Thursday, May 3, 2007

Travel Day 1

What an eventful day! First of all - thank you Joyce & Luther for moving in......(practically) to take care of our puppies, cats, & kittens while we are gone! We were going to have to take out a second mortgage if we had to kennel Max and Maggie while we were gone! ;) Thank you for ALL of your help this last week....couldn't have survived without you! We love you SOOOO much!

Okay....we got up at 4 AM yesterday, left the house by 5 AM to arrive at NWA Airport by 6 AM. We got there at 6:10...not bad. I had a feeling that our bags were a bit heavy and I was right. One was over by 7 lbs. and the other by 2. So we just moved more granola bars, peanuts, and other stuff to our carry ons....since they don't weigh those! Ours were therefore heavy!! Mamaw & Pa walked with us as far as they could....which was just to the top of the escalator!

Our flight left at 7:30 and when we landed in Chicago we had to take a shuttle to the other side of the airport to find our international departure gate. The short walk we had outside was chilly in Chicago. We were looking for my mom - and saw her in the corner messing with her laptop. She flew from Memphis to meet up with us in Chicago before heading to Beijing. We had to wait for about an hour and 30 minutes before our flight departed for Beijing. A Chinese lady called our name over the intercom two different times b/c there was a problem with Macy's passport. It hadn't been translated correctly or something. Thankfully it was fixed quickly.

Guess where our seats were??? :) At the back of the plane of course! And dad had been worried b/c mom's assigned seat was in front of ours....and didn't want her having to sit with strangers. Ironically the two people sitting in those two seats ended up being a couple I had met earlier waiting in line at the ticket counter! Herb & Monica are from Cincinnati and they are adopting a little girl from China also. So I took mom's seat so I could talk adoption stuff with them and Macy got to sit between Daddy and Noni. All we talked about all morning was seeing Noni - so she was wanting her Noni time! I enjoyed getting to know Herb & Monica - they are a wonderful Christian couple and we hit it off. The 14 hour flight really went by quicker than expected. I was yapping and Macy was entertained by Noni's special bag of kid activities. MACY did GREAT on the flight!!! :) Whooooo hoo! Brad mostly played his PSP for the flight. Macy slept for the last 2 hours of the flight and the rest of us maybe slept 30 minutes? We actually flew NORTH over Canada and then east over Alaska and down south over Siberia into Beijing. I thought we were going to take a straight shot east from Chicago to Beijing over the ocean...but we kinda went over the north pole! I think I saw Santa! Flying over the Elizabethan Islands in Canada and Alaska the ocean and ground below looked like a combination of glaciers, rivers, cracked ice, .... you get the picture. Very unique.

One odd thing is they did not offer us anything to drink for at least what seemed like an hour and every time they served us food they did not serve beverages for at least 15 minutes - we were all VERY thirsty. We did get to see part of the Great Wall of China as we were descending into Beijing. We will actually go tour it on Monday I think. My ear pain was excruciating upon descending but finally popped. No one else had trouble with this. BUT the descent into Beijing was BY FAR the most horrible any of us have ever experienced. The turbulence was awful. We kept rocking and dropping and I'm getting dizzy just thinking about it again. Really. The room is spinning..... OK. I'm going to be OK. :) Anyway - I was fixing my gaze on the seat belt light focusing on breathing and NOT being sick. I was like the little engine who could. I think I can, I think I can... except I was saying I think I won't, I think I won't.... BUT I did. We made another sudden drop and I grabbed my little grab bag and as graciously as you can throw up sitting next to new acquaintances....I lost my lunch. Literally. They had given us ham sandwiches about 30 minutes earlier. I don't want to have ham any time soon. Then Monica, my new friend said Ok - I'm going to too- except she really hurled. ;) I don't remember anything b/c I was just focusing on not totally losing it - but Brad said people were throwing up all around us. Guess United airlines will be restocking those little paper bags in the seat back cover this time around!!! I told Monica we would have to be friends forever b/c you can't puke in little bags together and not BOND!!

Because I was SOOO sick... and we were at the back of the plane...I just sat while the other 500 passengers exited the plane. Slowly - I finally started gathering up my things and we started exiting the plane and a steward asked me "You OK?", and I answered - "I'm just sick". And he asked, "I get Doctor?", to which I replied "No, just motion sick", while thinking " YOU IDIOT - CAN'T YOU SEE I'M WHITE AS A SHEET AND JUST LOST MY HAM SANDWICH FROM THIS LANDING??? :)

Anyway, after landing we had to go through 3 desks: 1) Turn in health questionnaire stating that we had not come into contact with any birds in the last week (comical since we are from Madison County and poultry farm land), (2) Foreigners entry desk, and (3) baggage claim and customs.

A BIG MIRACLE..... since we were the LAST people to get off the plane and were so slow making it to baggage claim - almost all luggage from our flight was gone. Brad got our bags and I looked at him and said - that is not our bag. And He pointed out that it had the special NEON yellow tag that I had bought the day before. It was the exact same kind of tag - but not our bag! I told him - I bet someone else has our bag. Silence. He just began walking...and stopped a guy wheeling off with a bunch of bags and told him that he might have our bag. Sure enough - HE DID! WE ARE SO THANKFUL TO GOD FOR HELPING OUR LUGGAGE TO NOT BE TAKEN. WHAT A BLESSING! Turned out that the guy was from Nebraska but has a brother that lives in Springdale, Arkansas! SMALL WORLD. Fly to Beijing, China and meet someone linked to Springdale! :)

One last thing and I'll have to finish this later b/c it is time to skype dad - They do not yield to pedestrians in China! Me and mom almost became roadkill trying to pull luggage and push stroller across the street to parking lot! We just died laughing. What else can you do? :)

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