My life changed drastically on Monday, August 27th. Around 9 am, I boarded an airplane and began the long journey to Shanghai, China. This small-town, mountain-loving, Vermont girl has had to make many adjustments to life in the bustling, crowded, dirty, flat, humongous city of Shanghai.
I struggled through the goodbyes to my parents, but I managed to hold it together pretty well until I got to Detroit. While waiting in Detroit for the flight to Shanghai, I saw a tearful family on the tarmac waiting to be united with their fallen Marine’s body. A hush fell over the terminal as travelers lined up along the windows and watched the sad proceedings. The solemn ceremony was too much for me on an already sad day, and I ended up sobbing as I thought about my brothers (one a Marine Corps veteran and another a Marine Corps Officer Candidate) and saying goodbye to my family. Even though I’ve made this trip across the Pacific a dozen times, it’s not any easier to leave home or say goodbye to my family.
I met most of the team in the terminal of the Detroit Airport. I saw my friends Dave and Desiree Talbert for the first time in 6 years right before we boarded the plane. While on the long flight to Shanghai, we’d occasionally gather in the corridor between sections of the plane and talk and look at pictures from the summer.
The flight was unremarkable–I slept fitfully, watched a couple of movies, and read. As you can imagine, after a 15 hour flight, I was relieved to finally get off the plane in Shanghai.
I collected my luggage–100 pounds for 5 1/2 months:
The customs process went quickly (it was super easy), and before I knew it, we were loading up the school’s bus with our baggage and piling in for the 30 minute drive to the school campus.
(These pictures were taken on my iPod. Sorry for the poor quality.)
We all worked together to lug the bags up to our floor, and within a short amount of time, I was installed in my new room. Thankfully, the air conditioner had been turned on, but the room was dusty, so I spent the next two hours rearranging the furniture and cleaning the room.
A previous teacher left me a chair, ottoman, lamp, and bookshelf, and I am grateful for those additions to my room. In one of the spare rooms, the teachers store extra furnishings and decorations that they do not need anymore or that other teachers left, so I raided the stores and came back with some red-themed items which made my room look more homey and comfortable.
Here are some pictures of my room now:
This is the view as I walk into the room. There’s a bathroom on the right and a closet and cabinets on the left.
My bed and reading corner:
My desk, which I use all the time, and the TV, which collects dust:
We have the week off from school because the October Holiday and Mid-Autumn Festival fell on the same week this year (because the calendar is lunar based, many holidays occur at different times every year). Tomorrow Julie and I are going to IKEA, so I will hopefully be able to buy some plants, picture frames, pillows, and other decorative items to make the space more personal. My room is quite comfortable, and it is starting to feel like home.