So Long Shanghai

Saturday, April 23, 2011: Homeward Bound

I was sad my week had to end. After a fantastic week flying around China and eating with family, it was time to snap back to reality. Reality meant back to school, medical school, and studying my brains to Jupiter again. Not like I study that hard in medical school compared to college, but still, I have to read books again and return to my time zone. Let’s say it took more than a good couple of slaps in the face to snap me back out of vacation mode…

For our farewell breakfast, Xiao Jiu Ma made us wonton soup and 湯團 Tang Tuan. It is apparently a Chinese custom to eat wontons or tang tuan before a departing for home to ensure a safe trip:  路上平安 Lu Shang Ping An =) We did have something to worry about for the trip back home:  bags and bags of stuff.  Coming to Shanghai, we all packed lightly; for one, I had one backpack and a pocketbook. There were also two duffel bags, a medium Nike red one and a large blue camping bag. Originally, Mom wanted to chuck away the big blue bag because it was so heavy. Not happening! We actually ran out of room stuffing all our goods:  gifts, biscuits, pastries, SHOES, clothes, etc… Consolidation was difficult, so we ended up carrying gift bags in our hands anyway. I was concerned with our baggage check though, because I was not sure if the additional slew of bags counted as excess baggage… In the end, it did not matter; they were simply counted as gift bags and we were fine.

It was barely 8 am and we were ready for the airport. Xiao Wang came to drive us to Hong Qiao Airport. Qing Qing and Xiao Chen accompanied us on our last ride together. We waved goodbye to Jiu Jiu and Xiao Jiu Ma, not for the last time of course. It was a hazy, lazy morning as we drove to the airport. God I really was going to miss a place I’ve come to equate with home!

At the airport, Qing Qing and Xiao Chen continued to help us through and through, until the security check area, with our overweight bags and handicapped Pops. Without them, my arms were going to crack in half. Either way, without their enormous help from the security check in, my arms would still break apart and my back sore ={ It was a sad goodbye, because I have come to know Qing Qing so well over this week, whom I met for the first time since a long, long time ago, a time I barely remember in the deep cobwebs of my brain. From here on out, I will remember all the incredible expeditions with Qing Qing and Xiao Chen and what wonderful people they genuinely are. I learned a great deal about China with them, and I hope we have taught them just as much about America. Like I told everyone else during our family encounters and farewells, I hope to have them come to New York one day and show them the best America has to offer! I will be their personal tour guide, as I lived a culturally-thrilling four years in Manhattan. Funny thing though, we have always complained they don’t leave Shanghai enough to visit us in America, when in fact, Yi Fu told us he did come to New York for a business trip. We just missed his phone call because Mom tends to ignore incoming calls labeled “unavailable.” Our paths crossed but missed, just like in those sad Asian dramas… Anyway, we all hugged tightly and wished for the best! No matter how much we have come to love life’s bliss and treasures in Shanghai, we had to part ways and move on until next time. Next time will surely NOT be a decade!

In the airport, we were lucky, again, to have assistance. An airport staff member gave us priority in passing the VISA check line and catching the elevator. He escorted Dad with us, who happened to be a convenient shopping cart because he loaded some baggage and gift bags on his lap. He certainly made himself useful. At the departure gate, the Chinese man took us through another special security check usually for first-class. Ah, now I got a chance to walk through a special corridor with the first-class riders! On the plane we go, back to Detroit!!  Next post:  How I stayed sane and not somnolent on the long flight ahead…

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