love at first sight

Firstly, I will say the trip to California was worth it.

Secondly, I will say that it was the most hellish flight I have ever had. I guess I’m just the kind of person who can’t take two flights in a row. The first flight was fine, ear popping didn’t hurt whatsoever. Then, the second flight’s landing was one of the most painful things I’ve ever experienced. (I should add that I had a terrible ear infection that lasted 18 months.) The pressure on my ears was so much that it was just painful and they would not pop! I was too scared to pop them myself and when they finally did pop, they continued to pop for five minutes. Painful sharp bursts. Terrible. I wanted to die. As in fetal position, hands over ears, basically sobbing kind of die. I swear I’m not a wimp. I have high pain tolerance but if anything happens to my ears, I’m out.

Well, after the flight was over, things got good. I was elated to be on ground. My Auntie called to give me instructions to meet her outside where she was parked but with my little understanding of chinese, I heard go to the parking garage. I wandered a bit around in the airport, wondering where she was. After another call that took longer than I’d like (I was drooping with exhaustion by then, 2 AM eastern time) I finally found her. It was my third time seeing her and there was no hug or “how have you been” but it felt right anyway. We were both tired. There was an hour drive back but it passed by really fast for me. We had short drifts of conversation. I was happy that there was never more than a minute of silence.

After we reached home, I said to my hellos to my grandma, ready to throw myself on the ground just so I could sleep. She forced me to eat and I ended up having a short conversation with her and my Auntie. Finally, by that time it was around 1 AM when I finally got to bed. I didn’t sleep that well and I woke up to someone coming into my room at SIX AM IN THE MORNING, climbing on my bed and peering over at me silently. I’m a light sleeper so as soon as my little cousin entered the room, I had drawn the covers tight around me and as he creeped closer, I withdrew more and more into my covers. Then, I was staring through sleep glazed eyes at my 8 years old cousin for the first time. I asked him in chinese if he was looking for something. He was silent for a few moments then answered rather clumsily that he was just looking before scampering out of the room. (Which is his bedroom by the way, which was why I thought he entered in the first place.) I couldn’t help smiling like an idiot even though I had been woken up at SIX AM IN THE MORNING and I was prepared to go back to sleep when I heard chickens clucking outside.

YES. CHICKENS. They were a cluck clucking like mad outside and I peered outside to see them bobbing their heads in a treehouse sort of thing in my neighbor’s yard. I did a sort of /head-desk/ motion on the windowpane before a dog started barking at the chickens. So of course, I couldn’t go back to sleep, but I did end up drifting on and off, imagining meeting my Uncle and older cousin, Patrick. When I finally got up at eight, my little cousin was staring at me from his mother’s bedroom. My grandma informed me that he had been thoroughly excited for my visit, chuckling when I told her how I’d woken up. I was so overwhelmed by happiness. I waved at him and he waved back awkwardly, trying to put on his pants behind the bed at the same time. “I-I don’t want her to, to see, my butt!” he had explained to my grandma when she laughed at his antics.

Needless to say, I loved my little cousin at first sight.