Going to Jail?

Trip Start May 20, 2012
Trip End Jul 11, 2012

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Flag of China  , Shaanxi,
Monday, June 11, 2012

I decided that I really needed to be getting to school a little earlier since I have the key to the room that we use. So I got ready a bit early. I left my room for the abundant breakfast that is always prepared and waiting for me. Nothing is on the table. The house is quiet. I wander back to my room. In a bit, I hear the door open. This is the one day that my host sister, Jin Ye, went to the market to get breakfast food.

She puts my soup on the table. It is a delicious brown broth with tofu. Oh no! All hope of leaving early dissipates. Eating tofu soup is extremely difficult! Last year my soups (served at every meal) came with a spoon. This year, I am considered fully Chinese in the eyes of my family, so no spoon for me!

Soup conquered, shoes on, and down the hall I go. I press the elevator button. All three cars are on the bottom floor. They begin their ascents. They zoom past my 14th floor to floors above 30. Finally, they begin their descent. Ahhh...one is stopping on my floor. The door opens to a crowd with no room for an American with a full back pack. The elevator button has gone off because in the mind of the circuits of the elevator, I have been picked up. Do I start over or do I take the stairs which I did not do in all the time I was here last year?

I look at my watch. I decide on the stairs and start down. "This isn't so bad," I think, until about the 4th floor when the continual circling was making me motion sick. Finally, I make my way to the lobby and through the courtyard area for our building. Not only am I not early, I am running late.

I round the corner and a man in a uniform appears to be motioning and shouting at me in Chinese. I keep walking. He keeps shouting and motioning me to go back. My heart starts racing. I get nearer. My heart is pumping faster. He grabs my arm and turns me around. "Did I unknowingly break a law? Were the McCombs going to have to get me out of jail?" All these thoughts streak through my mind.

He points a few yards behind me. There on the ground lies a satin good luck charm given to me by a friend the previous evening. I had tied it on to my purse and it had fallen off. It turns out that my "jailor" was just a good Samaritan!

And yes, I was late to school!
~Ms. Mags
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