Yesterday, or the day before that (it depends on what time zone you are currently in) I packed up, yes, I am a very last minute packer, and moved to Taiwan for the next 6 months, or 180 days. I don't know why, but my family was so relaxed about everything leading up to this, we didn't even check to see if my flights were on time, mostly because it was a family effort to get me all packed up. Everything went more than smoothly until we got off the plane in LA...lemme tell ya all about it.
So, we got off the flight to LAX and we were in the usual terminal for delta international flights. We looked at the board to see which gate our next flight was, and all it said next to ours was "TBT." Obviously, we had no idea what that meant, so we were thinking of ideas like "to be taxied," or "tai-bei terminal" (it is spelled taipei, but is said tai-bei). So we sat there for awhile, tried to get internet access, and kept checking the board. So finally I went up to the desk to ask, and right as I got there both the people walked away, so I went to another desk, the people walked away, finally, I found a desk where the people would stay to answer my question. Turns out that "TBT" does not mean "to be taxied," but means "Tom Bradley Terminal." So therefore we had to run down the hall, exit the building, run down the street three buildings down, and then check in, since they wouldn't check me in in Salt Lake. Now this is like 10 minutes before they were supposed to start boarding. But once we got to the other gate, we had to wait like 45 minutes before they started boarding, and then we waited another very long time to take off, so by that time we were definitely over an hour behind. I was going to try to stay up a few hours before going to sleep, yeah right, I lasted maybe 10 minutes and was out for a good 8 hours.
Once we got off the flight we slowly made our way down to the baggage claim and there was a sign going around on it that said "CLIFFORD, KAMILLE BAGGAGE HAS BEEN DELAYED." Great. I went and talked to them and had to sign some stuff, but made sure they would get it to Hualien. And then I was finally able to get Wi-Fi to email my parents and had a very minor break down which only included tears and a runny nose. Then we had to get on a bus, which was easy. We took the bus to a giant train station, and had to wait for Yuling's friend Dennis to come get us, he was mad because Yuling only told him we were coming yesterday. He really wants one of those puffy vests from Hollister and some other things from Abercrombie & Fitch, because "that stuff is hott here," and she didn't give him time to tell us what he wanted. haha. We got on the train, and we were both asleep in no time. Luckily, we were able to get on a quick, more direct train rather than the train we had tickets reserved for.
Yuling and her adorable son Daniel were waiting at the exit for us. We got into her mother's car, which almost didn't start and headed off into the next six months. I thought I would be ok with the whole culture shock thing, seeing as I've previously been to Asia, and experienced next to nothing of the sort when I spent 6 weeks in a Ugandan village, but no, 6 months is a lot longer, and I understand pretty much ZERO Mandarin. Hopefully once my bags get here (Yuling called them and arranged everything-they should be here by Monday, they were still in LA, probably due to the "TBT" incident.) I will feel a lot better about things. But I'm very excited to start playing and teaching the children, the preschool is so cute. We took a little tour today, seeing as our apartment is on the roof.
Everyone cross your fingers right now that my stuff comes tomorrow. Mostly because I want my sweat pants and thicker sweatshirt to sleep in, or maybe just clean clothes all together.