Friday- Going Home
Trip Start Dec 13, 2009
25Trip End Jan 22, 2010
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I'll start from the beginning. Friday, I woke up early, and finished the last packing of my bag such as my pyjamas and toiletries. My suitcase was practically splitting at the seams, so I asked Rebecca if I could post my 10 textbooks that I had bought and been given back home because there was no possible way that they were going to fit in my suitcase. So after breakfast, we walked to the post office. To post these books is a surprisingly complex- we had to go to multiple stations to send them. It cost me 600yuan, which is about AUD$100. It was expensive, but not as expensive as excess baggage, I'm guessing.
We walked back, and by then I didn't have much time before the driver was due to pick us up. We did some videotaping, and watched a Chinese cooking show. There is nothing more relaxing than learning how to make curry, so that was positive.
The driver that takes me to school everyday picked me and Rebecca up. I had to say goodbye to Rebecca's mum, which was very sad. Both Rebecca's parents have treated me as a second daughter.
The drive to the airport took less time than the drive from the airport 6 weeks ago. Rebecca and I slept for a bit of the way. Posting books and watching cooking shows really takes it out of us. Once we arrived at the airport, we were so early that my flight had not begun checking in yet, so we had lunch at Burger King. This Burger King is only one of two Burger Kings in Beijing, which is pretty amazing considering the comparatively huge amount of McDonald's and KFC that are here.
Once the desk was open, we checked in and I was walked straight to security. I had to say goodbye to Rebecca, which was the saddest goodbye of them all. I cried, but that is no surprise.
I waited at my gate for two hours, reading before I heard "Amy- I never expected to see you here!". It was a member from my class, another Australian, who was on the same flight as me. I had no idea that anyone from my class was on my plane, so it was nice to see him. We were sitting really far apart on the plane, so we couldn't talk anymore, but it was nice to know that there was someone else that I knew there.
The plane was due to leave at 16:00, but there was a drama that caused the plane to leave not until 17:45. The drama was a man sitting two rows in front of me. He was being rude to the flight attendants, demanding water and other things, then refusing to drink it unless it was placed directly in his cup holder for him. He even stood up and told the rest of the plane that he is a paying customer, so he has the right to treat them like servants. He became increasingly agitated, to the point where the flight attendant manager felt it to be necessary to file a form to get him to deplane. The row in front, behind and the remaining passengers in his row were removed as several security guards came on board to try and talk him off. He refused, and though he was no longer aggressive, he refused to move at all. It was a scary situation, I was afraid that the guy at any time would hurt somebody, and as I was so close to him on an aisle seat, I was a little scared. He was eventually handcuffed from behind and walked off the plane by the security to the claps and cheers of the other passengers. This delayed our plane by almost two hours, and I only had an hour connection in Singapore, which was nerve-wracking in the air. We sped up, but still arrived the minute my other flight took off. I was originally told that I would have to spend the night in Singapore. That scared me a little, but I was prepared for whatever I'd have to do. Once I had gotten off the plane, the ground staff had thought of another alternative plan, where I'd fly to Brisbane and then change to Qantas domestic to fly to Melbourne. I had no idea how they'd secured the Qantas ticket- Singapore Airlines has no affiliation with Qantas.
I had no time to think about it though- they were already making the flight to Brisbane wait for me. With a ground staff member running along side of me to the gate, I made it in time. I had never gotten through security so fast, and my things were shoved in the overhead lockers before I could think. That was all okay though- at least I was heading home.
I tried to sleep for most of the flight, but it was too hard because of the adrenaline pumping through my body, and the constant serving of dinner and breakfast. I ended up forgetting trying to get myself to sleep, and instead busied myself with other things.
I landed in Brisbane at 10am. I was met by another staff member who helped me collect my bags, go through customs and immigration and then check into domestic. We had to take a bus over to that terminal, and by the time I reached my domestic gate, there wasn't much time to spare. I was so hot in Brisbane- I was wearing woolen socks, hiking boots and a trench coat- all from the freezing Chinese climate.
I freshened up, so at least I cold feel clean before I boarded my plane. Of all coincidences I was sitting next to a Chinese tourist, and we talked in mandarin the whole way home. It just shows that he learning experiences didn't stop just because I had left Beijing.
I was so relieved to finally touch down in Melbourne- albeit 5 hours later than I was originally meant to be. That meant I travelled for 23 hours- almost as much as when I flew to France. It was a great rush to see my family, standing with balloons at my gate.
So that ended my second solo trip. This one was certainly different from France in every way- they were both fantastic and I could never compare them.
This trip has certainly helped me in many ways- I have learned a lot about the language and about myself. Thank-you so much to Rebecca and her family, who gave up so much time and effort to make me feel as comfortable as possible. It was unbelievably kind to have me stay in their home, pay for my lunches, take me out on the weekend and cater to my every need without any other thoughts. Thanks also to everyone who commented and read my blogs. It was always nice to know from China that people were thinking of me and were interested in my journey. Thanks to everyone who also created accounts just so they could comment me- it was all appreciated.
Who knows what my next adventure will be? Until then- thanks again!