After two days of rest, I headed off to China. I was going to the Tibetan Plateau. Now, I already wrote a whole story for this, and honestly, that took quite a while. I'm just going to copy and paste everything here. I'm still revising and editing the little details, but this is what I have right now!
It started off pretty simply. I was just a fifteen-year-old heading off to China, alone for the first time, for an environmental volunteer event. I love the environment and all, but typically I don’t do anything for it. I truly wanted to go on this trip to educate people about the environment, but on the inside, I was also calculating how many volunteer hours I would receive, which I thus far still do not know. So being a horrible procrastinator and all, I started packing a few days before. Day of, I was still running around the house searching for some last-minute items.
My dad drove me to the Newark International Airport on July 23, 2015. I went through all the security and I got to my gate. Yeah, I was nervous. I was a minor flying halfway across the world, and I’ve seen the news of airplanes crashing and disappearing. Wouldn’t you be?
Anyways, I said my goodbyes to my dad and left him at the gate. I was boarding the plane, and I hoped that the people I was going to be sitting next to were acceptable and I was just crossing my fingers and hoping that there was not going to be a baby near me. Babies are cool and everything, I mean, we all have been one, but I would rather not be near, much less sit next to one for the next fourteen or so hours. I was lucky. The next moment, I wasn’t.
The intercom came on and told everyone that we’d have to get off of the plane due to the fact that their computers weren’t updated. Groans and “Come on!”s were heard throughout the plane, along with the flight attendants’ “Sorry for the inconvenience”s. So everyone slowly got off and headed back to the gate. I followed everyone and was reunited with my dad. I remember that I jokingly said, “Hey dad, I’m back! Did you miss me yet?” He didn’t reply. I don’t know if he heard me or not.
We ended up waiting at the gate for a solid two hours, In which time I was able to eat a large amount of tuna salad and a few sandwiches. When everything was finally up and running again, everyone lumbered back onto the plane. After a few minutes of taxiing, we at long last took off.
With a mixture of stretching, binge watching movies, and doing theory, I survived the flight. Somehow, I kept the contents of my stomach inside of me, even though the airplane food was absolutely just inedible. When we landed, I did my mini ritual of holding my hands up parallel to each other and whispering, “Touchdown.” I’m such an American.
Wearily, I left the plane with an assistant (because I was a minor), and I went to the luggage belt to search for my luggage. It took so long that I thought that my luggage was accidentally dropped in the Pacific Ocean or something. When the familiar item came into view, I immediately tried to snatch it, but my attendant stopped me and helped me retrieve it. Again, I breezed through security, and before long, I was with the people who were supposed to pick me up. They were Mike Zhang, my dad’s friend and once-colleague, and Jingbo Zhang, Mike’s nephew. Jingbo drove us to where I would be staying temporarily. The drive was nothing compared to the plane ride, but even so, I was exhausted. I barely stayed awake throughout the ride. After dropping everything off at Mike’s apartment and meeting Mike’s daughters, Catherine and Aileen, we went out to eat. As a “welcome to China” thing, we ate a large dinner that included one of my favorite dishes, sweet and sour fish that resembled a squirrel the way that it was prepared. The moment that my head hit my pillow when we were back at the apartment, I crashed.