Saturday, June 1, 2013
It was quite an ordeal to work through the diplomatic red tape of getting a visa but after six week of working on it, that was finally accomplished and it was just a matter of figuring out what needed to be packed. He has been excited at the prospect of going to China and attending the international relation and diplomatic classes that are part of the trip but also nervous. And I have been nervous about him going on his own to a foreign country as well. We dropped him off at the airport at zero dark thirty Monday morning. I restrained myself from trying to call him while he was in San Francisco to see if he navigated through the airport to the international terminal okay. But his last Facebook post before leaving the country was that he had boarded the plane to Beijing and had seen a lot of ISLP students although no one from his group. It was then that I realized that he was going a flight with students going on the medical and engineering groups--I didn't realize until that point that they all went at the same time. It was a 12 hour flight and with no Facebook access in China, communication with him was going to be limited. We did purchase an international calling plan and text plan but only enough for emergency situations. So I was anxious to know that he arrived, got through customs and found his shuttle to the hotel okay. I figured no news was probably good news but a mom still wants to know these things. By Wednesday morning I was beside myself so I tried to call him but couldn't get through. By Wednesday night, I was trying to text him to see if that would work. Luckily he got the text and returned one to me to say everything was going okay except that he was having trouble with getting a decent WiFi connection there.
And I was pleasantly surprised to get a few e-mails the last couple of days. He is having a fantastic time. Is really enjoying the roommate that he has and the other folks that he has met on the trip. Anxious to get back to the U.S. so that he can friend them on Facebook and continue to be in contact with them. So far he has been in Beijing but just arrived in Xi'an today. He will be traveling to Shanghai in a few days and returning home on Friday. In Beijing, he went to the Forbidden City, Tian'anmen Square, the Olympic Green, an American center managed by the embassy, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Great Wall, Beijing Foreign Studies University and The People's University. In Xi'an, he will see the Terracotta Army and Ancient City Wall, a school and the Muslim Quarter. In Shanghai, he will go to the Shanghai International Studies Institute, explore the city and attend an acrobatics performance. A trip of a lifetime. He tells me he is taking a lot of pictures and worried that he may not have enough room on the memory card for all the pictures he has been taking. And I was worried he wouldn't take any pictures. I will probably be spending a lot of time scrapbooking when he gets back. But so anxious for him to come home to see his pictures and hear all about his experiences there.