Early start to the day,
Well, no scratch that.. Actually my trip started on the 15th. We left Fort St. James in the late afternoon to drive 2 hours to Prince George. Both my mother and I were catching early flights to Vancouver and didn’t really feel like waking up at 2 am then proceed to drive to the airport straight from home. We got to our hotel in the evening, and here is the weird/funny/ what ever you want to call it part of the story.
Originally my mom had booked a room with 2 double beds thinking that it would be just herself and me. In the end my father and my little brother wanted to see us off at the airport so they tagged along as well.Little did they know that they would have to share a double bed that night. My mom and I managed to sleep somewhat comfortably in a double bed, but throughout the night I would wake up to the sound of :
“Hey, you retard stop stealing the blankets!”
or : “Move over, you’re taking up the whole bed”
as well as something along the lines of: “SsSSHhhhhhh both of you be quiet!”
from my mother …and so on.
I have mentioned in earlier posts that my little brother, well is not so little. He was graced with size 13 feet and a height of 6 feet. And he is only 14 years old. my father is 6’1 and is built the same. Thank god I didn’t have to sleep with either of them. I probably would have ended up sleeping in the bathtub that night.
Anyways it was one of those moments when you put 4 people in a room, a very tiny room that you realize how much you love your family. No matter how bizarre, weird, or how loud they snore. I laid there in bed beside a giggling mom, joined in by the roaring laughter of my brother and dad and that’s when I realised:
” yeah I’ve got a weird family, but I wouldn’t have it any other way”.
Its moments like that happen simply to remind you just how lucky you are.
So that was July 15.
Now July 16,
Who wants to get on a plane at 6 in the morning?
(If you raised your hand, seriously…. You’re alone on this one)
This was the first time I was going to meet the girl who was joining my two friends and myself on this trip. Jessy, is a redhead also; so of course we automatically clicked!
So it was the 3 gingers and Grady. “4G”
Parker, Grady and I have traveled to europe earlier in the year, but having Jessy come along with us to China really made things ten times more fun.
We left Prince George to meet up with the rest of our group from Vancouver Island at Vancouver airport.
Photo taken by: Carmen Denomme
From left to right: Brooke, Ashleigh, Sam, Emily, Heather, ME!, Jessy, Grady, and Parker
It was similar to first day of kindergarten, or first day of highschool. The shy game was played for a few hours then we all warmed up to each other quite quickly. I had a feeling that this was going to be an epic trip.
So we board the plane, and of course we are booked to sit in the economy section. What did you think? A small town girl reclining in first class with all the foot rest, comfort, and special treatment? Pfffft. Nope. To the back of the plane we go. When I went to Greece my seat was quite close to the airplane toilet. Ya no, don’t ever book your seat there unless you have a bladder of a gerbil. It was not a good place to sit. Anyways back to this plane ride. I went to my designated seat only to find that it was occupied by another traveler. “No big deal” I thought as long as I find a place to sit. But have you ever noticed that if you stop moving in the aisle on an airplane while people are boarding it turns into a barbaric race to seats? People pushing, leaning awkwardly over people’s laps, people being konked in the head by someones bag being put in the overhead compartment and of course the grand daddy of all the awkward moments. Some old man’s butt in your face as he attempts to pick up his pen/newspaper/bag of cheezies/whatever he dropped. Then being in the midst of chaos, decides to back the trunk up where? right in your face. Yeah, I caused all just by standing in the way.
I catch an attendant’s eye, and notify him that my seat has been taken and ask where should I sit now. He glances behind me and sees the Twister game of scrambling passengers and says “one second I’ll be there shortly”. Alrighty then, back to the grind/awkward fest in the aisle I go. I didn’t really care if I got my seat, I just wanted any seat.So I didn’t have to stand there and get looks like “MOVE WOMAN!”. I hate causing a problem but there was no way to not cause a problem. Another attendant sees me so I repeat my plea. She looks at the passenger sitting in my seat and asks for her plane ticket.
Long story short, this girl sitting in my seat was supposed to sit where this girl was sitting, but that girl had switched seats with an old woman for a window seat and that old woman well, she wasn’t even sitting in the correct row.
The first attendant came back with a flustered look on his face, and both the attendants attempt to shuffle everyone to their right seats. The old lady scurries to her seat and seeing how much more chaos this would create by moving 2 more other people I just offer to sit in the seat that the girl in my seat should be sitting in.
I didn’t realize that finding a seat would be so hard.
I don’t have any pictures from the plane ride over to Beijing. Why? Because I was completely into the book “Water for Elephants” Go to the website below to find out more about this novel:
So the 10 hours plane ride went along the lines of this:
Reading, attempting to sleep ( emphasis on “attempting”), and playing the game “what’s this?” with my airplane food. ( For those who travel frequently and need something to entertain you on long trips, or you are traveling with small children, this is an excellent way to pass the time while you wait for you lump of something to finish cooling off, solidifying, liquefying, growing eyes… etc but I must warn you… If you get to into the game you just may lose your appetite.)
Closer to the end of the flight I made friends with the girl sitting beside me on the plane. Like how can you not talk to the person beside you if you have shared an armrest for 10 hours. She was also going to Beijing to attend the camp.
There was also the trips to the claustrophobic bathroom, hah can you imagine hitting turbulence while being in the airplane washroom? I wonder if anybody has. Not being a fan of those port-a-potty closets, I have never experienced it, I am probably not the only one who tries to stay away from those things. Ever try to brush your teeth in one of those things with the awkward sinks and taps that don’t seem normal at all? Like how can those flight attendants look even half decent making a living on a plane.
If I was an attendant you wouldn’t catch me in a pencil skirt and red ribbon tied around my neck. I would be serving your breakfast in bunny slippers and be outfitted in Lululemon or some other comfy get up. Maybe a onesie?
Anyways don’t picture me in a onesie. Here is a picture of the girl I shared an armrest with,her name is Cicyetkwu.
So plane lands, we all get off, collect our luggage, and meet out in front of where the arrivals come out. This is my first taste of China.
There are people EVERYWHERE. People hugging,kissing,talking,smiling,laughing,pushing past you,staring at you, ( I guess red hair stands out quite a lot over there), and last but not least there was a crazy amount of people sweating. I know you must be thinking:
“why? what? why would you notice something like that? EW!”
But hear me out okay? The heat there was intense, and the humidity exaggerated the feeling of I don’t how to explain it. It’s like you have a thin layer of heat always on you and there is no way to escape it. So like, you were always sweating…Yeah I write about peculiar things. But that is how my mind works I guess.
Another thing I noticed was that our group was being filmed and photographed. Somewhat weird, but I guess this camp was a big deal so there was going to be some footage of it being used in the future. So once all the Canadians were gathered and counted like baby chicks, we were ushered out into the real China, the China past the airport exit. The heat hits you once you step out of the airport, and god does it ever feel nice. My summer back in Canada has not been hot at all so to feel this was amazing. Finally I’ll be able to wear my short shorts and not get goosebumps!
But boy was I ever craving a shower and a real sink to brush my teeth in…
Long flights are not glamorous at all but hey I wasn’t looking forward to the airplane. The airplane was just being used to get me to my destination. I was coming to China and that was a big deal for me, so at that moment I really didn’t care if I looked like a little rug-rat that just fell out of a hay stack. I WAS IN CHINA! Working almost everyday since school ended and saving every penny that I possessed brought me here! (well… as well as some very generous parents…)
So we stuff our suitcases in the bottom of a tourist bus, and all clamber on. Here is Parker and I after our flight. Both of us are a little messed up from the 15 hour time change. But hey we survived the noxious plane food, closet toilets, and hours of sitting in a chair that is far from comfortable.
I don’t know if it is just me, but I absolutely love Chinese Characters. They are much prettier to look at than English.
But do you think I could write you a love poem in Mandarin?
I don’t posses those skills, and i don’t think I could wing it either.
It would probably look like worm tracks in mud or some vulgar abstract creation.
So we arrive at our campus, a High school with a dormitory and I soon learn that my room, Shared with Jessy, Parker, and Jacqueline ( a student from Vancouver) was found on the 6th floor and that there was no elevators. So we busted some muscle and trudged up the stairs with out suitcases.
Thank god I packed light, I could pick up my suitcase by the handles and carry it while others dragged their’s up, step by step, as if they had packed a midget clown in their suitcase that had weighed a good 100 pounds.
This is my good friend Parker 😉
After we got settled in, we went for dinner in the cafeteria. Our first real taste of chinese food, made in China. This is not like the chinese restaurant that resides in my town, with the neon pinky red sweet and sour pork, chow mein, and deep friend prawns. This was REAL chinese food.
Parker’s dinner (with the juice cup in the picture), Jessy’s dinner (with the weird powder puff fluffster thingy on the plate)
I would describe what the meals tasted like but here is the sucky part. Even though there was a large selection of food, some that I have never ever seen before, I have an eating problem, so I have a very, very restricted diet. So I lived on a very bland diet while I was there which included:
and wait…MORE RICE!
Thinking the food would be a problem, my suitcase was packed with energy bars and mints. ( I’m addicted to scotch mints) So I survived. I got pretty excited when they had fresh fruit out, because I soon learned that I would be eating rice 3 times a day while I was there. This lasted for about 6 days into the camp when I finally scrounged through my suitcase and found instant oatmeal. I was very excited to eat oatmeal, VERY excited.
I still cringe when I see rice.
I have had enough to last me a while now.
After dinner, Michael, one of the teachers at the camp took us on a tour of the classes. He was teacher of class 5. Our teacher Gaby, was teacher of class 6. There were very helpful and charming. They were excellent teachers, and soon became fans of Canada!
Gaby on the left, Michael on the right, with gifts from the Canadian students.
After our tour we head back up to our rooms, on the way we pick up our uniform, our study books, and a book with the itinerary and other helpful tid-bits inside. We also got a lanyard with our name and nationality on them. When I say uniform I mean this:
We looked like a mob of grapes everywhere we went.
Or an invasion of life-size purple smarties.
There was absolutely no way you could make this shirt look sexy, or even cute. The sizes where huge, so when I wore mine it hid my shorts looking like I had gotten distracted while getting dressed, and simply forgot to wear shorts.
Just to calm down any conservative people out there I always wore shorts under the shirt,
I am not that crazy.
It was bedtime for the sleepy Canadians, so we climbed into our metal framed bunk beds and laid down on the non-existent mattress. It was like sleeping on the floor, not carpet really but similar to linoleum. Our air conditioning was set to high, and our blankets were super thin, but just enough to be comfortable in that hot weather.
I didn’t care about the mattress right then, I was just so happy to be sleeping horizontal and not in the sitting position so I rolled over and passed out almost immediately.
ahhh time to get horizontal ^