Thursday, July 3, 2014

How I Found My iPad

Once again I am headed to China. This time, seriously lacking funds, I have agreed to indenture myself teaching for four weeks in Jiangsu Province. This stint should finance the rest of my summer in Scotland!

I wouldn't say that I base my flight bookings on the time of departure but after being forced to leave for the airport at the ungodly hour of 4:30 am this time, it will be a consideration from now on. Having about three hours sleep the night before I would definitely say that my brain was not firing on all cylinders. When I took my assigned seat on United Airlines at 7:30am I took my iPad from my backpack and placed it in the pocket in front of me. I then became distracted by the flight attendant trying to explain to a young man and his mother, that since he was not sixteen they couldn't sit in the emergency exit row. Now this row has considerably more leg room then your average seat so I quickly, and selflessly, volunteered to switch places with the boy. Not wanting to miss my opportunity I quickly grabbed my knapsack and, feeling very happy, settled in to my new improved seat. The mother and son could not speak English very well and I overheard the flight attendant telling a workmate that they were headed to Shanghai. I briefly wondered if they would be on my connecting flight and then settled down for a comfy snooze.

During the layover in Chicago I plugged in my phone to charge and decided this might be a good time to get my little tooly thing out and remove my SIM card to avoid the accidental accumulation of larcenous roaming charges. As I rummaged through my bag a growing horror came over me as I realized my iPad was no longer in my possession! I mentally retraced my steps since arriving at Toronto airport and I was positive the bag had not left my back. The only time I had removed it was going through security...a brief vision of the security personnel sneakily removing this most coveted item from my bag as I was distractedly trying to put my running shoes back on, flashed through my mind. I could just see them gleefully playing Angry Birds in the lunch room. Obviously the REM was getting to me. I gave my head a shake and visually retraced every movement I had made...when I reached the point of placing my iPad in the pocket of the first seat I had occupied, my stomach lurched and I actually thought I was going to be sick. Now, I know there are worse things in life then losing an electronic device but I have, for better or worse, come to depend on this little tool for just about everything - teaching, communication, entertainment and yes, blogging (my despair was only for those three or four people who might miss my ramblings and musings).

Since I had only departed my previous plane some thirty minutes previous I rushed to the United counter and unceremoniously and rudely pushed my way to the front where I interrupted the checking of boarding passes and, I must admit, somewhat hysterically announced, "I've left my iPad on the first plane!"
My abandoned iPad!
Honestly, you would have thought I'd left an infant behind by my demeaner. The attendent must have been able to tell that I was about have a coronary or something so she took my used boarding pass, which I was frantically waving about and began to pick up a phone. As she was doing that I remembered that the boy who had taken my seat and his mother were also travelling to Shanghai. I did a quick scan of the line up for document check and there they were! I ran over and, again sounding somewhat hysterical asked if they had seen my iPad. At first he shook his head with what seemed to be very little understanding and I remembered that his English was limited. I began to speak slowly while making an air drawing of an ipad (basically the square symbol since how does one mime an iPad). The boy seemed to indicate that he had seen the iPad and left it in the seat pocket so I rushed back to the counter and pointed to the mother and son while telling the attendant that he and I had switched seats and he said the iPad was left on the plane. The woman was holding my boarding pass in one hand and a phone in the other. They next thing I knew the mother was tapping me on the shoulder and rapidly saying something in Chinese. She began to rip apart a plastic bag she was holding and extracted my iPad. I can honestly say I was overcome with emotion at this point and lost all of my reserve as I hugged her and said thank you over and over.

Now, at first I thought that this pair were kind and wonderful strangers who had come to my rescue but as the woman kept pointing to the a and agitatedly speaking a rapid succession of words, I realized that the only reason she had returned my property was that she saw me pointing to her and her son and must have thought I was reporting them. She probably had visions of being pulled into a small room and detained for questioning on foreign soil and decided that handing over the iPad was the prudent course of action.

Regardless of the motivation, luck had been on my side and since I am writing this blog you can rest assured that I now have my iPad safe and sound...and although I am composing this entry on my second flight of the day, I will not be putting it in the seat pocket!

On to Shanghai...


  1. Oh my gosh mom! The ONE thing you need to have to teach in China and you almost lose it! I'm shaking my head right now. I just can't even.... well at least you have it now. Please try and be a little more with it when you travel. You are stressing me out.

    Love you!

  2. Luck was definitely on my side on this one!


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