Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Warning, long post ahead.

Just so you know, I've got a lot to say and it's going to take a lot of typing to say it. So if you want the short version, here it is. I moved to China. If you want the long version, read on.

Let me begin at the beginning. Sounds logical enough. So last Friday I got all packed up and went to the airport. If memory serves me correctly, I got there around 1:45 for my 4:00 flight. I made it through all the goodbyes without tooooo many tears, made it through the metal detectors, and almost made it past the bag x-ray. Alas, my Starbucks mug looked suspicious and they had to get it out of my bag to make sure it wasn't a bomb or something. Of course, it was in the bottom of my bag so everything else had to come out, too. The whole time this is happening, in the distance I can hear Christy yelling "Don't go, Bubbaaaa!" I'm puffy eyed, Christy's yelling, and I'm just hoping the inspector guy doesn't get even more suspicious. But I made it through. I met up with 4 other China teachers at the gate, our flight left on time, and we made our way to Salt Lake City and beyond. We met up with yet more teachers and went to LA, where we met up with pretty much everyone else. Minus the Hills, who are coming to Shiyan with us. They missed their flight from Buffalo, or so I was told. I guess they'll be a few days behind us.

The flight from LA to Guangzhou was 15 hours and 32 minutes. During the course of the flight I was able to sleep for maybe 5 hours. However, China Southern Airlines was kind enough to entertain us with a French movie and some random Chinese TV stations. It made for quite a long flight. I did have the pleasure of sitting next to Wayne from Rochester. He was on his way to meet his son and his daughter-in-law. They've been in Kaifeng for two weeks in the final processes of adopting a baby boy. Now they're spending one last week in Guangzhou as they finish the paperwork. Wayne was very eager to hear about my job in China and all of the Teaching that I get to do. He asked me questions for me most of the time that we were both awake and I was glad to tell him all about it.

In Guangzhou I bid farewell to Wayne, grabbed my bags and made my way through the customs line. Then there was a 20 minute walk across the airport to our gate. We only had a couple of hours between landing and our next flight, so there wasn't enough time to get bored or anything in the airport. I did, however have the chance to finally put on a clean shirt. Greatest feeling ever! We made our last flight to Wuhan, where everyone was met by representatives from their respective schools. After splitting off from the pack, the four of us going to the Automobile School jammed our bags into a van, piled ourselves in, and settled in for the hour long trip across town to the hotel. The first time I came to China, we just caught a train to Shiyan the same day we arrived in Wuhan. Now the laws have changed and we're required to take a medical exam in Wuhan before leaving. So we got to spend the night and go to the foreigner's hospital at 8:30 the next morning. It wouldn't have been so bad except that we were told that getting our bags into the van was such a tough job that we just weren't going to bother taking them out again. So unless there were some clean clothes within easy reach, that's just too bad and so sad. Oh well, that's what happens when you move to China. You get tired and you smell and you put up with it until you can do something about it.

After making our way through the gauntlet of the medical exam (blood test, chest x-ray, ultrasound, vision test, ecg, and weight and height measurement) we grabbed a quick bite to each and had a 6 hour luxury ride down the new expressway to Shiyan. By the way, for the second time in a row I was too tall to be measured by the height stick thing on the scale. It's kind of weird when your doctor starts to giggle like a schoolgirl just because you're taller than the measuring stick. Anyways, we got here to Shiyan around 6, got into our apartments, and made our way down the hill to see Happy Guy. If you don't know, Happy Guy owns a restaurant at the entrance to our school. He's one of my best friends here. He was SO excited to see me. His kids saw me coming and ran in to tell him I was there. It was a good reunion. We sat and "talked" and ate for a while. I introduced him to Derek and Angelyn, who were with me. Cindy, the fourth teacher, had opted to stay at her apartment, so we took her some food afterwards. We had fun talking because I speak about as much Chinese as he does English, which doesn't seem like much when you're trying to have a long conversation. I think good times were had all around, though. Eventually he had to go work in the kitchen so we finished eating and came back to our apartments. After getting a chance to actually look around the apartment everything seemed in order except for the phone and the air conditioner. The phone just flat out doesn't work and the a/c blows out lukewarm air. I'm sure I've already lost 5 pounds from sweating. I'm in the midst of moving to the 4th floor since the air conditioner and phone work in that apartment. However, there's no remote control to turn on the air in that apartment and there's no way to get one until tomorrow so for tonight I'm just sort of in between apartments. I moved some of my stuff up there, but I'll sleep down here on the third floor tonight since the a/c at least turns on.

Well, I'm getting mighty hungry so I think I'll end here for now. There's more to come about our trip to the bank to exchange money and how we attracted a crowd of about 20 people while shopping today. But food comes first!


Neals in Nashville said...

"BUBBA!! DON"T GOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!" ...he he. so glad you made it safe and sound! Jen and I just read over your latest entry...very entertaining. :) I am gonna make it a priority to check your blog at least once a month. HA!! No seriously - I miss you already and will be keepin tabs on ya thru the bloggage. Love ya!!

Grams said...

Glad to know it was a "required" exam -- I thought you broke a leg or something. I'm disappointed that you didn't get to ride the train:) Glad you are there and everything seems to be going smoothly so far. Can't wait for your next news.

TexasNeals said...

Man, just reading that made me tired. Glad you made it. Texas says hi.

Rachel said...

new jersey says hi too! south jersey, to be exact :-) so tony left me an IM and said that he's coming up here soon, and i'm looking forward to hanging out w/ him... but it just won't be the same hanging out with him without you!! keep the updates comin' ...

AuntD said...

So glad you arrived safely!! I really need to move to China...I might be considered tall there. Maybe the measuring stick will be too short for me too (in my dreams) We're visiting your short cousins in Dennison this week-end. Gmother will be driving us in her new limo. Take care. We love you.

Aunt D and Uncle L

Liz Howard said...


Fun times, fun times. ^^

Glad you're having a good time!!