I was 12 years old when my dad came home and said, “How about moving to China?” Yes, he had already applied for the job (pilot for a German-Chinese airline), and yes, my mom was pretty chill with it. A few months later, we moved to China.
We moved back to the U.S. in 2014, but China still feels like home in some ways, and we jump at any excuse to go back. So when my friend Jennifer invited me to her wedding (in China), I asked for a long weekend off work and made it happen.
I met my brother CJ in Chicago and we went downtown. We got good Chicago dogs at Portillos, walked countless city blocks, and stood on the banks of Lake Michigan.
That was a bad idea because we misjudged how long it would take to walk back to the subway. Before we even got to the airport, we knew we were going to miss our flight. What to do now? After praying and checking Google Flights, we found a one-way ticket on American airlines that was leaving in a couple hours. We went up to the counter and each bought a ticket for $380, which, despite being my entire salary for September, was a huge blessing. It could have been a lot worse.
After a 13-hour flight, we arrived in Beijing. My dad met us at the airport and we took a taxi to his little apartment. The next day was full of nostalgia. Riding in the back of my dad’s three-wheeled electric scooter (he drives almost like a Chinese person now, which is wild and unpredictable!)
Shopping for all our favorite childhood treats at Carrefore (a semi-western grocery store)
Eating McMystery meat at McDonalds… 😉
The next day was Jennifer’s wedding. It was a little crazy back in the kitchen, as we rushed around trying to cook and keep things clean and help out wherever we could. But when we finally sat down we enjoyed a beautiful ceremony. As the groom’s father told us, “At the end of the day, two people are married, and that’s what matters.”
Two young people who love each other but love Jesus most of all…make the most beautiful match!
Our last day in China. CJ and I took the subway downtown and shopped at the silk market. I was glad for the little Chinese that I know. Instead of standard bargaining, I was able to use more sophisticated tactics, like explaining how I had lived in southern China for several years, telling them that my dad was a pilot for Hainan airlines, and by the way I am a teacher for small children and only make a tiny bit of money (showing them a very small amount with my thumb and forefinger). By the end of the conversation, they were smiling and telling me how I was their special friend. “We give you good deal,” they said. “Not for everyone, but for you…we good you special price.” It may be they say that to everyone who comes through, but oh well, it was fun practicing my Chinese.
We also spent a couple hours at the famous Tien’a’men Square, which had changed quite a bit since I was there with my family ten years ago, before the Olympic games in 2008. Wow, has it been that long?
On Monday we headed west again. My dad gave us a tour of his company headquarters and showed us where he flight plans, gets his schedule, and briefs the crew before a flight. Then he dropped us off at the airport and headed back to the company, hoping to see us at the gate before he boarded with the crew. We ended up being bused to the plane, however, and didn’t see him until we were getting off the bus and looked up.
After waving and snapping a few pictures, we climbed the stairs.
The flight attendant at the top reached for our tickets, which pronounced our seats in row 40—at the very back of the plane. But something clicked in her eyes as she looked at me. “You…you are the captain’s daughter?”
Oh yeah! That was a cool moment. Grinning, I nodded and told her yes, I was the captain’s daughter.
“Come this way.” She motioned us to the left, into business class.
My brother and I couldn’t stop grinning at each other.
The only thing better than being treated like royalty in business class was hearing my dad’s voice over the intercom. “Welcome aboard, this is your captain speaking…”
I arrived in Baltimore just after 1:00 a.m. Wednesday morning. At 2:00 a.m. the guy who was driving me home was pulled over by the police. Just a fun ending to an adventure, right?
All in all, I’m so thankful to God for giving me a few days full of adventure and time spent with my family and international friends. I truly feel like a rich kid, because I know many others don’t have the opportunities that God has given me.
Now, back in York, it’s back to school and tutoring and teaching. I’ll try to give you a little snapshot of home life next time. In many ways it’s just as adventurous as a weekend trip to China!