New Orleans, LA

I was a bit famished, I didn’t have time to eat breakfast this morning. I had to leave for the airport at 5:00 AM. I walked down the aisle. I was glad that my gate wasn’t too far. I quickly put my belongings down and walked to the food stand closest to my gate. “Maam, what would you like to have”, the lady at the food counter asked. “Can I have a fish burrito please, with salad by the side and a bottle of water”, I said. “That would be $18.50”, she said. I paid her, then grabbed my burrito and water and walked back to my sitting area. “Perfect timing”, I thought to myself. Just as I was finishing my breakfast, it was almost time to board the plane. I had one more stop before I would leave for Shanghai.

“Passengers thank you for choosing delta as your choice. We hope you enjoy your journey. ZoneA 1-20 please line up on the left side of the stand. We would be boarding the flight shortly, thank you again for choosing delta”, The speakers of the airport blared.

I stood up taking my bag and jacket with me. I moved forward, handing the lady in front of the gate my ticket as I walked inside. We were headed to Los Angeles……


Los Angeles, CA

The LAX airport was very crowed. People walked hurriedly everywhere. The restaurants located in the airport were all filled up. I had a 4-hour layover before I leave for China. I had to find something to keep myself busy. I walked down the aisle where all the restaurants were located. I tried to scope them to check out the less busy ones. They were all very busy, I just had to find one that had at least one chair for me to sit down and order something. I spotted a green cafe that had one sit open. I quickly rushed over to take a sit. People chatted away as they munched on their sandwiches and sipped their coffee. I pulled out my laptop from my bag, as I began working on my article……………….

“Passengers Gate 24 has changed to Gate 30. Please proceed to your appointed gate”, the speakers blared throughout the airport. I was glad that, that wasn’t my gate as I walked down to where my gate was. I had only 20 more minutes before my flight to Shanghai was boarding. On the right hand side, the sitting area was full of people. It was the flight heading to Tokyo, Japan. I turned to the left, and on the monitor written in bold letters were: “SHANGHAI-FLIGHT 2876″. I joined the line that was created by the passengers. All of a sudden, it dawned on me that I was actually traveling to China…………..


I opened the plane cabinet above my seat as I shoved my bag inside. I quickly took my seat next to the window. Next to me sat an elderly Filipino couple. The lady smiled kindly at me as she sat down. “Is this your first time visiting China”, the lady asked. “Yes, it is”, I said smiling. The couple smiled back at me. The husband asked me what I planned on doing in China, so I explained to him how I planned on living there for 10 months to study and explore. “Ah, that’s very nice. I remember my daughter doing study abroad in Spain for a semester. She really enjoyed her experience. I hope you enjoy your experience”, he said. “Thank you, I hope I do too”, I said. They were such a sweet couple. I looked out the window as the plane started moving. “This is going to be a very long flight”, I thought to myself as I lowered my chair and toke out my red blanket from its package……..


Taking some Mandarin lessons on the plane………………


Lunch:   Rice with stewed potato and chicken biryani, Fruits, Vegetables, A cup of water, Bread roll, and Bread spread.



Trying to kill time by watching “Bessie” starring: Queen Latifah.


Snack Time:  Veggie Sandwich, Banana, Chocolate biscuit.




After 14 hours……………………………..


Shanghai, CN


“Passengers please stay seated until the seat-belt sign on the overhead is turned off. Foreigners of China please fill out the immigration slip that was passed around earlier and hand it over to the embassy on your way out before you pick up your baggage. Thank you for choosing delta as your flight, we hope you enjoyed your trip on the plane”, the air-hostess said from the speakers above. It was 6:25PM. I slowly scooted to the seats on the right waiting for people to claim their bags from the cabinets overhead so I can stand up……


“I am finally in China after months of planning!”, I thought to myself. I walked out of the airplane and into the Shanghai airport. I was shivering with excitement. I held my bag and jacket as I looked around the airport eagerly. A taxi that was sent from my Chinese University was suppose to pick me up at the airport. I looked for the directions for baggage claim. The instructions were easy to find, they were written in Mandarin and English…………..





Before claiming our baggage there was a small embassy that all the foreigners had to go through to check our visa and collect our immigration slip that was given to us on the plane. The line was quite long but it moved reasonably fast (which was really nice). The process went really fast. I went down the escalator. Relieved filled me as I looked up. On the electronic monitor was written: “Currency Exchange”. I quickly walked up to it. I remember thinking on my way to shanghai, what I feared was that the airport would be really huge and I wouldn’t be able to find somewhere to exchange my currency and I would have to explain to my taxi driver (which would take me an hour) because I’m not fluent in Mandarin. Fortunately that wasn’t the case. I went to exchange my currency then, quickly went to claim my bag and later was off to look for my driver…………….

I spotted a guy on the phone holding a white piece of paper. My name and my university was written on it. I smiled gleefully and quickly waved for him. He saw me and waved back. 有多少乘客?你要去江南。“, the driver asked me. I looked at him blankly (panicking a little) actually a lot. 有多少乘客?“, he asked again. “Ummm……wǒ bù dǒng (meaning: I don’t understand)”, I stammered. While I was struggling to understand what my driver was asking me, a Chinese man by my side said to me, “he is trying to find out if you were the only passenger he is picking up today”. “Yes, yes”, I quickly said. 是的。她是唯一的乘客, the Chinese man explained to my driver that I was the only passenger. “Thank you so much!”, I said to the man feeling so grateful. “Hǎo, coorme witt me”, the driver said to me. I walked with him with all my luggage. We were headed to Wuxi…………………

After 3 hours, we were very close to my university. It was 9:35PM. I opened my eyes after dozing off. We had finally reached my school and I was as weak as a donkey. I dragged myself out of the taxi with my bag and my red jacket………………

to be continued……………………

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  1. I wish all the best for you Sakeenah! I believe on you 🙂 Be safe and enjoy everything as much as you can.!! I hope you learn a lot of things and meeting nice people in the world !! I am so excited for you 😀

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