lost and lost

25th July 2005
When I went into my bedroom, I could see two beds in it. A guy was sitting at one of the beds and writing something.
  ‘Hello’ I greeted him, ‘nice to see you. What’s your name?’
  ‘Look’ he replied.
  ‘Where do you come from?’ I asked. I felt that he came from somewhere in Asia.
  He then gave me the answer, which made me very surprised and excited. He said: ‘I come from Taiwan.’
  ‘What! You come from Taiwan?’ I asked in Chinese, trying to test him.
  He seemed more surprised then me. ‘What? You are…’
  He said in Chinese too! With a great excitement, I said: ‘Chinese!’
A friend I made truly from this period.
This morning, I took 30 minuets to get a bus. I took a wrong way. It wasted some time. I had no choice but to turn back to home asking the way again. Finally I managed to get on the right bus.
  I could never know; a funny but dangerous game began.
  I got off the bus at Catford Island as the host said. But after I getting off, I couldn’t find my way to the meeting point. That was to say, I was lost.
  How could you imagine a boy who was only 16, lost his way in one of the world’s biggest cities he had never visited before? I couldn’t remember what my first missing was. But this situation gave me a strong feeling that I was a little child. Even in Wuhan, when I got lost, what I felt was nothing but fear. But in this city, fear could do nothing for myself. I began to know that what’s going on depended on what I was doing.
  So, after a few minuets, I kept myself calm and began asking the way.
  ‘Excuse me’ I said to an old lady, ‘could you tell me the way to Catford center?’
  ‘I’m sorry, I don’t know the way, maybe that way.’ She answered politely.
  This was my first talk to English people. Although I still didn’t know the way, but I felt warm and hope.
  I kept asking questions, and looked for the meeting point. But after 20 minuets, I still couldn’t find it. Yesterday I was told to come by 8.30. And now it was already 8.40, perhaps they had gone to school. What if it happened? Though now I had no fear talking to the local people, I was still lost. And dangerous can happened at anytime. I could not imagine what would happen next. And I felt fear and hopeless again.
  I tried to think about another way. I began to think about connecting, I didn’t know our group leader’s mobile phone number, but I knew mother’s number. The only thing I could do now was buying a telephone card.
  It was easy, because every shop sold telephone cards. I went into a shop and said to the assistant: ‘Could you give me a telephone card please.’
  ‘Sure, that is three fifty please.’
  ‘Could you show me how to use this?’
  ‘It’s very easy. Look at these numbers. It’s 0800 032 5651. So you dial the number, and you can hear the voice saying: “please enter your pin code.” Then you enter the pin number, which is on your card. Then you will hear the voice: “your credit is five pound, please enter your destination number.” Where are you from?’
  ‘Then you dial 00 and your country code, then city code, and at last, the telephone number.’
  ‘I’ve got it! Thank you very much!’
  I rushed out of the shop, ran to the nearest telephone. I dialed the number as he said. First I dialed the office number. But failed. ‘There must be some mistake.’ I said to myself. But I could not give up. I tried again. This time, I dialed the mobile phone number. After a few seconds, a familiar voice came to my ears.
  ‘Hello.’(In Chinese of course)
  ‘Mom’ I cried, ‘I’m getting lost!’
  I then told her the whole thing I had experienced this morning, including how I got on the bus, how I got lost, ho
w I tried to find the way and failed, and how I managed to get on touch with her. She must be very worried about me, but she advised me in a very calm way. She said: ‘Get the same bus to your home, ask the family if possible and necessary.’
  So, after telephoned mom, I began to return home immediately.
  But on my way to the bus stop, a terrible thought came to me. ‘Oh no! Name! What’s the bus stop name? I haven’t got one! How could I go home if I didn’t know the bus stop name? How where should I get off?’ There was only one thing I could rely on, the telephone number. So I picked up the phone and dial the number immediately. But I heard nothing in the phone. I knew that I was facing a very serious situation. It was not a joke at all. If I failed in this game, I could never return home.
  Now I had only one choice. I returned to where I got off the bus, tried to find the way back. I really didn’t know what would happen next.
  But like a dream, the situation was broken by a group of students. I couldn’t believe my eyes! It was nothing else but my group mates. They were walking along the street opposite me. I used all my strength catching on the group. The leader was very surprised and delighted to see me. She asked me and I told her the whole story I had experienced. I finally succeeded.
  That morning we went to visit the maritime museum and Queen’s house. I was very happy. Not only because the noble view we had seen, but the successful survival experience in London.
  We took a small exam in the afternoon, which would decide what class we should attend. The exam was quite easy that all of us finished it in 40 minuets. It was much easier than any of our exam in china.
  After the exam, I met my group leader and told my difficulties in my new family. She promised to help me. But she told me that it was too late to have the change today. I must go home myself today and tell nothing about the change.
  I agreed. The leader then gave me a travel card and said: ‘You can travel in London by any way with this card freely.’ I accepted the card and thanked. But I was confused and asked: ‘Then how can I use it?’ ‘You just show it to the driver.’ She said.
  So, with the travel card, I started my trip to home.
  I followed some of my mates to Catford where the bus stop was. After said goodbye to them, I again lost in thought. The same problem: How would I go home?
  I decided that I should have a try. I got on the 208-bus and asked the driver, showing the address that the host gave me. But the driver looked at the address carefully and threw some words that almost hit me down. He said: ‘I don’t know this place. I have driven here for 13 years, and this is the first time I see this road.’
  Oh my goddess! Where do I live?! I took my seat and thought. I had no idea now. I felt powerless.
  ‘Hey guy!’ a voice came to my ears, ‘Do you lose your way?’
  I looked around and saw an old man watch me, smiling. I replied: ‘Yes, I don’t know how to reach my home and the driver don’t know either.’
  ‘Could I see your address?’
  Though mom told me that I should not talk to the person I never met before, I still showed the address to him. Perhaps this was my last chance.
  ‘Oh my boy,’ he said, ‘I’m sorry that I don’t know the way. But come on! Get off the bus and I will help you.’
  He pulled me off the bus. And with no hesitate I followed him. After getting off he said: ‘I cannot tell you the way but somebody maybe can.’ He pointed to another bus driver who was in an empty bus. I got on the bus and asked the way again.
  The bus driver took out a book. It was a map named which I already knew by my textbook. She looked up it very carefully for about 5 minuets and smiled. She said to me happily: ‘Look! It’s here.’ You’ve got off at a wrong stop. So you have to walk across four streets, then turn right and go straight, turn right at the second corner, turn left at the second corner, and maybe it is your home.’
  So I began my long walk. On the way I missed tow times, but fortunately I managed to find the house. It was 19.30 and the host was not very happy with me. She said: ‘You must come back before 19.00. If you come back after it, you will miss your dinner.’
  ‘But I was missing!’ I moaned.
  ‘So today you can have your dinner. But tomorrow if I saw you come back after 19.00, you will certainly miss the lunch.’
  I was very frightened by this strange role. I couldn’t promise that I would not miss again. Nobody liked missing and anything could happen during the missing in such a big city.
  That night I still didn’t have the bath.
  The guy who slept next to me talk to me. It was then he gave me some paper that shocked me a lot.
  It was a thin book that said something really bad to our Party. It was depended on some mistakes made by our formal leaders, such as Culture Revolution and Tiananmen stories. It then looked our party as a ghost, a phantom and a monster. I couldn’t imagine how this book appeared in this guy’s hands. And I thought if it continued being printed and being sent, more and more people would get this book, and it was really bad for our party and our country. I was a wide-hearted person, but I nearly got crazy when I read this book. I agreed to make friend with him, but I didn’t accept the paper.
  That was my second day in London. God seemed to laugh at me, and played trick after trick with me. What should I do was to try my best to win the game before he won me.