I’m starting to get antsy. We’ve been on this plane for four and a half hours so far and I’ve watched one movie (Cinderella) and played way too much Lep’s World 3 on my phone. Typing is a bit dodgy right now. Typical me. Pulling out the computer just as it starts to get a little bit bumpy. I never have been good at timing.
Despite the boredom, it still feels surreal. Like a dream sequence. We made it. We’re on a plane that is flying through the air on its way to Nanjing. The past few days have been such a muddled blur of busy, tired, packing and repacking, goodbyes, see ya laters and hugs. For our last night in Sydney before we flew out, we went out to Anema E Core of course. It felt weird to be back in Meadowbank, even after only three weeks after moving out. It was good to be back and a great way to spend a night with my sister Kimberley, her friend Adam and our old flatmate Bryony. Amazing food, good company and good red wine was how we wanted to spend our last night. And thats exactly what we did.
This morning was an early one. Thanks to Rohan and Ian’s hospitality, it wasn’t as early as it otherwise could have been. They were kind enough to have us stay with them for our last week. And they live right in the centre of the city, opposite Central Station. We needed a shuttle bus and an extra pair of hands to cart our six pieces of (hopefully to be) checked luggage and our hand luggage to the airport. Five suitcases and our desktop Mac in its box. Each of them could only weigh up to 23kg. And we were pretty sure we were good. I mean, Nick repacked them and weighed them so many times it actually wasn’t funny. But you know that niggling feeling that sits in the back of your mind? That niggling feeling that stays with you right up until you have solid confirmation that you’re in the clear? It was with us as we arrived way too early for check in and waited at the beginning of an empty check-in queue. It was with us as Nick gingerly placed each suitcase one by one on the scale at the check in desk, accompanied by his trademark charming banter of course. Only once we had paid for our extra pieces ($220 a pop!), all of the suitcases were on the conveyor belt and the computer box was safely inside the big blue cage, did we dare breathe a sigh of relief.
We’re flying China Eastern Airlines. I would have ideally liked to have travelled Qantas, but it just wasn’t doable with the luggage we wanted/needed to take. China Eastern have 2x23kg checked luggage pieces per person on an economy ticket. And we had three pieces, hence why we paid $220 each for an extra piece. We were amused at the gate, when boarding began. Line? What line? Everyone crammed in to try and get on board all at once. We looked at each other and thought, this is our first taste of the new culture we will be living in! Once on board, the seats and room surprised us. Leg room was just as good as Qantas or Air New Zealand. We couldn’t work the in-flight entertainment until well after take off, which was a bit boring, especially as we are used to flying Qantas and Air New Zealand, who allow you to start watching movies before taxiing even begins! The loo’s were dirty when I used them about an hour into the flight. I heard my Mum’s voice in my head, reminding me that the standard of cleanliness that I am used to isn’t the norm in China. All these little things, reminding me that we are going to be LIVING amongst so many things that are not what we are used to. There are big reminders too. Like how we were two of six westerners on a full plane to Nanjing!
It has been such a rollercoaster of emotions, all of the preparations to get us on this flight. Excitement, sadness, anticipation, stress, rushing around hoping we have the right papers, doing our best to second guess what we might need but really having no idea! Lifting off the ground, knowing that all of that effort had finally culminated in what we wanted, was a very surreal feeling. A little bit empty and a lot of relief! Right now, I just can’t wait to get to Nanjing and see my Mama and Daddy… Five hours down. Six hours to go.