Greetings from Beijing, China! We arrived to our hotel room after midnight, local time, about 27 hours after we left Lebanon. As far as international travel goes, our trip went well. I was still rushing around before we left trying to get my house in perfect order for my mom, so Tim took the girls to school. I think it was easier to say bye at home. When Tim got back we loaded up. Yes, once again, I do believe I overpacked (see more on that topic later). After we went to the bank, we headed to Springfield. We had plenty of time and the plan was for my parents to meet us there so they can keep our vehicle at their house. We also needed to get some bracelets that my sister made for us to give as gifts. And I had our garage door opener, house key, and the “instructions” for Isabella and Becca. So, we walked in to the airport and the lady from American Airlines yells over to us “Chicago or Dallas?” We say Chicago and she tells us to hurry up. Tim told her we are on the 11:45 flight and she says “Oh, no, that has been changed, you’re needing to board right now” WHAT????? So without arguing (hindsight… we should have!) we go into panic mode and start rushing grabbing our passports, etc. and I called my mom and told them to hurry, but knew there wouldn’t be enough time. Long story short, we left without seeing them and had to leave a bag of stuff for them at the gate with our not so friendly American Airlines woman (who got an earful from my dad, apparently… go dad!) We made it through the security and boarded the plane at 10:00, along with 5 other people. So the first leg of the trip was very laid back and Reagan was absolutely adorable and so excited. She and Ryleigh talked non-stop about every little thing on the plane and outside. The trip was so short to Chicago, it was the perfect little start for the girls. So, getting the O”Hare early, meant that much longer to our already looooooong layover. But, we made the most of it. It worked our pretty awesome because we got to see our friend Marla, who was coming home from India. The timing was impeccable, as we had just found her gate and saw her flight had arrived. Literally 30 seconds after we sat down to wait and watch the people coming of the plane, we spotted her! She looked so beautiful and it was so good to see her! She used to babysit Ryleigh and Reagan and her parents are good friends of ours. Anyway, we got to chat for a few minutes. She was one of the first people we saw at the airport when we got home from China with Reagan! She had to go try to find her sister, who was waiting in the non-secure area, so we didn’t get to see her.
We had a very delicious lunch at Chili’s and then found a place to park ourselves at the gate we would eventually leave from, K19. The girls were extremely well-behaved and entertained themselves for many hours. We took turns walking around with the girls and saw lots of interesting people! We got to talk to Isabella and Becca when they got home from school. Our flight ended up being delayed for 30 minutes and then we also had to sit and wait on about 60 people once we boarded who were on a connecting flight that was late. It was the first part of that flight pretty miserable. Every seat had been sold, so it took a long time for the attendants to figure out why there were two empty seats. They finally gave up and we took off after 9:00 pm. Reagan and Ryleigh were very impressed with their personal tv and game system at their seats and we got settled in for the 13 hours trip! It ended up going relatively quickly, as we all got to sleep for several hours. They fed us lots of good food (the flight attendants spoke English and Chinese as they needed and even asked Reagan in Chinese if she wanted chicken or beef dinner, the look on Reagan’s face was priceless and then when she realized she was an American kid, she asked her again in English) and it was a pretty non-eventful flight. PTL!
When we arrived, it was 10:25 pm local time. It took us over an hour to get through everything and find our ride to the hotel. We got in line to go through customs, which was kind of long and all of a sudden this guy tells us to go to the “Special Line”. Really, it was marked with a neon sign that said that! We didn’t argue because there was nobody in that line, so we breezed right through, never knowing what made us special! But considering it was about 90 degrees with 100 percent humidity inside the airport, we gladly took the break! We waited at baggage claim waiting for our 3 checked bags for what seemed like and eternity, possibly because I was so worried Ms. Grouchy pants from American Airlines Springfield wouldn’t have gotten them in the right spot to get all the way to China! But eventually, they came down the chute and we headed to the outside world. We were all sweating and stinking so bad at this point and it was so hot I thought we might pass out (not really, but it was super hot!). Our friendly driver was standing there with a sign that said “Great Wall China Adoption” and he immediately grabbed our cart of bags (after gasping at how much stuff we brought!) and we headed to his van. The memories I have of our first trip to China with the scary driving all came flooding back as we weaved in and out of traffic and he drove so crazy, but pretty safely at the same time. Horns are used A LOT around here. Our hotel was about 30 minutes from the airport, which seems stupid, so hopefully GWCA books us here because it is closer to the tourist stuff we are doing today. It’s a nice hotel, but the air doesn’t seem to be working… UGH. We were all wide awake and got settled into our room with all of our stuff (too much stuff, did I mention that?). We all had showers without getting the water in our mouths and brushed our teeth with bottled water. I had forgotten to warn the girls about that, but they did well! The beds are like concrete, only harder, and so tiny, but we did manage to sleep for a few hours. We have to go to breakfast at 7:00 and we are meeting to leave with 2 other families to go on our sight seeing adventure at 8:00.
I am excited to be here, but I feel like the time in Beijing is still just one more hoop to jump through before I meet my son! One more thing to check off the list to do and then hold my little guy for the first time! Reagan seems a little annoyed so far with China. She said too many people speak Chinese and too many Chinese people are here. Even though she is Chinese, she is obviously Americanized and so much more beautiful than any other girls we have seen! She said again how funny their eyes look! She is such a hilarious little girl! I hope that she will make good memories here the next few weeks, not just meeting her brother, but meeting her homeland, too. But she definitely is an American girl with a sassy attitude!
We are all up now, it’s almost 5:00 am here. Hopefully we will be able to stay awake all day and go to bed at a normal time tonight. Our flight leaves early in the morning for Nanjing. Finally we will be in the same city as Ethan! Then Monday is the big day! Stay tuned for that!