Sunday, February 5, 2017

Travel Diary: Travel Day!

Travel Day started out super early in the morning!  We planned for a 4:15 a.m. departure from our house, on the Papa Bus, to Huntsville International Airport.  If you know us well, you know that means we left at about 4:30.  We had three big suitcases and each had our backpacks as carryons.  Somehow, we (think that we) fit everything we need for four people and two weeks in China in those!    Sweet Papa dropped us off, then parked while we got our boarding passes and checked our luggage.  The sweet Delta lady had trouble printing our boarding passes because of the infant notes for our return trip, and when we explained why we didn't have the infant with us yet, she said, "My pastor is adopting from China!"  When we asked her where she went to church and she replied that she went to Lifepoint, we told her that that was where we had heard about our little girl for the first time.  She said, "Oh, y'all are them!"  It made me smile--God has definitely worked in this story! Papa walked us upstairs and prayed with us before we went through security.  We had just enough time to grab some breakfast and get on the plane.

The trip to Detroit was easy--except that was when Kinley started getting nervous.  She did great though, and we arrived in snowy Detroit right on schedule and with plenty of time to walk around and grab one final meal at our favorite stand-by Chick-fil-a before boarding the plane.

Kinley had worked out her nerves and was excited on the plane to Beijing.  We had a small delay because when they counted the luggage before takeoff the count was off.  We finally got to take off!  We realized that 14+ hours on a plane is a LONG time!  We watched some movies, Zeke and I caught up on The Big Bang Theory and Fixer Upper, we ate some mediocre airplane food, and took a few really short naps which really didn't amount to much sleep.  When we finally touched down in Beijing, we were more than ready to stretch our legs and walk around.  We made it through immigration and were approved to enter the country (thank goodness!).  However, that was about the time I turned airplane mode off on my phone, and we had a text from Lifeline that said it looked like our third flight, from Beijing to Guangzhou, had been cancelled.  We kept following signs to go through security, hoping that we could get something worked out.  We didn't tell Kinley, who wasn't feeling well from exhaustion and not really eating, and was getting nervous again at all of the signs she couldn't read and people she couldn't understand.  When we got to the security checkpoint to be able to transfer to another flight, we got stuck.  We had a camera and a battery pack in our backpacks.  For some reason, they had to be taken out, walked across a huge carpet, and handed back to us.  I still don't really understand what happened, but they let us keep them and keep going, so we just shrugged and kept walking!

We followed the herd and found the ticket gate for China Southern.  I walked up and asked them about our cancelled flight and they told me there was another flight at 7:30, and to walk around the corner and turn right and they would change it.  We walked around the corner and to the right, waited in a long line of people checking bags, and finally were told we had to go to the ticket counter to change our ticket.  I told her that we had just done that, but she told me to go back.  So...back we went.  Thankfully, the guy who told us to go there in the first place took our boarding passes and walked us back over and went behind the counter (no waiting in line again!) and had them fix it and check our luggage.  Whew.  One more time through security, and we were on our way to our gate.

We got to our gate around 5:30 and knew we would board at 6:45.  We were all a little bit hungry and Kinley and I kept seeing McDonald's bags, so we walked around until we found it and grabbed a snack for all of us.  We spent the rest of our wait trying not to go to sleep.

The final plane was very nice--probably the newest plane we were on.  We were in the middle row, so we all got to sit together.  Kinley was nervous again and this time we were the only Americans on the flight--pilots and crew included--but thankfully, the exhaustion took over and she slept most of the flight.  She woke up for essential oils and crashed again.  This flight had the most turbulence of the three, and there were several people using the little bags by the time the flight ended.  If you know me, you know Kinley and I had our fingers in our ears so we wouldn't join them!

After we picked up our checked baggage (THANK YOU GOD that it all made it with us!), we met our guide, Aron.  That little green sign that said "Lifeline Children's Services" really let me take a deep breath!  It was nice to have someone direct us the rest of the way.  When she saw our luggage she asked us, "Is this all you have?  You packed light!"  I couldn't decide whether to laugh (because I wasn't sure I could fit everything we had into our suitcases before we left) or worry (that I didn't bring enough!).  We headed up to the car that was waiting for us and began the 30 minute drive to our hotel.

We had heard so much about The Garden Hotel, and it did not disappoint!  This hotel is AMAZING.  We are so happy to be here for two weeks!  Aron checked us in and came to our room with us to make sure we had everything we needed.  The crib sitting in our room made my heart skip a beat! It really started to seem real that we are here and will soon have a sweet baby girl in this room with us.  We can't wait!  After she left we decided to hold off on anything other than sleep until tomorrow.  We changed clothes, washed our faces and brushed our teeth, and crashed.  It was almost 1 a.m. in Guangzhou, or 11 a.m. at home.  30 hours of travel with very little sleep caught up with us quickly!

1 comment:

  1. The first paragraph had me crying!! God is good and faithful!