In typical Sara fashion I finished packing Thursday night, with only a few bumps along the way (aka - having bags almost twice as heavy as the restriction). Yes, I can get things very cheaply in China. But then why buy more when you already have it. In the end I brought a bit less of everything, and my aunt so very kindly paid for the extra weight, which is now within allowed-onto-the-plane limits.
I am now in Narita, Japan, half way through my 19 hour lay-over. The flight didn't feel as long as I expected, given it was 10 hours. This was probably helped by the fact that the middle seat was empty, so there was some breathing room between me and the man sitting in the aisle seat. One of the best parts of the plane was that the large screens showed what the pilots were seeing out the front window at take off and landing, and seeing land appear and then get closer very quickly made up for how much my ears hurt during landing.
I decided to eat at the airport because it was cheaper than eating at the hotel restaurant, and, despite a reasonable meal and snack, I was starving when I arrived. My first Eastern meal? Spaghetti. Go figure. Looking at the airport guide while eating showed that if I had gone up to the 4th floor I would have found all of the restaurants and shops, as opposed to the first smaller one that I walked into. However, the spaghetti was very good :)
In attempt to get used to the current time, I went into town to explore after checking in to my tiny hotel room. A very nice Japanese couple insisted that I take a cab with them after the 3 of us spent some time trying to figure out the bus schedule (there was one inside and outside, and they didn't match). We got dropped off downtown, where they headed to the train to Tokyo. In the end I didn't explore too much - as it started getting dark I decided it was probably not the best idea to get too far away from the hotel shuttle stop.
I'm definitely starting to get excited and nervous about the move and new job. It finally feels like it's actually happening now that I've done all of the steps needed to get there. I'm going to go try and get a good multi-hour stretch of sleep in hopes that in a few hours it will feel like morning, and that I'm ready for the craziness to begin! I will write more and post some pictures tomorrow.
Thank you to all of my friends and family who have been so supportive and helpful....I miss you already!