Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The China Diaries: The America Diaries?

I took off from Xi'an's airport at 10:30 in the morning on January 16, 2012. I landed in Nashville's airport around 11:00 that night. In the intervening 12 and a half calendar hours, I managed to spend about 26 hours awake. It's a satisfying feeling. My January 16, 2012 was WAY longer than yours. Considering that I woke up at 6 in the morning, it was about 37 hours long, and I feel pretty good about that. People often say, 'If only there were enough hours in the day." Well, so long as you spend every day for the rest of your life flying from the Western side to the Eastern side of the International Dateline, you can get all sorts of stuff done.

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The personal screens on the plane included Aliens and The Dark Knight and Fargo. I did not get as much reading done as I'd originally intended. On the upside, I did get much more awesome in my diet than I'd originally expected.

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During the long flight, from Beijing to Chicago, I was sat in the midst of older Chinese people. My traveling companion in the seat next to me was likely in his sixties, and the married couple in front of me were doubtless in their seventies, possibly in their eighties. The stewardess who took care of my section did not speak any Chinese, and so I spent a fair portion of my time helping her talk to the people around me.

I'm the first to admit that my Chinese is not that good. I can't have any sort of conversation yet. But, my Immediately Practical vocabulary ("Do you have...," "How much is it?", "Where is...", "I'd like...", etc.) is very good, and, more to the point, my classroom instructions are well up to snuff. "Please sit down." "Don't touch that." These are things that come naturally to me now. It turns out being a flight attendant is not so different from teaching children.