Saturday, May 17, 2014

Going Global: My First International Flight

Yí. Ѐr. Sàn!

Well, here I am, just brushing up on my Mandarin before I land in Beijing. The above means 1, 2, 3 (thanks, Ryan for the cheat sheet) and forgive me if the letters aren’t quite accurate. Did you know there are about 5 billion different symbols to choose from on the Word symbol options? (Although I still have approximately 8 hours left on this flight, I wasn’t about to search through each and every one of those symbols.)
Studying my numbers to become a pro bargainer

Boarding this flight was one of the most surreal experiences. After months and months of counting down to the big day, it was finally here…yet it didn't really sink in until I handed the hostess my boarding pass to scan and took my first steps onto the plane. In all honesty, at this point I’m not even sure that I can fully admit to the feeling of me being in Asia for 2 ½ weeks being fully “sunken in.” I’m told that the moment I exit this plane, I will finally feel like the time has come. (Maybe that is because my tall frame will tower over the locals!)

Since this is my first international flight, I wanted to highlight some things so that I am able to look back at this someday and remember all the details. (I like details, so you may need to skip this post if it's not for you!) Upon boarding our plane, we found our seats. The six of us girls were seated together in the middle sections. (I don’t think I mentioned this in my last post, but we also have 2 other male students and Dr. Wang. But we, girls, stick together! J ) We are about 3 rows behind the first class section. A quick side note on the first class section: Walking past the spacious seating of that area is one of the biggest letdowns. You board the flight and think, “Man! This is looking pretty good! The seats are big, there is plenty of leg room, and there are even complimentary sound-blocking headphones!” Soon your bubble is burst as you are hustled to your seat in the economy section.
Emily, Sandra and I are excited for our Asian excursion

Once we were in our seats, it was soon time to make the take-off that I had been anticipating for so long. I don’t think I will ever forget that feeling as I glanced out the window and said goodbye to the beautiful city of Seattle and began our journey over the ocean. Once we were comfortably in the air, we were served snacks, beverages, and eventually a meal. While I had been dreading the 12+ hour flight, most of it really wasn't that bad. I could hardly believe the number of movie options displayed in the screen in front of me!
Breakfast at Tiffany’s AND Charade? Delta airlines, I kind of like you! I ended up opting for a movie I had never seen prior: Gravity with Sandra Bullock and George Clooney.

After watching the movie, I decided to wash my face and settle in for the night. Just as I was about to stow my bag away again, I heard this big CLUNK! in the seats behind me. At first I didn’t think much of it. It was probably just a suitcase falling from the overhead compartment. However, I soon heard flight attendants rushing toward the sound and looked back and saw a man lying face-down in the aisle. One of the pilots rushed back and an announcement for the help of any doctors was heard over the loudspeakers. I’m not really sure what happened to the man, and I probably never will.

How is that for an eventful first international flight? I must say, with my history of passing out and feeling light-headed, I am VERY thankful that wasn’t me on that floor.

Well China, I will be seeing you in another 8 hours.

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