notice that this is OUTSIDE
"Love you! Have great time on this trip. Cost of FEDEX $44.00 Mom."
Short, sweet, loving, supportive, and informative. So there I was smiling, and tearing up, in public, at 6:45AM, as memories of the letters she would put into my lunch box come rushing back to me. AND I felt so loved. I've never missed them so much, ever.
That's why it was SO AMAZING that I got to meet up with my Uncle Steve IN BEIJING. He happened to be around on business. Yeah. I would have never have imagined any of this happening, but it was wonderful. I show up at the airport and he's arranged for a car to take us to the Great Wall.
First thing I noticed about Beijing was that there seemed to be something wrong with the air. There's like no visibility. At first I thought it was like pollution around the airport, but it turns out that it's DUST. Great. I waited in Korea in anticipation of this trip through the dirt-from-China season, the rainy season, all the way into the I-didn't-even-know-I-could-sweat-from-that-part-of-my-body season, ONLY TO TAKE A VACATION and return to the Chinese dirt season, but now from its source!
I digress. So, Steve and I were off to climb the Great Wall at Badaling. Now, when I say climb, I mean it. This is a serious hike. We took the cable car up, and only wandered around a small portion, and I still looked like hell hit me with a shovel and sucked most of soul out. I couldn't imagine walking the entire way up. It's SO congested. There are so many people, and it was hot, and the were areas that people just decided to turn into bathrooms. OH THE SMELL! And, I might add, I wasn't surprised to see women in heels having a bit of trouble (which I found quite inspirational). Despite all that, it was very cool, and it was that much cooler that I got to go with Steve.
Seeing Stevie Unc, even just for that brief amount of time, was just the right thing to get me started on my adventure--just a little confidence booster, extra security, a brief introduction filled with good China survial tips, a smooth ride to where I needed to go, and some extra birthday/travel funding (Thanks, Uncle Steve!).