10.20.2008 - 11.13.2008 40 °F
At the suggestion of my mom, I'm adding this entry. She asked me what things I missed or would be happy to come home to (besides my wonderful family, of course).
So, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I submit for your approval:
Exhibit A: A direct excerpt from the journal of Becky Blomgren, written on the 4th of November, 2008. The bad day. The freak out day. The black day that shall henceforth be referred to as Mr. Hyde Day.
Please peruse at your leisure.
7 days until this is over. Until I can be understood. Until lines. Until men holding open doors. Until knowing where I'm going. Until knowing where I am. Until being able to dial phone numbers correctly. Until no longer having to say where I'm from. Until hot showers in a shower with a door. Until flushing toilet paper. Until no squat toilets. Until goat cheese & spinach & tap water & working out & sandwiches & mac and cheese & milk & my leather jacket & my sheets & shops that are inside & fruit & easy tooth brushing with running water & English language news & the internet as much as I want & security & clean clothes & laundry with a dryer & no backpack & conversations & fashion magazines I can read & people who know who Obama is & buses that aren't trying to scam you & Midwestern friendliness & no being asked to take photos with because I'm white & no being followed because I'm white & no stares because I'm white & no being pointed at because I'm white & no being giggled at because I'm white & no moldy smells in rooms & no gross food & no dirty buildings & no laundry hanging on balconies & no shouting, shouting, shouting & no spitting, spitting, spitting & no pushing, pushing, pushing & leaving things on the floor without people gasping & no being cheated all the time & air-conditioning & peanut butter & Nutella & alfredo & cooking for myself [Afterthought: When do I ever cook for myself?!] & people saying I'm sorry... and Excuse me... & my own space & no packing & nice shoes & mature people & the real thing not all fakes & no more flying & no more waiting & no more planning or problems or 'winging it' or 'going with the flow' or druggie hippie backpack travellers saying "You know man?" & no more being a guest & food whenever I want it & working heat [Afterthought: Ha! In my apartment? It doesn't work that well.] & sane driving [Afterthought: On the cab back from O'Hare I was SO annoyed at how slow he drove] & buses that look like buses not creepy dirty child molester vans & people with good hygiene & signs & directions & readable maps & ENGLISH ENGLISH ENGLISH & not panicking & carpet.
There you have it ladies and gentlemen. Exhibit A. An uncensored look at the Mr. Hyde Day breakdown. A fairly thorough list of the woes and wishes of a solo female traveler in China. Some may need clarification--just ask. Others may not really be true on any day except "The Black Day". But they were all true at the time and therefore are true at least in some part.
But please don't let this color your image too much of my trip. I certainly could have done without certain things in China, but I also couldn't have done as much as I did without so many kind people and so many genuinely nice and helpful Chinese people (English speaking or not). I saw amazing things (photos, I promise) and had such a great time. I'm just happy to be home that's all. Where everything is comfortable. And familiar. And mine.
So there you have it. Everything you ever wanted to know about what goes on in the mind of the solo female traveler in China--if you want to know more, you've got to take me out to dinner. Just ask Grandma Mary. Hope you enjoyed the ride. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to finish my slice of American cheese and my glass of tap water.