"Wish You Happy Every Day": An Expat's Life in China


On the road…in the air
August 29, 2010, 3:53 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

NOTE: This entry was written August 28th, China time.

I’M FREE! Aching all over, but my sixteen-hour flight is over. My internal clock says it’s 4:45am, but it’s a bustling afternoon here in the Hong Kong International Airport. I have a five hour layover here, and then another four hours on a plane to look forward to.

Thank God I don’t have to do this again for another year.

If you ever plan to come to Hong Kong, here’s a piece of indispensable advice: don’t fly Cathay Pacific. The seats stay in upright position!  Honestly, what brilliant mind thought of that–for a sixteen hour flight, no less!  On the bright side, they do offer a range of TV shows and movies.  Two and a Half Men and the Big Bang Theory did wonders to help me forget the pain in my shoulder.  I also watched the movie “Remember Me”…twice, I’m afraid.

Leaving New York feels like so long ago now. It was still dark outside when my journey began at 5:30 this morning. I said goodbye to my family, struggled to get all of my baggage out the door, and clambered into the SuperShuttle van.  My fellow passengers and I were all silent, and in the silence I tried to process the huge, radical life change I was making.  The first thing I noticed was that my thoughts finally did not include a panicked voice screaming, “What on earth am I doing???”  Maybe it has to do with leaving so early in the morning; all the way to Queens, the sun rose steadily, but the city barely crawled with life.  As we crossed the bridge, I watched Manhattan wake up and thought, It’s OK. I’m going to come back, so it’s all right to leave for now. I thought about my family and my friends and everything that I was leaving behind, knowing that this was not a permanent goodbye. Besides, all of this was a good distraction from the fact that these SuperShuttle people drive like they’re looking for an accident. We got to JFK and I started thinking about how pretty the concrete and the road looked in the sunlight.  Then I told myself to stop being so dramatic.

Now, my insides feel like one giant knot, but I am also excited to arrive in Dalian to start my new life and teach…though, honestly, right now I’m mostly excited for a shower and sleep. Speaking of which, my plane is boarding.  Hello, Dalian, here I come!

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