Welcome to Dalian!

Wow.

What. A. Flight.

I landed in Dalian late Friday night after more than 24 hours either in planes or in airports.  Yeah, THAT’s lots of fun.

I met some awesome people, though! The biggest leg of the flight was from Dallas to Beijing. A grand total of 14 hours, 20 minutes.

How exciting is THAT??

And it was FASTER to travel NORTH from Dallas, over Alaska, then south over Siberia into China. They had a handy-dandy display on the back of the seat in front of me. Not only did it give me the details of where PRECISELY I was in the flight at any given time, but also let me rotate the screen and look at different aspects (including temps outside, how fast the plane was going, how high up we were, and the answer to the age old “are we there yet??”).

I mean, the display also played music, movies, TV shows, etc. And while I took the time to get caught up on a couple of flicks I had missed in the theater, I kept going back to this display.

Now, while I got to sit with the professors for the first leg (from Springfield to Dallas) then last bit (Beijing to Dalian), during the long trip, their seats were across the plane. I could see them, but not exactly easy to carry on a conversation across the cabin of a Boeing.

…. not that I WOULDN’T do that…

Considering the flight had been sold out, I figured it was best to be polite and not shout at them to ask them how their meal was.

So I got to sit next to a very nice lady who spoke only a handful of words in English.  And by ‘handful’ I mean that literally.  She knew “No speak English” along with “milk” and “bag.” Those last two words were NOT together.  Context, people!!

And while that might deter some from trying, oh no! Not me, my friends! I have an app on my phone for my Chinese – Pleco. So while the majority of our conversations together were mimed out, when we got stuck, I would whip out good ol’ Pleco, and we’d get the conversation going again.

A bit older than me, she was a good Chinese mother.  Including the fact that she kept trying to feed me.  The entire flight.

She was awesome! And very sweet.  The little bits of darkness on the left of your screen was some kind of seed, very similar to sunflower seeds, but it tasted… different.

And while I can crack sunflower seeds open like nobody’s business, these took forever for me to open.  At one point, she started peeling some for me, all the while laughing at me while I did my damndest.

Apparently, my antics are “adorable.”

Which is what I’ve been telling people FOR YEARS!!

The gent stuck with the two of us was working on a Power Point presentation for the first few hours so I didn’t want to interrupt his work.

Until I did.

As we traveled north, you could see the shift in the light. I can’t even call it a sunset. We were flying away from the sun, and you could see that shift outside as it got darker, but the sun didn’t actually set.

I kept making happy sounds about it and blatantly staring out the window.  The fellow was pulled from his work when he noticed me trying to take pictures of it (the pics didn’t come out so hot, but I still captured some of it!). He politely sat back so I could get as much of the outside as I could.

Notice how I didn’t blatantly invade his personal space to try to get a better shot?  Damn, I so deserve a cookie….

Wait! I have some!! (Thanks, Nicole… who was kind enough to pack me some cookies for the flight)

But! Him noticing me was like permission, so I started chatting with him, too.  He had been living in the US for a couple of years, and spoke fluently. Good chap.

Oh, and he is a scientist.  His field of study?  Theoretical physics.

…. DUDE.

We had many good chats on the trip. Totally bonded. I should have cornered him and got his contact info to keep in touch.

Now, flying into Dalian itself?  That’s when the first site of the city met me.  I tell you, my friends – this city is beautiful.  I had been awake for near 48 hours (my attempt to alleviate jetlag) so I didn’t go “PICTURES!!” as early as I might have liked. Those pictures I did manage all came out blurry.  Sad Panda… The best one of the lot is below.  Sorry, guys!! I’ll be sure to have the real camera out for my next flight!

… maybe.

.

I sighed over the city from above, but by the time I got to the apartment, I barely looked around before jumping in the shower and passing out.

It seemed like the right thing to do at the time, and ya know what? IT WAS.

When I woke up Saturday morning, I at least felt human again. Considering the previous day, I think that’s really saying something!!

I’m working on uploading an apartment tour so I can share with all of you just what my apartment looks like.  That’s taking a bit longer than I had wanted, but I at least have a few pictures for all of you!! As soon as my tour is uploaded, I’ll post it separately to my FB. 🙂

So this is my building.  A lot of the buildings look like this in the city – big, concrete structures.  I’ll do more pictures later so you can get a better idea of the city itself.

More importantly? My room in this place.

Wait, not my room. My BALCONY.

That’s right. I have a balcony. My computer is set up next to that, and it’s where i plan on doing most of my writing in the coming months.

Once I finished unpacking, it was time to be off for lunch and and grocery shopping.

Yeah, yeah. Exciting. I know.  But I’m doing all of this in CHINA!! NYEAH!

My sister suggested that, if anyone stops me to ask for a pic with me (something about being tall and blonde), my condition should be that they have to take a pic with my camera as well.  Which I may still do, but this time, no one did that.

I got a lot of stares, and two times, people rather enthusiastically spoke to me.

The first was a little boy, maybe six, seven years old. He said “Hello” with a big ol’ grin on his face.  I asked him if he speaks English then, and he nodded.  We would have had a nice little convo except his mom was embarrassed and pulled him away.

At least, I think that’s what happened…. I’m going to pretend it wasn’t a “Stop talking to the scary foreigner, son!”

The next was a gent on the street, trying to hand out flyers.  He did a double-take when he realized I wasn’t a local, and he started spouting off all the phrases he learned, including “Good morning, class!!”

He was super proud of himself. It was awesome.

So there we have it! I’ll work on getting better pics for all of you, as well as work on figuring my uploads a bit more neatly.  Next few weeks are going to be a bit on the crazy side as I get acclimated, but it shall be done!!

I’ll leave you with a few more pics, these taken with my camera from the various windows in my apartment. 

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