Tuesday, September 7, 2010

i made it to china!

Entering Bengbu City
I finally got internet and boy do I have adventures to share already! China is very different than America. It’s going to take a little getting used to but I made it!

After traveling for hours and hours I made it to China. It all started in SLC. I met up with everyone at the airport. Cami brought Rachel and I cute little treat bags for the flight. In them she had put a lot of yummy treats and snacks and cute Chinese friendship bracelets for each of us. After going through security we found our gate and we’re ready to board. While we were standing there waiting Tori, my head teacher, and I realized that we had the same little thumbs. She calls them stumps :) That was exciting! Our first plane ride was to Las Vegas. We had a 2 hour layover but it took us pretty much the whole 2 hours to figure out where our next gate was because that airport is HUGE! Next we flew to L.A. That was a surprise. We flew there got off the plane and three hours later hopped right back on that same plane, same seats and everything. It just needed to refuel. The longest flight of the trip was ahead of us and we were ready!

Our Last Goodbye's
 The plane ride was great. We received eye masks, slippers, little toothbrushes, blankey’s, and pillows. We sure enjoyed our flight. We each had individual T.V.’s in front of us to watch movies, play games, and listen to music. We got on the airplane at about 1 in the morning our time. We were so tired but we tried on our eye masks and took lots of pictures then crashed. We all fell asleep. Cami, Rachel, and I were all sitting next to each other and about two hours into our sleep the flight attendants were tapping out shoulders waking us up for dinner, dinner? It was the middle of the night. We woke up to pasta and beef being shoved in our faces. Mm…I love airplane food ;) After two more meals, lots of movies, and sleeping we landed in Korea! From then on all eyes were on us and we didn’t understand ANYONE. Story of our lives for the next 4 months. During our long flight Cami and I caught a strange case of what we call “elephantitis” our feet swelled up! After a bit of walking around, and elevating our feet we were better in no time. We were in the Korean airport for 6 hours luckily the airport was very nice. There were a lot of fun stores to shop in and perfume stores to freshen up. We did that a few times. After traveling for 2 days you start to stink pretty bad :) There were free culture events going on so we sat down and painted Korean flowers on fans for a little while. Those fans sure came in handy later on. Just a little after that we boarded our flight to China it got real hot. I didn’t think we were ever going to get there. Rach and I sat next to each other and Cami, Brittney and Tori were across the isle from us. Hailee and Hannah were on opposite sides of the airplane.
Fancy airplane slippers

We got a lot of sleep

China friendship bracelets


Korea Airport
Free culture event

We made it to China in 2 ½ hours and boy were we excited. When we arrived it was quite chaotic. We had to get our luggage (3 bags each) and go through customs. When we passed through the gate there she was! Mary, our native coordinator. What would we do without her! Immediately Mary took us into her arms and welcomed us to China. She is so sweet and she has made our stay in China so much more enjoyable. She’s sure taking good care of us. Another director from the school and two 2 drivers were with her. They directed us to our bus we would be driving in for the next 6 hours to get to our school. It took us about a half hour to actually find the bus, for some reason they couldn’t remember where they parked and couldn’t figure out how to get each of us and our 3 bags of luggage to the bus. When we finally found it we realized it was not a bus, it was a Chinese 12 passenger van (they’re skinnier and smaller than American 12 passenger vans. At this point I felt so disgusting. All I wanted was a shower. One of the drivers was super creepy and loved all the attention that he was receiving from leading us American’s around the airport. At this point all seven of us girls were staring at this van wondering how they were going to fit us 7, our 21 pieces of luggage, Mary, the other director and the two drivers. Somehow we did it! After we got our luggage into the van we went to get some lunch back in the airport. Rachel and I ordered some dumplings to share and instead we got some egg rolls…we learned that when communicating with Chinese people that don’t know our language things don’t always turn out right. I did get my light coke that I ordered and boy did that taste yummy to my tummy. When we loaded back into the van it was quite squishy. My legs were on top of one of my bags and I was holding my backpack on my lap. Our 6 hour drive turned into 8 because of all the traffic coming out of Shanghai. There are lanes but you don’t have to stay in them if you don’t want to. As long as you honk your horn you’re good to go anywhere you want, even if it is on the wrong side of the road. Just honk lots and the car coming head on will move out of your way. I finally had to quit looking out the window :)

Sweet Mary and I

Our crowded van

The Chinese people take a lot of rests. We had many rests on our way to Bengbu. At each rest stop they made all of us get out of the van.

Rest stop #1

We had the driver take our picture and he TOTALLY cut out Cami :(Sometimes we were sound asleep and yes, the creepy driver in the yellow shirt always made us get out. He took a smoke break at every stop and even while we were driving he'd smoke. We all coughed and hoped that he'd understand we didn't like that. I think he thought we were attracted to that. Gross! At the first rest stop Mr. Lou bought us all a snack. It was so kind of him. The package said French bread on it, but it tasted more like a muffin. It wasn’t too bad. After many more miserable hours all squished in a van we made it to our school!

First Chinese Snack - French Bread

Anhui Mayflora International School is actually about 30 minutes away from Bengbu. So I’m out in the middle of nowhere but it’s beautiful. There are lots of green fields and a river that runs right along side the road. China is very different than home, but I’m starting to get used to things. It was really hard but now that I’ve pounded it into my head that I’m not going home for 4 months and have to get used to things here I’m feeling much better.

Mayflora International School Campus