If lost, return to

So you know how when you’re a little kid, your mom makes you memorize your phone number just in case you get lost? (I had my childhood phone number memorized for fifteen years until I was talking about it with my sister a couple years ago and she was like, “That wasn’t our phone number at all. Mom must have told you the wrong number cuz she hates you.” So either my mom hates me or my older sister’s a jerk AND I’M NOT PREPARED TO BELIEVE EITHER OF THOSE THINGS.)
Or, for a different example, you know how you put collars on dogs with your address and phone number just in case they get lost?
Or, like, when your mom sews your name into your underwear, etc., etc. ????
Well, I’m not a child or dog OR UNDERWEAR, but this kinda applies to me.
I work at four different schools, so I need to take the bus to get from one to the other. Unfortunately, a lot of the buses here only have their schedules and names written in Chinese characters, so I can’t read them. So, the first time I got on one, one of my bosses gave me a note in Chinese explaining who I was and where I was going, walked me to the bus stop, showed me which bus to get on, and told the driver to tell me when my stop came.
I appreciated the help, but at the same time I was rolling my eyes thinking, “These people don’t know who I am. I’ve been to EUROPE and back on my own. I am NOT a little kid/dog/underwear. I’m a BIG BOY.”
Anyway, yesterday, I had an hour to get from one school to the other, so I ran to my bus stop, found my bus, and jumped on it. I was just a little bit jet lagged, so I thought I’d take a power nap before my stop. I knew roughly how long it would take to get there, so I figured I’d time it in my head and wake up before I got there.
(You know this isn’t going to go well.)
When I opened my eyes, I didn’t recognize anything outside. I’d never seen any of the buildings or streets before. I knew I hadn’t had my eyes closed long enough to miss my stop, so I figured I just hadn’t learned this route yet. I sat and waited for something I recognized to show up outside my window, but nothing ever did.
So then I knew I was lost. I ran through all my possible options. I still don’t have a SIM card (another story) and I didn’t have wifi, so googling anything wasn’t possible. I don’t speak Chinese, so explaining my situation to anyone was out of the question. So I had no options. I knew the bus would eventually come to the end of the line and that if I didn’t recognize any of my surroundings, I’d be in the middle of nowhere without a way to contact anyone.
Anyway, so I was sitting on the back of the bus, silently hugging my backpack tighter and tighter (INVOLUNTARILY). I noticed that the bus driver kept glancing at me in his rearview mirror, so I tried to act natural like, “I just really like this backpack.”
We got to the end of the line and the bus driver told everyone to get off. I started to get off, but he must have noticed the worry in my big, gorgeous brown eyes and asked (in English) where I was trying to go.
I was grateful he spoke English, but I didn’t know how to explain which stop I was supposed to get off at, so I showed him the paper my boss had written for me. He told me I’d gotten on the wrong bus, kindly drove me to the correct bus stop, and told the driver where to take me.
The sign says: “I’m a sad American. Please help me get to the right stop. Don’t rob me. Peace!!”
I arrived to my class a half hour late. Thankfully, another teacher covered for me and I was able to jump right into the lesson as soon as I arrived (“Who here has read Harry Potter?”).
So, I guess I’m not as internationally adept as we all thought.
And, when you get down to the deets, I never would have made it to so many places in the world if people hadn’t helped me. I’d have been lost a million times, stuck without transportation or money more than once, and had to sleep on the street if friends and strangers hadn’t helped me. So thank you, world, for treating me like a lost puppy.
But, of course, I AM an adult, and I PROVED it to myself when I got home by eating ice cream on the toilet. #adulting #winning

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