My brief stay in Xinchang Town, Shanghai, was both majestic + a learning experience. Most of my solo traveling adventures are learning experiences, but this one taught me a lot about fear + panic.
My morning was filled with tea + relaxation. I wandered around the streets of a part of Shanghai that is over 2,000 years old taking pictures. I happened upon a beautiful work-out class that held a group of elderly women dancing in unison. I ended up joining them. Although I could not understand them, it seemed we all shared a mutual understanding of the language of movement. I had no idea that dancing with a group of elders in Shanghai was on my to-do list… but I would say that box has been checked. Exclusively in this article you actually will always be delightful, as well as play pokies free online you haven’t any the same!
It felt SO special to be welcomed by these women. They hugged me and pinched my cheeks. It was such a delight to experience.
After my lovely morning, I was packing to get ready to fly to Delhi. That is when I heard a sudden echo of knuckles on my door. The knock spoke of urgency.
I opened the door to three uniformed police officers. They began to yell at me in Chinese, and the only English words I could make out were, “DON’T WASTE TIME!” + “COME QUICKLY!”.
Do you know what it feels like to encounter police officers in a foreign country that are yelling directly at you? I didn’t, until that moment. And now, I do. I could have probably gone the rest of my life without knowing what that felt like, but alas, this was not the case.
I learned about the emotion of panic. My heart sank + my stomach felt like it dropped into my butt. I witnessed my mind immediately create story line + escape strategies. It was wild. I saw how quickly my mind could create a drama narrative based on almost no information.
A deeper knowing came online that helped me remain grounded + calm(ish). I mean, I remained as calm as one could in such ridiculous and surprising circumstances.
I realized how much fear we store in our bodies from encounters like this. I was trying to let me body know it didn’t have to have a fight, flight, or freeze response. It was a great opportunity to track my breath.
I was coaching my body, while simultaneously packing and talking to my inner child ( who was REALLY confused + nervous) saying..”It’s okay to be scared, we will know what’s happening very soon, I’ve got you.”
I had to become my own parent in that moment. I’ve been practicing self-parenting a lot these past 12 months, so that was a great opportunity to use my tools.
It was not my favorite way to test my tools, but I managed to move through that experience with ease WHILE still being scared shitless. I think things become a bit more scary and dramatic when there is a language barrier, in fact, I’m quite sure of it.
Had I known what was happening + been talked to calmly, my experience may have turned out less dramatic than the current narrative. Communication is an art form that is both abused + taken for granted.
I was ready for Ashton Kutcher to call my WhatsApp and tell me I was being Punked. Was this some kind of joke? Are they sure they had the right woman?
I think we live in a reality where we can hold two perspectives in our awareness (or three…etc.) at the same time. I could be both panicked and afraid, while still maintaining a knowing that I would be fine. Even if “fine” meant having to call my mom and tell her to come to China and bail me out of jail. (I’m being a bit hyper-theatrical about the jail part, I did not, in any way, think I was going to jail. Actually, I’m lying.. I did have a sharp but passing wave of paranoia about accidentally packing weed in my suitcase. I sometimes work in that industry + you never know what can get trapped in a pocket.)
It turned out that my Air BnB host was not permitted to house foreign travelers. I will most definitely be writing her a nice review :)!
I was taken to the police station to fill out paperwork + sent on my way to the airport. Phewfff.
Drama much? Jeez, China… what a full spectrum experience of magic, connection + bureaucratic unpredictability.
I will not let that hiccup jade my perspective of how beautiful my experience initially was.
Here are some photos of the beauty of this culture!
Until next time, Shanghai….