Friday, February 13, 2009

Getting Accustomed

I know I'm back on an '04 kick, but I can't help but recall an experience whose memory was happily overturned last week.

Possibly the scariest few moments I can remember from our last trip (and probably in the top five in my time as a mom) occurred at the border between mainland China and Hong Kong. Since we were riding a bus between Taishan and Kowloon, we needed to actually get off the bus twice to pass through customs. Once to leave the mainland, the other to arrive in Hong Kong. With all of our luggage in hand (and on our backs), Steve and I each grabbed a hand of one of the kids and proceeded through the door of the building. "Back in the day" (that is, '04) when zhongguoren were less likely to queue up, there was a herd of us trying to get to the same place at the same time.

I had Julie by the hand, but she got pushed a bit ahead of me (she was just nine at the time). As the throng pushed forward, we tried to hold on to the same bag, so as to remained connected, but it was impossible. For about ten seconds (which seemed like forever), I watched her keep swept up in the crowd. She turned and looked at me, obviously very upset, as was I. When a woman in the crowd spotted us, she put her arms out to stop the people in the crowd and loudly verbalized that Julie and I needed to be reunited...and we were. Both shaken, we profusely thanked her and made our way to the immigration line.

This image of customs has remained in my mind for over four years, so I was dreading the repeat of this process as we headed back to the scene last week. Perhaps because Julie is older, we're all a bit wiser, we already know our way, and there seems to be much less pushing, shoving, and line cutting these days. It seemed almost silly to have responded to our last experience in such a way. This time, we are a "well-oiled machine"...through the door, through the line, no problem. A new memory to replace the old.



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