You may be wondering where my post was this weekend since I didn’t have any photo challenges or daily life in China adventures, or maybe not… But I am going to tell you anyway 😉For the first time I had a flight booked for the day after school. I always wish to get out of Shanghai early, but I like the extra day(s) to pack, sleep in and do last minute errands without the rush and stress. Well this year it was cheaper to fly early and with John leaving ahead of me I was looking forward to getting home. I quickly regretted that as I came home each night tired, hot and low on energy after a busy day at work. The last week was rainy (too many indoor recesses where I was trapped with kids all day), humid and with so much to do. Luckily I had a few students who love to help and they did some little fiddly jobs so I could get other more pressing things accomplished. Friday night I had to do all the errands and the adrenalin of summer holidays ahead quickly wore off and I felt like I hit a wall of exhaustion. I pushed through and did as much as I could before heading to bed, vowing to wake early and finish.
The next morning I was up with the birds and finished packing, cleaning and getting the cat off to the kennel. Checking my flight I realized it was delayed two hours. I worried I would miss my connection, since I only had about two hours between flights. That soon became a blessing of what became the longest day of my life! When you have a bad day you can’t wait for it to be over….well add traveling across the globe to stretch that day even longer made me wonder if it would ever end. I landed in Vancouver before I even left Shanghai…. Missed my connection, but I am getting ahead of myself. This is not the worst thing that happened today.
Ok, so running late, but I knew the flight was delayed so I had a little bit of a window, so I didn’tworry. All packed and thirty minutes to an hour behind schedule I was finally ready. The last few jobs would have to wait until I came back. Everything at the door all I had to do was shut off the water. Easy task…. Well that quickly became my worst decision of the day.
I turned the knobs to the hot water heater and then pondered another knob. Do I turn this one off too? I guess I should just in case. Well I barely touched it when it broke off in my hand and a gush of water came spraying out all over me, the wall and everything in between. I stood frozen in shock wondering what do I do? I have to go to the airport! Quickly looking for a shut off and seeing none…. This was the shut off, so where is another? Next, I panicked. I ran to my neighbor who speaks English. No answer. I ran to my other…. No answer. I called John’s cousin who lives in the building maybe she knows. Through my crappy phone where no one can hear me and my panic she didn’t know what I was saying. Finally she came down and my neighbors came over. We all ran around trying to scoop out water which now was going into the dining room. I tried to call the school guy who takes care of our units, no answer. I called a friend… They were too far away. My neighbors stuck a wine cork in the pipe, which was temporary since the pressure popped it out within minutes. At least it helped for a short bit while they called for the building maintenance. This fellow comes to the door. “Ay- o” (I-O) which is like “holy crap”. He turned off the water from a main shut off that was in a cupboard in the main public hall behind a door… Why didn’t I think to look there? Geesh didn’t even know it was there! He gave us ideas how to quickly dry up the water as we built a dam with every towel I had and slowly pushed the water back to the kitchen. I was so worried and didn’t know what to do…. And no one could hear me on the phone… It only made my stress rise. I was so lucky to have great neighbors to come to my rescue and help me. They were kind enough to offer and stay with the mess so I wouldn’t miss my flight. I stayed and helped though… I just couldn’t leave this for others.
Finally it was cleaned up and I could go. Did I mention the pipe broke because it was attached only by a thin bit of caulking?!! I guess I am lucky it broke BEFORE I left and not while we were away. The fellow from work would come later to assess the damage and fix the pipe. I went to leave and of course it started to rain. Already late and now rain… I was still wet from the flood and didn’t have a chance to change. Good luck now getting a taxi. Luckily my other neighbor who speaks about as much English as I speak Chinese saw me struggling and helped me get a taxi and told the driver exactly where to go. I must have looked like heck… wet, make-up down my face, which I didn’t even notice until I got to the airport. After a crazy day I was so thankful for all the help I received. I guess in a time of need someone will come to your rescue.
Inside the taxi we headed to the airport. I should make it. No sooner the thought crossed my mind we stopped dead…. construction traffic. Could anything else go wrong today? With my stress level at an all time high we made it with a little time to spare. The airport was so busy the driver couldn’t get to the curb, so he stopped me on a lane of traffic. Dumped my bags and sped off. Now on the road I had to struggle to the curb. Luckily a baggage cart was left so I nabbed it and ran inside the airport. I made it…. But was informed my flight was overbooked. They put me on stand by for the direct flight hoping to ease up the extra passengers. It made little sense since the other flight was ALSO overbooked. I didn’t make that flight, but asked them about my original flight and they put me back on it. Once through customs and at the gate I could relax. I made it.
We were delayed further, so I missed my connection in Vancouver, but JUST made the next one to Toronto. Relaying my crazy adventure to a fellow traveler she said well keep smiling…. It was true I somehow managed to keep smiling after the initial panic and shock wore off. I was thankful to all those helped me and came to my rescue. I made it…I was home. The longest day of my life was over, I was tired, but I made it.
Stay tuned…. My next adventure was not as chaotic and lots of fun. More about that later.