Thought there would be Internet on an international flight, but not on Air China. I am unusually rested for a journey of this nature, and for the first time I know I am really going to miss my family and can think clearly about it. It has been three years since I last traveled abroad, which is straight crazy talk. I love travel, its what keeps me alive and the light within me shining bright. I love it the way most girls feel about the newest designer whatever; it is something I work towards, dream about, and feel absolutely me when enveloped in it. In the past, I have decided to go somewhere and have just up and left. This trip is different. It is true what they say; the older you get the harder it is to move abroad - “So do it while your young!” That’s all everyone kept saying to me. I could tell they were worried/didn’t get why I would leave again at the time when most Texas women are looking for a husband or people have found a steady career choice. This is something that I needed, but not something that came easy, because this is the first time that I have not just wanted to get the hell out of wherever I was. I loved Chicago and made some wonderful friends there. The city is an architectural delight with massive buildings rising up around a snaking river, greeted by the emerald, oceanic Lake Michigan. However, with all the beauty surrounding me, I was antsy and uninspired. This was not Chicago’s fault by any means; it was mine. What inspires me is being somewhere that both seduces and challenges me. Chicago was lovely, but it was easy. This is why I am on my way to Taiwan.
In the past, I have left for my adventures sprinting, head up and you’d never catch me looking back. Things are a bit different this time around. One thing that remains the same is the ritual that takes place when I leave home. This consists of our three hysterical cocker spaniels barking, my father freaking out yelling/having me do very important things that slipped his mind until minutes before we needed to leave the house, my little sister(s) yelling, and me yelling at all of them; basically all of us howling like a panicked, confused pack of retarded wolves to keep our minds off the fact that I am leaving for an indefinite amount of time. Except for my mother, who is picture of patience, elegance, and grace at all times. This is literally what it is like every time I leave. Usually, I get angry, but today I held onto it, because this is my family and I love them; I have left home before, and know I will miss them. I was also on a nice, heavy dose of Xanax, which may be the real reason for my calm demeanor this morning.
At the moment, I am on the second leg of my 37-hour journey to Taiwan. First was the flight from Houston to San Francisco. Now I am on my way to Beijing. The flight from San Francisco to Beijing is about 13 hours, and I arrive there at 5:30 p.m. with a 13-hour layover. I am debating whether or not to go out in Beijing. First, I don’t know the language or anyone there, but I feel that if I am going to be in Beijing for such a long time, I might as well take advantage of it. I guess I will see how I feel when I get there. I was planning on researching on the plane, but again, no Internet. I guess I will have to study up on my Mandarin and see if I am good enough by the time I land to run around the town, but there have got to be people that speak English in such a big, international city, right? Already this is a very different trip than any I have ever taken. To begin with: I am going alone. I am also going to a country where I know very little of the language except to say “hello”, “yes”, “please”, and “thank you”. I am pretty sure I also just learned how to say “beef”, because the boy next to me asked for beef for dinner with his rice. I ordered chicken. This is also the first time I have ever felt like a minority. At least in Argentina, I knew the language enough and was usually mistaken for a local, due to all the German immigration they had there after WWII.
Its funny, I was looking at the people around me while we were eating dinner to make sure I was doing everything properly. I was. I guess we all eat the same. Haha… saweeet - I found something I have in common with the Chinese so far. Something that I have noticed that is different is that a lot of people on the plane take off their shoes and/or wear slippers…. I am going to have to invest in a nice pair of slippers.
To end this post I just want to let you all know what that I had chicken and rice for dinner and shrimp and rice for breakfast. On a plane. Gross.