Misadventure Monday: What is China doing to me?!

What is China doing to me?!

I cry yelled to my sister as I sat on the hotel toilet.

Don’t worry, it’s not another poop misadventure (although I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have more of those…).

This is a more of a general breakdown while travelling misadventure. Cause sometimes you are just tired and not understanding what’s going on isn’t fun anymore.

I had been in China for 2 weeks. One week was spent with my MBA cohort sliding down the Great Wall of China and now I was touring around Shanghai and some nearby areas with my sister and mom who had joined for one more week.


We were coming to the end of our trip, having taken a tour of Shanghai, spent a night in Suzhuo, and explored the watery village of Tongli. We had one last day in Shanghai and I was feeling the impact of two weeks on the other side of the world.

It’s not that there was anything wrong with China, it just wasn’t right for me.

And not in a “I don’t like China” kind of way, don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed it, but towards the end of the trip I was just tired. Tired of not being able to understand anything. Tired of not being able to communicate. Tired of not knowing what I was eating (as a vegetarian that was slightly more stressful). Tired of being tired. Tired of the spitting. And just tired of travelling. Happens to the best of us.

So as I prepared to go to the restroom on that last day in Shanghai and saw an unexpected bruise the size of my forearm on my thigh, I panicked.

What was China doing to me? I was exhausted. My stomach hurt. And now this?! An inexplainable bruise?


My sister knocked on the door to ask if I was ok. I was already in tears.

“No I’m not okay…look at this! What is this?! What is China doing to me?!” She gasped.

That made me panic more. But seriously, why was I just breaking out into bruises? And this was no small bruise either- I’m talking deep purples and greens going on. It was a thick one. Really twisted and spread in color. I barely ever bruise and here was this huge thing taking over my thigh. What. the. Heck.

My sister and I tried to think through possibilities- had I run into something? Hit something? What had I eaten that was different (um, see everything)? We tried to run through what causes spontaneous bruising. All I could think of were life threatening diseases.

One of the many unknown things we ate on the trip

I was sure I was a goner. This is what I get for wanting to travel the world. Some rare disease in China that starts by eating the flesh on my thigh.

Dramatic? Sure. I said I was tired.

“Oh! Cali. Duh. We’re idiots. You fell on the boat yesterday.”

So matter of fact. My sister had figured it out. She stared at me like I was an idiot, told me to stop blubbering, get myself together and move on.

And she was right. I had fallen the other day. We were getting onto a rowboat for a tour and while helping my mom I slipped and landed on my thigh on the side of the boat (not in the water thank goodness!).

Of course I was bruised, all of my cough-98-cough pounds had slammed onto the boat.

A boat like the one in the background was the culprit

I laughed. I literally cried more because I was relieved and still recovering from the initial panic and, see again- tired.

We went to my mom’s room to tell her how ridiculous I had just been- crying and wondering what an entire country was doing to me, forgetting that I myself had caused the damage. She just gave me that look moms give when they can’t believe they created that, and not in a good way.

Happy to report since then, no major life threatening diseases discovered in my body and that bruise, because that is all it was, did clear up eventually. It’s kinda too bad it couldn’t stay. Would have been a nice memory of what China did to me.


So what lesson can I extract for you from this misadventure?

It’s a basic one- sometimes there are downsides to travel. Sometimes that means you crying over ridiculous things that in your real life you would think nothing of. Sometimes that means becoming the person you don’t want to be that categorizes an entire country as one thing. Sometimes that just means being really, really tired.

Whatever it is, travel won’t be perfect- but it sure will offer one hell of a story.

What’s a downside you’ve experienced with travel? Have you also been so tired you couldn’t think straight while travelling? We’ve all had a bump in the road, what was yours?!



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