Coming Home

On my last day in China I woke up early to catch a flight back to Beijing so that I could get my luggage so that I could fly home.

After arriving in Beijing I went straight to a China Mobile office. A few days before my phone had stopped working and I wanted to find out why. I found out that if you make a call outside of the province that you bought the phone in, you pay a roaming charge so I ran out of money.  I was only in Beijing for a day and I didn’t think it was worth putting more money on my phone, so I passed on it and headed into the city.

I had no place I needed to be, the only thing I had to do was get my luggage from Brandon (the guy I left my luggage with) and that was it. Since my phone wasn’t working I went to a hostel and just chilled there for a bit. I had been talking to Brandon via e-mail and I had an address he gave me earlier. He told me that he would leave my bags with the doorman and that I could just pick them up from him. As it started to rain I had my final meal of dumplings, got in a cab, and headed out to the address I had.

I arrived at the address Brandon gave me. After running from building to building in the rain I finally found the right building and went to find the doorman. The doorman was this old Chinese man who clearly had no idea who I was. He also couldn’t understand Englsih and since my phone was broken/had no more minutes I couldn’t call anyone who actually spoke Chinese to talk to him and tell him what the deal was.

After struggling talking to the doorman we went up to the apartment and knocked on the door. After a few minutes of no one answering a girl opened the door and my heart sank because it clearly wasn’t Brandon’s apartment. Luckily it turned out to be the girlfriend of one of Brandon’s friends. Apparently we weren’t at Brandon’s apartment but at his friend’s apartment. I don’t know how I ended up there but I did. We called Brandon on her phone and we found out that my luggage was at his apartment on the other side of town.

So I hopped in a cab and had the driver race to the other side of town where Brandon lived. When we arrived at his complex it had stopped raining but it was very humid out. I was told that he lived in building 3. The problem was that it was like a freaking maze, I couldn’t find the building. I was running around trying to find the correct building, and sweating profusely because of the stress and the humidity. I ran back out to the cab and asked to use the cab driver’s phone to call Brandon.

After talking to Brandon again I finally figured out where he lived and got my luggage. I rushed back to my cab and had him floor it to the subway station. The last train to the airport left at 11:30 p.m. and I didn’t want to be stranded in Beijing. I arrived at the metro and was running through the halls while schlepping four bags. I got a ticket and made it onto the last train just as the doors were closing.

I arrived at the Beijing International Airport and found an area to settle down. Being caked in sweat from running around, I got ready to spend another night sleeping at the airport. Well, I didn’t really sleep. My flight was at 6:30 in the morning so I decided to just push through and crash on the plane. After a 13 hour flight and a layover in Chicago, I arrived safe and sound in Washington.  I called my Dad to tell him that I have arrived and to pick me up only to be told that there is too much traffic on the road (due to the US Open) and that I should take the metro home.  I could not have thought of a better ending to a long and exhausting trip home.

Looking back on my year in China, I can’t believe I had all the great experiences that I did. I had a great time, learned a lot, and made a lot of great friends. I had a blast writing this blog and I hope that you enjoyed reading it. So this is it, until I travel to another part of the world for a year, take care. Zai jien.

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About JoelS

Spending a year teaching English and saving the world in China
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