LAST NIGHT IN CHINA
This past week has been a bit of a blur. It's not that I was too busy, but the day for my departure approached rather quickly anyway. The week was filled with goodbyes which is not my favorite way to spend my time, but, fortunately enough for me, I'm coming back. I can't imagine how different I would feel if I knew I wouldn't be returning in two months.
Thursday a group of Derek's students came over to cook dinner for us. We were also blessed with the presence of many of our other close friends who came to hang out for the evening or spend the night. In fact, Sara and Jean who both have moved to towns outside Shiyan to begin their medical internships came back just to say goodbye. It was a pretty sweet evening.
Our plane home leaves from Wuhan (the capital of our province and a 6 hour train ride away) on Sunday, but Derek and I decided to leave Shiyan on Friday to spend a day in Wuhan checking out a coffee house (for me) and buying some souvenirs (for Derek). So all morning Friday we ran errands, finished up classes, and spent some last minute time with our Chinese friends. Our train left at 3:58 (to be exact, Angel!) and so we said our last goodbyes to most of our friends at our apartment an hour before. There was a great turnout, and it was such a blessing to see so many friendly and loving faces wishing us well. Derek will not return next year, and, again, I can't imagine what that would be like. It was hard enough for me to say goodbye for just two months!
We arrived in Wuhan last night around 10 o'clock. Another foreign teacher in Wuhan, Janell, lives about 10 minutes from the train station so we took a taxi to her place. She's at a great location and is very hospitable to many of us Shiyan people who have used her apartment on various occasions throughout the year.
I've been getting some advice about how to deal with jet lag. The general consensus is to wear yourself out before flying so that you can sleep very well on the plane. Last night Janell and I stayed up until 4 o'clock talking and tonight the Lewises (who arrived this afternoon) and the rest of us are attempting to pull an all-nighter. They've begun to watch season six of 24. I've only seen season one of this show, and I'm not as into it as everyone else, but I am going to try to stay up with them.
Today was a pretty nice day in Wuhan. Up until today, I have had nothing but rather negative experiences in this polluted, frustrating city. This morning we slept in, but then we met a couple of other teachers for lunch at a Brazilian BBQ place. It's been awhile since I've had so much meat at one sitting. Basically, these waiters walk around carrying different types of meat on a stick and a sharp knife. When they walk by your table, they ask if you want the meat. If you do, then they shave off as much of it as you want. It's an all you can eat place so we more than stuffed ourselves with lamb, steak, bacon, glazed fat and countless other types of meat. It was grotesquely delicious!
The afternoon I spent touring Mr. Mai's coffee shop. It's a coffee house that provides English speaking opportunities (among other opportunities!). It has a really cool setup. Plus, the coffee and desserts were a great treat after being subjected to underpar instant coffee for several months.
Tomorrow our plane leaves around 3 o'clock. From there we fly to Guangzhou and have a five hour layover. Then we'll fly to L.A and, hopefully, we'll all be so exhausted, we'll sleep most of the way (though I've already been assured by Courtny that I can expect to receive no sleep at all). We'll see.