Flights and Other Travel Updates

Regarding my past-nationalities question in the last post (Chinese adoptee, ex-Chinese citizen, what to check on Taiwanese visa form?), I e-mailed iEarn last week and was redirected to the Taiwanese Economic and Cultural Office (TECO).  After a couple phone calls, a little bit of confusion, and a “call back Monday”, it was decided that I should just check “Other”.  Considering everything that I had to go through last year applying for a Chinese visa, the Taiwanese visa process has, so far, been pretty smooth.  I got all my forms in order today, and am planning on sending them out tonight.  Fingers crossed that everything works out!

(tl;dr: If you’re an ex-PRC citizen applying for a Taiwanese visa, just check “Other”).

Besides visa stuff, we also got the highly-anticipated flight information!  I’ll be flying out of Milwaukee at the very generous time of 11:40 am (no 4:00 am wakeup here!) and landing in New York around three.  Considering that there’s another girl in my NSLI-Y crew from the Milwaukee area, it’s likely that we’ll be flying together, though I have yet to confirm. . .I did confirm my flight though, and I already chose a window seat.

Once in New York we’ll be staying at what looks to be a pretty cool hotel.  I’ve never been to NYC before (first in my family, actually), and the hotel is right between the Hudson River and Central Park.  It sounds like we’ll have time to do some exploring, so I’m really excited for that!  Pre-travel bonding right?  And we have a native New Yorker, so I’m hoping he’ll know some cool places to go. . .

After New York we’re flying JFK to Tokyo-Narita, which I’m also super psyched about!  I looked up the airport and it was ranked the world’s 14th best airport in 2017, with really good shopping and food.  And it’s Japan, so that’s another country I can say I’ve technically been to.

This is tangential, but I really, really love airports.  Airports, and buses for that matter, remind me of two of my favorite words: sonder (the realization that everyone else around us is living a life as unique and complex as our own) and yuánfèn (緣分, the fate that brings people together).  At airports, everyone is literally on their own unique journeys, but are, for some reason or another, brought together for a single instant that can never be recreated; a tiny microcosm of life as a whole.  I think it’s absolutely fascinating (so much so that I wrote one of my college application essays about this topic. . .).

Also a tangent of a tangent: last year while on NSLI-Y I befriended a young couple on the plane ride from Beijing to Xi’an and continue to share messages on WeChat with them.  Airports: where connecting flights are missed, but better connections are made.  : ] : ] : ]

Anyway, after a three hour layover in Tokyo (is it bad if I hope it becomes longer?) we’re taking a plane to Kaohsiung and landing at 9:30 pm Kaohsiung time, totaling at least 20 hours of traveling.  I’m so ready already!

The international flight details are a bit murky at the moment- iEarn has it all figured out for us, so I’m not sure what airline we’re flying with or what our seats will be, but I’m hoping I can snag a window seat.  I’m also hoping there’s some in-flight entertainment, or at least a moving map thing.

In other news, tomorrow I’m reuniting with my beloved Chinese teacher Ms. Xing, who I haven’t seen in over a year.  Life is pretty exciting these days!

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