Thursday, August 2, 2007

Our Trip Home

Thanks for the “welcome back,” friends! We are happy to be back, and jetlag hasn’t hit us too terribly. The girls woke up at 3 a.m. today, asked for a snack at 4 a.m., but went back to sleep (in my bed!) around 5, and slept until 7:30. They are spending the night at Mimi’s and Grandpa’s house tonight, and I’m hoping they’ll sleep through the night since they didn’t take a nap this afternoon.

I’m struggling to stay awake right now at 7:00 p.m. I’m afraid if I go to sleep now, I’ll be up before dawn. So I figured I’d fill y’all in on our trip. As I mentioned before, it went very smoothly.

After I posted last from Guangzhou, we checked out of our room at the White Swan, and then spent a couple of hours playing in the Swan Room. When we first got there it was empty, but soon two families came in with their new babies. One of the moms pulled out her camera and said to her baby, “Maya, look at me!” I told her my daughter was Maya too, and then the other mom said, “So’s mine!” So we actually had three Mayas in the same room! Then another family came in – no, they didn’t have a Maya with them. They left their 11-year-old named Maya at home in the States!

We took the White Swan’s shuttle bus to the airport; I had no idea they had such a thing since our adoption agency always arranged our trips to the airport in Guangzhou. It cost 30 yuan for me, and the girls rode free. I thought I’d mention it for future reference. We left the White Swan right on the dot of 6 p.m.

The girls actually slept on the way to the airport. I guess all that shopping and playing wore them out. They managed to get a 30-minute nap since the trip to the airport is about 40 minutes. I was worried about how long the trip would take since Guangzhou rush hour traffic is notorious, but we had no problems.

Once at the airport it took us almost 2 hours to make it from door to gate. We spent 35 minutes in line at the China Southern counter; one of the really good reasons to go business or premium economy (what they call Pearl Class) is that you get to go to a special short line. Not us this time, though. Oh, well. We didn’t have to pay overweight charges for our luggage, but that was only because the clerk took pity on us. She said we were 2 kilos overweight on one bag, and suggested we take some things out or shift them around from bag to bag, but I said I’d rather pay overweight charges than have to mess with all of that (I was afraid if I unzipped any of the bags all the stuff would explode out and I’d never get it back in!). She just shrugged, and let it go. She said that I might have to pay in Los Angeles, but no one asked for money there, either. Hey, maybe that’s why I haven’t gotten one of the bags – they’re holding it hostage for the overweight charges! (I don’t really think they are since it wasn’t the heavy bag that’s gone missing).

After we got rid of the big bags, it was much easier to maneuver in the airport. We had to go through the quarantine line (about 3 minutes, and no one checked our temps or anything); the emigration line (showing passports and Departure Card), which took 30 minutes; and then the security line (30 minutes). At security, they asked to look in Zoe’s rolling bag. The guy took everything out of it and retrieved her blunt-nosed scissors with 2-inch blades. I had asked Zoe to give me her scissors when we were in Xiamen, and she turned over 2 pairs. I didn’t know she had that third pair, and neither did she! Of course they confiscated the scissors, and Zoe had a complete melt-down. Everything seems overwhelming when you’re tired, and Zoe just couldn’t get over the trauma of losing her scissors; she cried for 30 minutes. During that time, we were walking to our gate and stopping at the restroom since Maya was doing the potty dance during most of the time we were in the security line. Maya managed to close the stall door on her finger, so she started to cry, too. We walked to our gate with both girls sobbing and everyone we passed staring and making little clucking sounds. Sigh. That walk of shame took about 15 minutes, and we arrived at the gate minutes before they started boarding the flight. Perfect timing!

We settled in for our long flight; within an hour we’d been served dinner and within 2 hours the girls were asleep. They slept for almost 8 hours, waking up shortly before breakfast was served (they understand the important thing – food!). Within two hours, we’d landed at LAX. So that flight turned out to be very easy, much easier than our flight to China where the girls slept for less than 4 of the 15 hours there (the flight to China is 3 hours longer than the flight from China because of tail winds or something).

At LAX we had more lines – immigration, waiting to pick up bags, customs, rechecking the bags. All in all, that was only a little over an hour. We then had to change terminals for our domestic flight, but we only had to walk to the one next door! Of course, that led to more lines. We had to get boarding passes and then go through security. Another hike – interrupted by a late dinner at Chili’s – took us to our first gate at LAX. Then we were changed to another gate. Then we were changed to another gate. Then we left late. Sheesh!

The girls slept for almost the entire flight to DFW. I conked out, too, even before the plane took off. The last I remembered was taxiing, but I have no recollection of take off. I woke up two hours later!

Mimi and cousin Aaron were waiting for us at DFW, and the girls were so excited to see them. We were delayed getting out of the airport since we had to fill out the lost baggage stuff, but we were in our own home by 8 a.m. We didn’t stay long, though, since the girls wanted to see Grandpa and we didn’t have much in the house for breakfast. The girls spent most of the day with Mimi & Grandpa while I came home to do some unpacking.

It’s really great to be back, but it feels a little strange, too. I registered Zoe for school today and as I was writing her tuition check I realized I hadn’t written a check in five months! It took me two tries to get it right. I spent $100 on groceries today, which was about half my monthly expenses in China, and I’ll have to go back to the grocery store within a week. Driving again feels very strange, and the frustrations of trying to find a parking place have replaced those of sweating and walking in the heat. Not that I’m complaining. But I think it’s not just jetlag I’ll have to contend with, it’s also culture shock!


Joanne said...

Welcome Home! Thanks for congrat's! It felt great to post Mia's referral pic's. I will be posting the pic's you gave me soon - we should be going in Sept (right when the boys start school...)
Hope you got a good nights rest :)

Sophie's Mom said...

Welcome home! I've enjoyed your blog so much, and would love to live in China for a spell, like you did.

Anonymous said...

With all that walking at the airports, I was thinking gosh, that must have been exhausting. But luckily, you were all in training while in Xiamen. Little did you know. :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing your adventure with us. You wil barely have time to catch your breath before the semester starts at TWU. Your girls are so lucky to have an adventurous mom like you.

Flower Mound

Wendy said...

Yet another adventure just to get home, but at least you made it safely and hopefully your bag will show. Upon our arrival at LAX they lost one bag and her carseat! We waited around and kept telling them to re-check and they did find them after two hours!
I can only imagine the culture shock all over again, I am sure you will get back in the grove in a couple of weeks.
Welcome home!