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Sarah in China July 27, 2009

Posted by markgeil in Travel.
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Our oldest daughter Sarah is in China right now with a school trip. You might have seen some reports in the news about students being quaratined there due to swine flu. Same trip. Her group got through the quaratine just fine, and although it’s disrupted their travel plans a bit they’re having a great time. Here are some accounts from a journal she’s keeeping. They remind me of my own student travels and the joys of being surrounded by a barrage of new experiences.

Departure day: July 14th

After months of preparing, deciding, freaking out, praying, and packing, it is hard to believe I am finally on my way to China. At 8:45, after hours of throwing in last minute things, Tina picked us up. We talked and found a few more things before saying goodbye to my house for 17 days. We went to a VBS inflicted church where Pastor Aaron prayed a beautiful prayer for us. Added to the many others that are praying, I know the trip will be great.

We all went to the airport where we arrived 30 minutes early, but were not the first ones. We waited, checked in, took pictures, compared tickets, waited, and finally arrived to the climatic point of the day, saying goodbye. A tearful separation later, and we were on our way, “buddied” up and on the way to Terminal E for international boarding. We arrived together at the terminal and dropped off bags to go eat lunch. After lunch I went back to the terminal and noticed a plane pulled up to our door thing. Our plane was double decker and “new!”

Zone 4 was finally called and the group clad in extra large Confucius shirts made their way to the line. I handed my boarding pass and boarded the plane. I found row thirty one easier (on the bottom level much to my dismay!) than I found letter “E”, but I found it and sat down as I watched a few more people board. Typical of my plane ride experiences, nobody sat in the 4 chairs in the row but me! I watched as people passed but none entered row 31. Finally people stopped coming and flight attendants started making their rounds. Still no one joined the row with me. I was slightly amazed, slightly sad to be lonely, but also excited because I had four chairs to one person. I looked around and was watching the action when a flight attendant asked me if I was with the bridge program too. I thought she said “Rich program,” so I answered along these lines, “Well, yes, but I’m not rich?” She corrected me and then asked why no one was sitting next to me. I shrugged and she said, “Well let’s get you some friends, Who do you want?” Again I shrugged and said, “anybody” with a small, nervous, chuckle. She went and brought back Tyler, Shelby, and Walker who now all share row 31. We are two hours into the flight and have talked, eaten, said “YES!” to whatever the workers offered, eaten “Linner”(Lunch and dinner at 4 o’clock! Chicken, shrimp, salad, bread, crackers, mashed potatoes, green beans, and a cookies and cream brownie) And I am now writing in the turbulence while the rest of the row is asleep. Already having a blast, and wondering when it will really register that I am actually on my way to China! (The green tea served on the plane is helping!)

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