05
Feb
10

Day 0: LAX, Runway

On the road again.  Forty days in China is the perfect recipe for our just desserts after completing the California Bar exam.  Last night, or, inexplicably, this morning two days ago (all this traveling I’ve done and I still allow myself to sink into bafflement when pondering time zone changes) we started our journey.

For weeks while studying for the Bar, Kristy and I had been wondering just how out of our element we were going to be, given our status as two of the whitest people you could meet.  So we’ve been joking about not having any clue about what’s going on in China.   Thank goodness we have Sam in her half Chinese, Mandarin spouting glory!  But I don’t think any of us expected the confusion to start quite as soon as it did.  We were in the plane at LAX, wheels still on the ground, when hilarious disaster already struck.  It went something like this:

**Heroes enter the plane and find their seats.  Pretty asian flight attendants approach with wrapped boxes, hand the boxes to heroes.  Confused, heroes take boxes.
Heroes (looking at each other):  What do they want us to do with these?  Just hold them for takeoff?  But they’re frozen?  How come no one else has boxes?
**Heroes remember that a month ago they, on a whim, ordered kosher meals for their flights.  Pretty asian flight attendants judge by heroes’ confusion that they won’t make any headway trying to speak to heroes, mime that they should unwrap the boxes.
Heroes (looking at each other.  Laughing): They want us to open them?  Now?!  But why?  They’re frozen!
**Heroes, shaking with laughter, fumble with plastic wrapping, are unable to get the plastic from around the boxes, laugh harder.  Pretty asian flight attendants, laughing uncomfortably, move to help.  Finally, plastic removed, pretty asian flight attendants mime that heroes should open the individuals containers of food.
Heroes (hysterical with laughter, tears in their eyes): Open these?! Are we supposed to eat this?  We haven’t left yet.  I can’t even put down my tray until after takeoff!  How come no one else is eating?!  THEY’RE FROZEN!!
**Finally, with each container opened, pretty asian flight attendants take food away.  Heroes assume (and hope) the process is required for kosher meals.  Process is repeated two more times throughout the flight, including hysterical laughter.

We knew that the confusion had more to do with the fact that we had never eaten a kosher meal on a plane before than it had to do with the fact that we were going to China.  I mean, we were still in LA!  But it seemed like a fantastic omen that Kristy and I were going to have no idea what we were doing in China.

Some time during the flight, at that point when you listen to the white noise hum of the atmosphere pressing against the plane and you see other passengers sleeping and you wonder why you are the only person who is THIS uncomfortable in their seat, a flight attendant came up to us, leaned over me, and asked Kristy, “You hungry?  We have snacks.”  Kristy and I looked at each other and wondered, “Does Kristy look particularly famished?”  And then we joked and laughed at the idea that they have kosher snacks that we would have to unwrap.  And they did!

Pre-pre-flight Kosher meal embarrassment.

Crying from laughter on the plane.

In the end, it seemed like a very appropriate flight: the only white people on board, don’t even know how to eat our food, and getting served first so everyone else was looking at us.  Now we’re in Seoul waiting for our early flight to Beijing.  This airport is incredibly nice (its covered in hardwood floors!!) and large and clean, and they have benches with no arms so we can lay down.  Score!

Amazingly beautiful Seoul airport.

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3 Responses to “Day 0: LAX, Runway”


  1. 1 Karen Shea
    February 22, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    Stephen – Kristy’s mom here – just wanted to say I’m enjoying this journal IMMENSELY! Just read the Day 5 addendum. What a lovely time you had on the train! Thanks for doing this!

  2. February 24, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    I’m really glad you’re enjoying it!

  3. March 19, 2010 at 5:07 am

    Hi Stephen –

    Already, I am hooked! If your blog contains accounts like this one, then it should be a fun read. Congrats on passing the CA bar! I understand you are stressing over the job-hunting process but I think this trip and blog are a brilliant way to pass the time. It is as though THIS is something you HAVE to do in order to prepare for the worklife to come. I chuckled at your welcome post – ‘blonde in a sea of black’ and look forward to the answers to all those questions! Take care and so glad you ‘stumbled’ on my blog! Tracy


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