|Having fun with my 帅哥 in the big smoke, Shanghai|
After an excruciating two day journey (Wuhan - Shanghai - Abu Dhabi - Dublin) I'm back in Ireland and back at work which is the only good thing about being back. I need to be busy or I know I will fall apart. I arrived at home in the early evening on Sunday. I was supposed to arrive in the early afternoon but thanks to two delayed flights and almost leaving the airport with the wrong suitcase that didn't happen.
Being back in Ireland sucks. Like big time. I didn't want to leave China. I thought saying goodbye to my dad, family and my friends in Germany was hard. Compared to saying goodbye to my fish saying goodbye to them is a piece of cake.
I spent most of Saturday clinging to my fish as though my life depended on it. He was quite annoyed about it. The clingy girlfriend doesn't sit well with him. At all. I couldn't help it though. I had a near panic attack when he tried to sleep on the train without holding my hand. I was simply having none of it. Being the gentlemen that he is, he gave in and let me have my way. When we got on the coach from Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station to Shanghai Pudong Airport, I cried the entire time, again to the fish's annoyance who dislikes having snot and tears on his clothes. In fairness, I do too. I didn't want to cry but the tears just kept flowing, there was no stopping them.
I managed to calm down a little when we got to the airport but that didn't last for long. Even though he didn't let it show, I'm sure my fish was extremely pleased with having to put up with a clingy, snotty, teary girlfriend on top of trying to make my departure as smooth as possible. You see, the fish doesn't like me to worry so he tries to sort out everything which results in me feeling totally relaxed and him being completely stressed out - not that he would ever admit that. The easiest way to tell is giving him a shoulder massage. When my hands hurt afterwards because his muscles are like stone, I know our stress levels are a million miles apart.
By the time I had to go through immigration and security, I completely lost the plot. I didn't care that there where about 30 Chinese and four airport police officers standing around us, I just burst into tears and gave my fish the biggest and longest hug. I just couldn't walk away. The fish tried to push me away to make it easier, threatened to walk off and eventually pleaded for me to just go. I managed to take two steps away from him but that was all, even a promise from him not to leave the airport until I had reached my gate didn't make me want to leave his side. He had to plead again and once I had walked passed the four airport police officers he asked them not to let me get passed them again. Not wanting to get into anything with Chinese officials, I didn't even try and slowly walked off, out of sight. I don't think my feet ever felt so heavy, every step felt like a knife cutting another hole into my heart.
The immigration officer and the security staff either had a good laugh at seeing such a miserable, teary-eyed, red-nosed laowai or they are well and truly used to seeing crying women (laowai or otherwise) at the airport and couldn't care less.
I hope that this was the last time that have to say goodbye to my fish, I don't think my heart can take another separation. When we said goodbye in June last year, I desperately wanted to ask him to accompany me to Beijing so we could spend some more time together but I didn't have the guts to do so. At that time my fish was up to his ears in work and I didn't want to put pressure on him. I know he would have said yes, he would have loved to accompany me... Then we didn't see each other for seven months. That was the toughest time, especially when my fish's visa was rejected. To be quite honest, I have no idea how I managed to cope. It would really help if I knew how I coped, I could try to use the same tricks now to keep myself from going nuts.
The fish and I had a lovely month together now and I have a lot of stories, I would like to share. From meeting and spending time together with my fish's family to celebrating the Chinese New Year to a trip to a Chinese hospital to all the delicious food I ate and all the traditions I tried to understand and failed to the worst kept secret in history and that ring on my finger. China really feels like home even though I need help posting a letter and am utterly lost in a Chinese supermarket. Maybe it's the rose-coloured glasses of love that make it feel like the one and only place I want to be, I don't know. All I know is that I'm not scared of whatever China throws at me, I'll learn somehow, even if I have to do change completely. I did that once when I moved to Ireland and it hasn't done me any harm, if anything it has only helped me to grow up and become the woman I am now.