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Published: January 4th 2007
Snow in Dalian before I left.
December 20th I was at the Beijing airport, 6 hours before my flight was to take off. I couldn't even check in my luggage for another hour and 45 minutes. They didn't have many benches to sit on, except one which was taken, so I moved my cart of luggage to the flowerbed next to it and sat down on the ledge. I sat there with my head in my hand, not paying too much attention to the ladies and the young baby on the bench next to me.
Boredom took over me and I glanced over and noticed one woman was filling out an application and the other lady was scarfing down a bowl of hot noodles as fast as she could. Her baby was very fidgety and was messing around with everything he could touch. I noticed that every once in a while, the scarfing noodle lady would plant a large kiss on her baby's head. How sweet.
So bored....then I began to notice that the lady wasn't actually swallowing the noodles. She was just chewing them up into mush. Then she was grabbing her baby's head and forcing the food into the its mouth with her tongue.
was so disgusting, yet so entertaining. It reminded me of a skit I'd seen on Saturday Night Live.
(I want to take this time to express my gratefullness to all the kind strangers that helped me on my way home. I don't know how I would have hauled all my luggage up the escalator, found the right gate...I even had help lifting my carry-on into the overhead bin. There were so many kind people that helped me and I wish they knew how grateful I am for that.)
I arrived at the Chicago airport just as the sun was setting. The sky had an orange glow, the grass was a faded green, and Gnarls Barkley was singing "I think you're crazy!!!!" into my ear.
I felt like where I was at the moment was the place where I belonged. I was in between homes. I want to be able to go back and forth but I can't. I feel like I don't belong anywhere. At that moment, I was scared that if I took another step towards my parent's house, I would be sucked in to stay there....forever...
I made myself get off anyway and hurry
because I only had an hour and a half to go through customs, recheck my luggage, get to another terminal, go through security, then catch my flight to Springfield. I was reminded I was in America when I passed by the waiting area and saw some very large people. Specifically one very large, red man melting over the seats in shorts and a t-shirt. Then also, when I was on a very tiny plane and everyone boarding either had an "Old Navy" shirt, a cowboy hat, or a college sweatshirt on and asked the following question to the flight attendent: "This here the plane to Springfield?"
I was glad to see my family. I know they were glad to see me because my mom cried a little. Dad took us to Red Lobster. I know I was talking "China this..and China that..." and the responses I got back were usually about the dog that was waiting at home. "Milly is going to be glad to see us. She doesn't like it when we're gone."
They brought up the fact that I had changed a lot, but it was in a disappointed tone. "Where is our sweet country girl?" They
On the way home I realized how small and spread out everything was. I noticed how many pawn shops, flea markets, tattoo parlors, "wine and spirits" drive-throughs, and cheap loan centers there were.
As soon as we arrived, home, the dog greeted us. My parents were so excited to see the dog. I had to look everytime it did something cute. I watched all the cute things it could do with its favorite toy, and how it could run, prance, and stand on its hind legs. It is a very cute dog.
It is very hard to adjust to the sleep schedule when you lose a day. I thought it was an advantage because night is when all the fun happens. What did I do before I left home? There isn't much to do around here. I saw my very best friend and went to her house, where she lives with her child and her fiance. Another friend came and brought a movie. While those two guys watched the movie though, she and I played with her girl and just talked. It was really great to catch up with her. She is doing really well. I
am proud of her.
The next night, we went to a Christmas party at Casey's house. It was a great night and I caught up with my old friends. Casey's mom did very well at preparing food for us and even getting each one us individual gifts. Too bad she couldn't show up. I don't think Casey invited her.
I outdid my family on the gifts. It was great. One funny highlight of the holidays: my family always makes fun of one of my cousins because everytime you ask him something...well his response to anything is usually a grunted "I don't care!" My mom came over to our table, and asked us if he wanted a roll. "I don't care." He grunted. I almost coughed up my food trying to stifle a laugh. My mom was really pissed.
December 31 I made several calls and found out that none of my friends were doing anything special for the new year. So, Casey and I attended the New Year's Party at the Opera House. It started at 6:30 and we didn't arrive till about 10. When we got there, the band was playing, a few couples were dancing,
but it wasn't that populated. A majority of the people were sitting at the tables and by their mood, I'm sure they were checking the time every few minutes. It was very boring. We sat at the back and folded paper airplanes, trying to hit people for points. Then the paper was gone and we were checking the time every few minutes too. Midnight finally came about 5 hours later, we sang Ald Lang Syne, and everyone was relieved to go home.
I drove home safe. Because no one drinks and drives at 12:10 am. *sigh
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