October 8, 2013

Leaving China - Journal 15 - Laszlo Schenkhuysen

After being in China for over almost six months now I came to realize it was almost coming to an end. Because I knew it would be a while before I would have to possibility to come back to this amazing country, therefor I chose to spend the last five weeks traveling and exploring China. In these five weeks I have encountered strange, amazing and stunning events. From walking through the numerous crowded cities, driving on a scooter through the authentic landscape, to walking through the mountains for several days when taking a Buddhist route, all left a great impression on me and made the moment of departure even more frightening.

I had a great time and experienced a lot of great experiences in China but the foresight of seeing all my friends and family again made it exciting as well to go back. On the 21st of July our flight was scheduled at 23:30 in the evening. We arrived at the Guangzhou airport at 21:00 and noticed that almost every flight was cancelled except ours. After some time had passed we decided take another look at the flight schedules and noticed that our flight, which 30 minutes earlier was leaving on time, was not on the list at all anymore. Normally on the domestic flights we thought this normal since we had experienced it several times before, but on the international flights we thought this would not be the case. After asking numerous of airport personal and running from one place to another we noticed that our flight suddenly appeared back on the screen again claiming it would depart at 00:30, mentioning under status ‘’Normal’’. Apparently the flight was delayed but the last thing I learned in China was that an hour delay would still be listed as a normal flight, instead of a delayed flight.

On the flight back I could not sleep at all since I was so excited to see everyone again. Since the day of arrival was on a Monday I told everyone not to take the day of because of us and that I would see them in the evening. After 12 hours of watching movies, staring out of the window and asking my girlfriend to stay awake and play games with me, we finally arrived at Schiphol airport. It was strange walking at this airport for the first time in halve a year again. After walking through the customs I wanted to go straight to the train station in order to take the first train home. What I didn’t expect was that my parents were waiting for us at the airport. Seeing them was such a strange experience for me. A mixture of feelings came upon me in which I experienced happiness of seeing them again, getting a sense of relieve of finally being home again, but on the other side still couldn’t believe that they in fact were standing right in front of me instead of looking at them through face time or Skype. Being in the presence of my family and arriving back in my home country was so much to take in. I found it hard to acclimate considering I had a sleepless flight of 12 hours.

After having a coffee at the airport, which I normally found extremely crowded, I noticed how few people actually walked around and how slow they were walking. The entire airport seemed to be so relaxed and peaceful, even arriving in the city of Amsterdam seemed so small and the pace of the people, the public transport and the traffic seemed to be going so slowly. Considering the fact that I have been living in the third most populous city of China for 6 months made me realize how hectic the city actually was. It was even so crowded and fast that 6 months of experience made the entire city of Amsterdam feel like a stroll through the park. I have been abroad for only halve a year and already I felt like a stranger in my own country. It took me one to two months to get used to the normal way of living again and even though I was very excited to go back the Netherlands again, I already started to miss many aspects of my daily life in China.

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