more day!

in less than 4 hours i leave for logan airport on my way to shanghai. today feels like a sunday, because beginning tomorrow i start working. it's not so much a relaxing vacation as it is more a 3-month long project where i'm constantly on assignment. you'll be hard pressed to find anyone more reluctant to go on a trip than me: i haven't even left and already i'm dreaming about coming back home. i'm nervous. i'm scared. i'm worried. it'd be strange if i wasn't, right? maybe it wouldn't be so bad if i was going with somebody else, but i'm flying solo, and it's terrifying now that the voyage is finally starting to happen. i wish i was braver, confident in my abilities, sure that everything will go right, nothing will go wrong, but i'm not. maybe that's why i do it, facing my fears, challenging myself.

i took ang tao this morning on a super market tour of somerville avenue. first we went to the brazilian supermercado, followed by the family dollar store, the nearby brooks pharmacy, the always cheap market basket (ang tao was very impressed with the crowd and the selection), the union square korean market, a liquor shop, and an indian convenience store. the weather was cool when we first left the house but an hour later it became stifling hot. i cranked on the air conditioner when we got back home. the fish seemed happy, especially after i scrubbed clean the tank today of algae (i gave ang tao instructions on how to feed cherry barb).

my mother and sister came by to help me pack, but my father decided it'd be a good idea if i got a rain cover for my backpack (instead of the large trash bag i planned on using in the event of wet weather), so off we went (with ang tao in tow) to the reading REI. unfortunately neither they nor the boston store (they called to check) had any 60 L sizes in stock. after getting something to drink at the nearby dunkin' donuts, we came back to my place, with my father meeting us right when we got back.

not sure if it was the vanilla chai, or not having anything to eat all day, or possibly a case of mild dehydration, or just predeparture jitters, but my head was dizzy, like suddenly there was a million things i had to do and not enough hours left in the day to do them. i went around the house finding items to bring while my mother helped me stow them away in my backpack. my packing strategy is this: put everything into ziploc bags, and throw them haphazardly into my pack. ang tao traded some chinese money with me.

once that was done, my family left. i was still a bit stunned, but it was probably hunger at that point. i called back a few people who left messages on my voicemail to wish me a good voyage. bruce came to visit briefly. i started a copy of all my digital photos onto an external hard drive (a backup, in case something should befall my computer at home). it was going to take several hours before it's done, which gave me plenty of time to go to belmont to have one last dinner with my family and to leave the motorcycle in storage.

my last meal was an order of kentucky fried chicken. i copied a few more documents (passport, itinerary), then played around with google earth, flying over shanghai virtually, before i fly over shanghai for real tomorrow. my mother found a few more little items for me to bring (kleenex packets, soap), then my father gave me a ride back to cambridge (it was weird losing the independence of my motorcycle).

the house was empty, ang tao having returned to the lab again. i took the opportunity to reorganize my backpack, then cleaned up the house. i chatted with ang tao when he came home; he offered a few more emergency numbers i could call while in china. he went to bed, promising to wake up early tomorrow morning to send me off. this all leads to this point, where i'm silently in the living room, writing this last post before i leave. though late, i still have a few more things on my to-do list. at this point, i may not bother sleeping, i'm probably already on shanghai time. that bit of afternoon chai didn't help much either.

the next time i write it'll be from shanghai.