Jun 1, 2010

A Day Abroad

How can such a great day end so terribly? I suppose it is the inevitable curse of living in a foreign country.

I quickly got ready in the morning, a bit nervous because I would venture out on my own for the first time- to the subway station and five stops...I'm taking baby steps here, okay. Taylor had an all day conference to attend and I was meeting his mom and aunt, as well as our new friends from church, Stephen and Deborah, a short distance away for a day in Souzhou (Su-Jo) - the Venice of China. The problem was, we only had 1 key and we both were going to need it.

"Let's just put it outside somewhere", Taylor suggested

"That makes me scared" was my reply.

We chose a small plant sitting on the outside window sill.

"Okay little key, don't let me down today" I said as I carefully placed it under the pot.

I made it to the designated meetings spot, and we were soon in a moldy smelling bus on our way to the small canal city 11 miles outside of Shanghai.

We had a great time, and the best part was definitely taking a ride through the canals. The little old man steered the boat so gracefully and even entertained us with some Chinese song.The sound of his voice was like magic as we glided through the water and past the small brick abodes, pots hanging out the windows and laundry blowing in the breeze.

We returned about 8:00, and I was happy to be home to rest. I unlocked the gate, picked up the tiny pot on the window sill, and suddenly I couldn't breath. The key was gone. No no no no no, I said as I searched all over, hoping that maybe if I just put it down and pick it up again, the key will appear. The trash was set out, so I knew the maid had come...certainly she must have found it and put it inside. First it was panic, then anger- I knew this was a bad idea, then I was just totally bummed out. I have no phone yet, but even if I found a phone to use somewhere, I don't know any numbers- I know, I'm completely unprepared. I was certain Woody wouldn't be home until late, and Taylor would be gone at least another hour and a half on his river boat cruise. The only good option was to get back on the subway and head over to the hotel where Taylor's mom was. Tired, stinky, and totally bummed out, I ventured off by myself. This was way beyond baby steps. But, I knew where the hotel was, so no big deal. An hour later, after walking to the subway and walking through 2 very long transfers, I found myself at Xuijahui which had 14, 14 different exits to the street. I'm sure you can guess that I did not take the right exit, and had no idea where I was. Surrounded by tall buildings and knowing only how to say Hello, Thank You, I don't want, Street, You can't do that, and walk, I whimpered for fear that I would never find it.

And hour later, through Heaven's mercy, I was flopped down in the hotel room with a tall glass of Fanta and plenty of treats.

"I'll call when I get back, and we'll figure out what we'll do." Taylor said over the phone.

By 11:00 he had returned and decided to wait a while for Woody to come home.

We were long asleep when the phone rang at 2:00am.

"I couldn't do it any longer. I'm in a taxi now, I'm almost to the hotel."

A very sad and sorrowful Taylor told us of how he laid on the mat in front of the house for 3 hours with an umbrella over him to block the wind, and his head in his computer bag to keep away the mosquitoes. At some point he awoke to a slimy slug making its way up his arm.

Today we are having 2 new keys made. And finding me a phone.

And that's the last time I hide keys under pots.


  1. Wow. I am so glad Taylor's mom is in town.

  2. Love it. I can't believe Tay didn't spend the whole night on the porch. He's changed.

  3. So DID the maid put the key inside? I need to be reassured that you don't have a house key floating around out there somewhere.

    Fantastic storytelling, by the way.

  4. I am loving the update friends. This is amazing and I can not believe that you are there! By the way, I think that picture of your boat driver is positively beautiful and it should be your next Coast to Coast post.


    PS Now my pictures feel boring. I need to travel...

  5. So sorry for your misfortunes, but at least you have some great pictures from your day around town.