Wednesday, 18 July 2018

A Month in China ~ Part One

I cannot describe how wonderful China was and how thoroughly I enjoyed the month I spent with my dad...
I came home with so many precious memories...stories to share and treasures to keep, that I honestly don't know where to begin...

I loved every minute of my trip and hope to convey these feelings of awe and delight in the next few posts...
Thus...how about you pop the kettle on to boil and make yourself a steaming mug of tea before you settle down to this, the first part of my Month in China series...
{{smiles}}

~
I flew out from George on Thursday June 7.  (Thank you all for your prayers for my safety!)
How strange to embrace to my mom, sisters and Caleb in a big hug one last time before walking out of sight and onto the airplane, bound for China...

I landed in Johannesburg later that evening, picked up my suitcase and headed to the arrival area where I met the person the lodge had sent to pick me up.
For me, this was the most daunting part of my trip as it was my first time in Johannesburg, first time to book a lodge and to stay overnight in a strange place all alone.
The Lord was merciful and the lodge I had booked turned out to be the perfect place for me to catch a few hours of sleep before I headed to the airport again early the next morning.

I was pleasantly surprised at how little time it took for me to check in and go through security - I think it helped that I arrived early. 
I was able get some coffee and breakfast and enjoy some plane spotting before waiting at the allocated gate for my flight...

At this stage an overwhelming sense of excitement began to well up in me!
Once I had boarded the airplane, I was delighted to see that I had an entire row to myself which meant I could lie down during the flight. 
There were no good movies on the plane and my eyes burned terribly anyway, so I ended up listening to music for the duration of the flight...




14 hours later, we landed in Beijing and about 40 minutes after that, we were inside Beijing airport where the fun and games really began!

I was completely overwhelmed by the sheer size of the world's second largest airport!
I know that it is only by God's grace that I managed to catch my connecting domestic flight to Hefei.  Beijing airport was something of a nightmare - no one spoke English for starters and then finding where to go to collect my luggage (which involved a train ride to the correct terminal), where to check in for my domestic flight to Hefei, etc. was extremely exhausting and stressful. 
However, I don't remember feeling at all panicky, even when my phone didn't work so I couldn't contact my dad (I had signal for about five minutes shortly before boarding which meant I could at least let me dad know I had arrived safely in China)! 

Eventually I found my way to the right gate. 
I felt a huge sense of achievement when I boarded the next and final flight to Hefei!
It was pouring with rain when we arrived in Hefei which delayed our disembarking of the aircraft by about twenty minutes...

What joy to collect my bag for the last time and make my way to where my dad was waiting for me - it all felt so surreal... 
I couldn't believe that I was finally with my dad in China after such a long, grueling journey!
I actually recovered fairly well from my trip, only I had the strange sensation of being on an airplane for a few days afterwards...

The first week I spent recovering and enjoying a walk once, sometimes twice day...
We also went into the city for coffee one morning which was thrilling!
I didn't take as many pictures as I had hoped in that first week as I found myself simply wanting to take everything in without having to worry about getting a good shot...
Here are the few pictures that I did take...and perhaps I should warn you now that part two more than makes up for the lack of photographs in this post!
{{smiles}}

^Coffee at Starbucks on my first Saturday in China
^Area surrounding the lake...
I walked here quite often as it is relatively close to the school my dad teaches at.

^This track goes around the lake  





^I loved this place!  We stopped in here several times over the course of the month...

And thus concludes this first part of this little series...do stop by next week for part two on Nanjing!

Have you been to China?  Have you ever traveled overseas alone?  

It is always a joy having you stop by, sweet friends...
I truly appreciate your kind notes!

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13 comments:

Dianna said...

Dear Kelly-Anne,

Thank you for stopping by my blog today and leaving me such sweet words of encouragement.

I am so excited to follow you through your month in China! Your pictures in this post are just beautiful. The walking trail looks so relaxing because of its surroundings.

Looking forward to part two of the series!

I have flown alone to Mexico City...which we in the U.S. often don't think as a foreign land, but it truly is another culture altogether. I went to claim my luggage once I arrived and faced the realization that one of my bags was missing. I did not have a phone with me, I did not have my son-in-law's address or phone number with me (our daughter and son-in-law were missionaries there), and eventually I was led to a man who spoke English. He ended up giving me his phone number for my son-in-law to call him with the address and by supper time the airport had delivered my bag. :)

Dianna
xo

Mari said...

What an amazing trip and a special time and memory for you and your dad!

Kelly-Anne said...

@Dianna:
Oh, thank you so much for your sweet visit! Such a delight having you stop by today... I enjoyed catching up with you too! {{smiles}}
Oh my goodness! What a time you had Mexico City...I am so glad the Lord led you to someone who could help you and that your bag wasn't lost for good!
Travel can be exciting, but when things don't go as planned (such as on my flight home...), it can be quite stressful.
Have a blessed Thursday...much love!

@Mari:
Always a pleasure to hear from you! Thank you for stopping by...
I had such an incredible trip...and I honestly can't wait to go back...
China is a beautiful country and I only got to see a tiny bit of it!
Hugs to you!

Elizabeth said...

Oh dear friend, you can't imagine my excitement upon seeing this post pop up in my Blog reader! I so enjoyed reading all about your travelling journey and first days in China.

Your airport experience reminds me so much of our time at the Chicago airport. We always fly into Terminal 1 and the international terminal is 5, so that means we have to catch a train to take us all the way there. The first time we did that, well, it was just a bit overwhelming! Thankfully, once you do it one time, it becomes a lot less stressful...and it does help to get to the airport early. I know that here you are supposed to get to the airport 2-3 hours early when flying internationally. And it's a good thing, too! {{smiles}}

Your daily walks must have sure been nice, as I imagine you must have experienced jet lag...oh, that's one of my least favorite things about travelling. You sure had some pretty scenery to enjoy and take in! And the place in your last photo...my, is it gorgeous! I would have stopped there several times, too {{winks}}

I so enjoyed my little visit with you, Kelly-Anne! Now that you're home from China, you simply must come to America!

Thinking of you and wishing you a lovely Thursday! Lots of love to you ♥

Olivia Bell said...

This was such a thrill to read, I loved how you described your journey, just like a story and I could just imagine the things in my mind! {{smiles}} I LOVED seeing the photos, I've seen a lot of videos of China and it looked just like I thought it would! {{smiles}} I loved seeing the ones of you and your dad, how precious! I am so glad you were able to connect all of your flights, I can safely say I would not have been as calm as you were, haha!

No, I definitely have never flown abroad, especially alone, haha! I've actually never even flown before, if you can imagine! I am so excited to read part two of your China trip! So exciting! {{smiles}}

Anonymous said...

We have never been oversea. The photos you took are lovely. Glad you had a reasonable time traveling to China. Looking forward to next weeks installment. You look like your dad.God Bless you and yours.
Marion and Marilyn

Bri S said...

This is wonderful! I can't wait to see part 2 and all it's pictures!
Rejoicing in Hope,
Bri
forget-not-his-benefits.blogspot.com

Kelly-Anne said...

@Elizabeth:
Dear friend, I was so thrilled to finally be sharing about my trip and I cannot contain my excitement for part two! Oh, how I wish you could have joined me on my visit to Nanjing - I am certain you would love this city! {{smiles}}
I actually found the jet lag coming back to South Africa much, much worse...in fact, only now do I feel fully recovered...true, we started traveling on the Thursday and only arrived home late Saturday afternoon due to storms in Beijing and having to be redirected to Qingdao airport and thus missing all our connecting flights (but that is another story for another day!)...
Thinking of you, dear Libby! Thank you so much for your visit!
Hugs!

@Olivia:
Aww, you are so sweet! It was such fun writing this post...I am glad you enjoyed it! I think the travel big has bitten - even though air travel can be quite stressful and exhausting, I thoroughly enjoyed the thrill and can't wait for the next trip! {{smiles}}
I do hope you have the opportunity to fly too, my dear friend! Thinking of you and praying you are well...
Lots of love to you!

@Marion and Marilyn:
You both are so kind! Thank you for stopping in...
I can't wait to share next week's post with you...{{smiles}}
Blessings and love!

@Bri S:
Such a delight to have you visit, Bri! Thank you for taking the time to leave me a sweet note...
Part two waiting to be published - can't wait!
Hugs to you!

Sam (Kom) said...

Oh wow Kelly-Anne I'm so happy you got to visit your Dad for a month in China and that he is now home with you all again.

I love being able to follow what you all up to and how grown up your siblings are looking!!!! I remember when I saw you and your mum at the library and Rebecca had just been born!

Sending love to you and your family ❤️

Paige said...

Wow, traveling alone, especially in a foreign country sounds so scary. Our God was so faithful to give you peace, safety and the ability to make all your flights. :)
The last photo you posted looks like such a lovely place. I look forward to reading your next blog post. :)

Margie said...

Kudos for traveling all the way to a foreign country by yourself! It's too bad that we can't teleport ourselves to places by snapping our fingers. HA!

Jazzmin said...

Dearest Kelly-Anne,
What a sweet delight to visit you this evening and catch up with you, dear friend!♥ From the post with yours and your sisters most beautiful, lovely cakes (which have my mouth watering!), to your heavenly time at the beach, and your most recent post of your daybook with such precious and beautiful thoughts, and then this post sharing part of your China trip... I am filled with delight to see your always amazing photographs and read your words throughout these posts as I catch up with you.
Oh what a fascinating adventure and such treasured time with your dear dad! And may I say the photographs of you two together are just so sweet. Oh what a gift of the Lord to be close with your dad. I loved reading of your journey there and the story of your arrival and after. You are courageous and inspire me to be brave in traveling more outside my comfort zone to such fascinating places someday. Every photo was so lovely to look upon, and I can definitely see why you loved the place shown in the last picture. Oh what a wonderful place!
I look forward to seeing the next part/s of your amazing trip and hearing of the wonders you saw that are still to be shared.

Wishing you a most blessed day, sweet friend. Thank you for blessing my heart through your precious friendship and blog always.

Love and hugs to you!
Jazzmin♥

Kelly-Anne said...

@Sam:
Oh, we were talking about you just the other day! What a delight to have you stop by for a visit! Thank you so much for your sweet note...
How are you and your family doing?
It was a fantastic experience being able to travel to China and spend a whole month with my dad...we made some special memories.
He goes back at the end of August, so we are enjoying these days with him at home!

Again, thank you for your visit... We all send love!

@Paige:
Thank you for your note, sweet friend!
I have just posted part two - I simply couldn't wait a moment longer! I do hope you'll enjoy...
Sending love your way...

@Margie:
Now wouldn't that be wonderful? {{smiles}}
I must say, the travel bug has bitten...now I am dreaming about all the faraway places I long to visit!
Thank you for stopping in - have a blessed Tuesday!

@Jazzmin:
I do so appreciate your kind words! It is always a blessing having you stop by! Know that I truly value your friendship! {{smiles}}
Oh, travel is simply wonderful in an overwhelming, thrilling, incredible way! I do hope you have the chance to visit the places that always pop into your dreams... It was a blessing having my dad waiting on the other side, though...this made it so much easier.
Sending ever so much love your way...how lovely to hear from you!
Blessings and hugs!
Kelly-Anne