At the end of 2016, I won a scholarship to go and Au Pair in China. Although I ended up coming home after 6 weeks rather than 6 months due to a mixture of things, I value the experience I had there. However, there are a few experiences that are funnier now than they were at the time.
Here is a quick moment down memory lane, of an experience I had getting home from town one night by myself (I was living in Shanghai FYI).
“Now, we get to the horror ride of getting home. I looked up directions to get home, and Apple maps suggested that I catch a bus the whole way, or catch a couple of subways. Seeing as they took around the same time to get me home, I thought, why not catch the bus?! It took around fifteen minutes for the bus to turn up, and I was very thankful when it did, as it was freezing outside. The bus had HEATED seats!!! So, for the next hour, I was very pleased. We finally arrived at my last station, where Apple maps told me I had fifteen minutes to walk before arriving at home.
I was looking forward to dinner and bed. I started to follow the instructions, though, and I eventually came to a gated community. Apple maps told me I had to walk through it to get home. Surely I wasn’t reading it right. I kept on walking to see if any of the instructions changed, but it kept telling me to go back to the gated community. Perhaps it’s a gated community where you don’t need a card to enter? I tried and yes; you need a card. It was pitch black, and I was lost. Having no clue how else to get home, I thought I would try and catch a taxi. I haven’t had any problems with them so far, so what’s the harm in trying?! Well, I tried one taxi, and he indicated that I needed to go to the other side of the road. Okay, I can do that. I then waited in the cold for another ten or so minutes before another empty taxi drove past. I showed him the location of where I wanted to go, and he looked confused. Why? I’m not sure. He got a translator out and translated ‘Where you want to go?’, I once again showed him my phone. Unable to do anything else, I said no worries and backed away.
To hail a taxi, you usually have to physically hop on the road. So, I got back onto the pathway and FELL OVER. I was upset, lost, cold and so, of course, also had to add in a fall. Having a little cry to myself, I was feeling determined to get home. I walked all the way back to my original bus stop and kept refreshing Apple maps until it gave me a new option to get home. Eventually, it did, and guess what? It took a 3-minute bus ride to get home. Why, oh why, did it not suggest this to me in the first place?! I will never know. I arrived home, ate some food I had purchased on the way and gladly went to bed.”
Home was so close, that in the end I had to laugh.