Day 7: Homeward
Yep, I didn’t sleep much again. Awake before my 5:30am alarm, I figured I’d just get up and have no problem being ready. I even had a shower. I awoke my roommate from a significant sleep, but it was okay as he slept a good part of the 2.5 hour drive to Shanghai. Here’s how bad the Monday morning traffic was – Pudong International Airport is only 65 miles from our hotel. And yet it took two hours and forty minutes to get there. I slept a little. We arrived, checked in, had a breakfast sandwich from Starbucks, and bought a few gifts to bring home.
I like buying gifts when I travel, although I didn’t have a lot of time to do that on this trip. We really did no “touristy” things except for visiting Tiger Hill. Thankfully while we were there, we found a little booth run by an old Chinese woman and a young girl, about Sophia’s age. They sold small wooden toys, many with moving parts. The price was insanely low at 40 yuan, or about six bucks. But it was the kind of gift that echoed the way one might think of old China, and something one wouldn’t pick up at just any store at home. So that is for my daughter. Also on Tiger Hill, I found a silk ornament containing lavender for fragrance. I thought it was be a nice homage to this experience for our Christmas tree, and my wife likes tree ornaments that have meaning. I also found two nice jade earrings for her in a different shop.
When I wrote this entry, I was sitting 40,000 miles above the Pacific Ocean after about five hours of flying. My watch said it was 17:13, but of course in a way there’s “no time” in the air. Flying over time zones and the international date line gets a little more normal the more one does it, I’m sure, but it’s still interesting to think about. The rest of our team were probably finding dinner in Suzhou. My family at home, however, should have been sound asleep at 02:13 in the morning. I should have slept on the flight probably, to try and reset my internal clock. But that would end up taking a few days.
I am thankful for this opportunity. It was a road that didn’t become clear to me until about a week beforehand. I mean, I went to meetings, etc., but it didn’t feel real. My primary goal was to gain more thorough understanding of UPPC’s partnership in China. I think that goal was met. And I’m grateful to have been supported in seeing yet another country and culture that until now has really been a combination of pictures, movies, and myth.
God is transcendent and created a complex and fascinating world. It’s a privilege to serve Jesus by loving the world he loves so much.