No, I didn’t actually see those exact words when I came to China, but I felt it nevertheless. After a 5-hour flight from Philly to LA, a 14-hour flight from LA to Shanghai, another 1-hour flight to Qingdao following a 5-hour layover, I officially arrived in Qingdao, China. As was expected, I got about 2-3 hours of sleep on the plane, which is far from desirable but to be expected. After arriving in Qingdao, I felt like a Mack truck filled with cinder blocks had run over my face several times or that somebody had found a 10-pound hammer and viciously struck my temple with it. Needless to say, I was exhausted and enervated. Aside from that, it was a great trip. No delays. No cancellations. Everything went as planned. I even got my check-in luggage in Qingdao, which was a delight to my soul. I didn’t really anticipate having no clothes or bedding for a week or two.
After Rob picked me up, I think I was in a state of shock and disbelief. I was actually in China. It wasn’t just a desire or a slight possibility anymore. It was reality. I was here. As I look ahead to these next 9 months, I have a mixture of excitement and trepidation. Excitement over the many opportunities available in this city, and trepidation over my inadequacies and adaptation to the culture itself. I think it may take a week or so to realize the impact of my decision to stay here. Not that I’m regretting it, but I’m expecting it to be quite the adventure.
After Rob dropped off the older Rob’s stuff at his house, we headed back to Rob’s house in Huangdao. We had some difficulty getting into the apartment, but after that, things went fairly smoothly. I displaced Maddie from her room (hopefully she took no offense at that) and was able to sleep on a comfy, soft mattress. Unfortunately my own apt. will not be blessed with a soft mattress, rather a hard, unfeeling, wooden “mattress.” Maybe my back will straighten out by the end of the trip. Oh yes, and apparently we presently have no cooking pots, pans, utensils, or washing machines in our apt. So I may be eating out for a while with unusually aromatic clothing. Whatever the case, I’m thankful to be here, and I hope I can be of some help to Rob and Gretchen in Huangdao.