ran to another counter where this guy took his sweet time. The guy who took me there kept looking at his watch and telling me not to worry, but I could tell he was a bit worried for me. Finally, I get things paid, I run back to the first woman, get my passport from her and then run to the security line. Another roadblock.
[This was all preparation for the Amazing Race. Now I want to do it more than ever.]
I had a short line and made it through security in probably 2 minutes. When I realized how far away my gate was though, I panicked. I started running with my laptop still in hand. I didn't have time to put it back in my bag. I'm out of shape, tired, and not at sea level anymore. Running made me want to throw up. I saw one of those golf cart things and asked the guy to take me to my gate. [Time update: It's about 3:40 by this point. The exact time my flight started boarding. I'm panicking.] Another couple was already on the cart so he took them first and I'm thinking that this moment would be what made me miss my flight. Had I missed it, I would have had to get into KM and find a hotel for the night, get back in the morning, and attempt to make it on the morning flight. He gets me to my gate, but no one is there except for one worker. She tells me it's a different gate. The guy takes me there (3:45) and drops me off. I had to run down an escalator and a few gates away until I reached mine where everyone was lined up to get on the plane.
My ticket gets scanned and I'm walking onto the plane w/ tears in my eyes. The stress was over and I realized that I wasn't even back 'home' yet and I'd already seen the Father provide for me in a sort of big way. My friend and her husband and daughter were waiting for me when I arrived. I went to their house for dinner and then came back to my apartment, showered, unpacked and slept.
To be honest, yesterday was difficult. I think I cried on every plane I got on. Leaving home this time was easier and harder all at the same time. I know what I'm doing these next 6 months. I know when I'm coming home. But I know how much I'm coming home to and how much I'm missing. I have some big stuff going on and not being there for a lot of it is hard. I'm trying to keep my mind on my 'no bad days' principle and it's helping. Today I decided to venture out and hope that a grocery store was open so I could stock up on some produce before the city shuts down. This city is dead. On a street w/ about 30 stores, maybe 4 of them are open. Banks are closed. Streets are empty. It's just dead here. It's peaceful and gives me time to transition back w/out being overwhelmed, but it's not the same city I left.
|Campus is empty. It's so quiet.|
|Normally this place is filled w/ food vendors and students.|
|2 restaurants and 1 convenient store were the only things open.|
|Something is being set up for tonight I'm guessing. I hope I get to go check it out.|
|I'm pretty sure these are the fireworks for tonight. If you look at the left you can see they go around the corner too.|
|Awful selfie. Yup. It's like 80 degrees here in the sun. It's HOT! And I'm SUPER white. AND I brought my flat iron so I have straight hair. WOO! Ok, I'm done.|
Happy (Chinese) New Year!