Monday, July 28, 2008

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jet Lag

Our flight from Guangzhou to Hong Kong departed at 9:30 on Saturday morning. There were several families leaving on flights around that time so our luggage had to be in the hall of our hotel at 6:00 am and we had to be in the lobbby by 6:30.

I got up at 5:15. We were all packed other than our pajamas and my cosmetics that I used that morning. But at 5:30 my door bell to the room rang and there was a bellman asking for my luggage. Not good. I assured him that I was not supposed to have my luggage out until 6:00. (There was another group leaving earlier that had to have their luggage out by 5:30) But then I was feeling a bit unnerved. I did have the right time, right? I double checked the paper with the time listed and the clock to make sure I wasn't screwing up. But it was just a omen of what was to come.

I woke the kids up at 5:45. I already knew that Ryan isn't a morning guy. He doesn't like to be woken up and this morning was no exception. He fussed and cried and wanted to be held.

Luggage was out by 6:00 and there was really nothing left to do in our room so we headed to the lobby to wait. Ryan was still fussy and crying and had a little bit of a cough and he felt a little warm. Grace and the bus showed up at 6:30 and Penny, Shannon and Norah and our family were ready to go. We then headed over to the White Swan to get the other families.

The other families were supposed to be ready to go at 6:30 also but one one family came out when we got there. The other families came out one at a time and it was finally around 7:15 before we left. In the meantime, Ryan had a coughing episode that caused him to gag. His shirt was soon decorated with the contents of his throat that was tinted a lovely shade of orange-- the color of the Motrin tablet I had given him 10 minutes earlier. This was getting even better. ;>)

We got to the airport and the computer scanner was down and I was checking in 6 people so it seemed to take forever when we finally reached the counter. Jenna had to go to the bathroom but there was just no time because then it was a mad dash through customs and immigration and to the gate. We arrived at 9:15 for a flight that was supposed to leave at 9:30. And of course we had no seats together. But the flight attendants fixed the seat issue and we waited in the plane for about 20 minutes until the plane finally left. This meant that we arrived in Hong Kong later than planned.

We arrived in Hong Kong and found a Starbucks before we made our way to the Cathay counter to check in. This is where we said goodbye to our new friends Penny, Shannon and Norah. They were spending the night in Hong Kong and leaving the next day.

After we finally got checked in we made our way to our terminal which took a while. When we go there they were beginning to board! This was a continual theme in all our flights. It was slight unnerving.

This was our long 13 and 1/2 hour flight. Thankfully, we got 4 seats in the center aisle for Julia, Ryan, Jenna and Emma and I. My mom was in the row in front of us. I have to say the kids all did extremely well. But at this point Ryan was running a full fledged fever of 101 and doses of Tylenol and Motrin didn't seem to be doing to bring it down. He basically just wanted to be held so I tried my best to accomodate him most of the flight. Part of the time I had him on one leg and Emma on the other leg and both were sleeping. Finallyhe was asleep enough that I could lay him in his seat to sleep and Emma slept across my lap. The kids all slept on this flight. I slept none. At the end of the flight Emma was getting pretty restless having to sit so long and not being able to crawl around. About an hour before we landed she grabbed a cup of juice I had gotten for Ryan and spilled it all over the sleeping Ryan. My poor baby boy was jarred awake and wasn't very happy about it, not that I could blame him

When we arrived 13 hours later in Los Angelos, we had to go through immigration with Ryan's paperwork. This was a terrible hassle. We ended up having to wait in a waiting area for someone to process the paperwork. We had to have waited AT LEAST a half an hour. Finally it was processed and they gave Ryan a green card and said we could work on his citizenship when we got home. I am almost positive this was all wrong. I am PRAYING that his Certificate of Citizenship comes to me in a few weeks. I sure don't want to pay $500+ to fix some Immigration Official's screw up.

We collected our luggage, went through a check point where we told them where we had been and for how long and then we dropped off our luggage again. Then it was off to the United domestic terminal. Which was a mile away. Of course, I can't be totally sure about that but I have to say it was a VERY long way. When we got there it wasn't very obvious where to go because the ticketed check in was in an attached building. So I wasted about 15 minutes calling United's help line at the self check in kiosk only to be told he couldn't help me. In the meantime, Ryan threw up all over the floor. Fun times. I really tried to get someones attention to clean up the mess but I couldn't and I really didn't want to miss our flight for it so I left it. I felt like a lowlife, but trust me, I could live with the feeling if it meant I made it home on time.

The ticket counter check in had a terribly long line that just wasn't moving at all. We waited there for about 10 minutes and I could see we only had about an hour and 10minutes until our plane left. We were never going to make it. So I went to a woman at the beginning of the line and asked what could I do? Apparently there was another line for international transfers. UGH!!! What a waste of time!!! But we still waited at least another 20 minutes before we could make our way to security. At that point we had about 30 minutes before our flight left. I had hungry kids who hadn't eaten in a few hours and I knew that the flight wouldn't have food and we had a very short connection in Denver. It was now or never.

We made it through security, although it wasn't pretty, and I had mom get Happy Meals at McDonald's by our gate while I tried to get seat assignments at the counter. They had already started boarding. We got food, we got appropriate seat assignments and we made it on the plane. But Ryan had had enough. We got on and he cried and cried. I know he felt terrible and I'm so sure he was tired of flying. We did get window seats and I finally distracted him with the planes and cars outside. On this flight the 3 little ones fell asleep and so did I. I got about an hour of sleep. Then we landed in Denver and it was a mad dash to the gate to get seat assignments there.

What a nightmare. I almost lost it there. There was only one guy and he was boarding people. We had no seat assignments. I went up to him and nicely asked him what were we supposed to do-- was he going to come give us seat assignments because we really had to make that flight. His answer "I hope you make it because I'm the only one here."

Are you kidding me??? Its a really, really good thing that another guy showed up to give us our seat assignments or you might have seen me on the news:

Crazy woman goes berserk at United Airlines counter in Denver-- tries to force herself on plane.

I thanked the second gentleman profusely. This was our last flight and I wanted to be HOME!

By this flight Ryan had really had enough. He had a window seat again but no planes outside could distract him this time. He wasn't throwing a fit but he was crying loudly. I can't say I could really blame him. He had no idea what was going on. He was sick, he was scared and he couldn't understand what I was telling him. Considering all these factors I'm amazed he did this well for so long into the trip. I admit that I was worried about what other passengers were thinking but I was more concerned about what the flight attendants were thinking. Headlines of toddlers thrown off planes for crying and temper tantrums went through my head. But thankfully the flight attendants were more concerned about what they could do to help us. They brought him some apple juice but he wanted none of that. Only my lap would do so soon after take off I unbuckled him and had both him and Emma straddling my lap and he quit crying. Only one hour to go.

At Saturday 9:10 p.m. our plane landed at MCI and soon we were off our plane and saw my two older boys, Trace and Ross, waiting outside the short walk out of security. I was so glad to be home!!! I missed my boys and I was ready for live to be normal.

{Anyone who knows me is laughing at this point. There really is no normal for me.}

Ryan and I were in bed around midnight but Emma was waking up and ready to go and so were Julia and Jenna. Thankfully, Ross and the girls took care of Emma so I could sleep. I was literally dozing off while trying to take care of her. Ryan and I slept until close to 8:00 and that was the most sleep and best sleep I had had in weeks, months actually. And Ryan felt better too; his fever was gone.

Now its early Tuesday morning and we are just now starting to get into a normal sleep schedule. Everyone is asleep with the exception of Emma who woke up around 4:00. But I figure we can work that out.

I want to thank everyone who has followed our journey. I have loved sharing it with you and want to thank you for your comments, support and encouragement. I invite you to continue following us if you like. While our adoption trip is now completed our life is far from boring!

In fact, yesterday I got news that I am invited to take part of new TV show that will film in August-- now you'll just have to stick around to find out what it is!!!

How's that for a teaser???


wingepr said...

I'm so glad you guys made it home safely. It made me tired just reading it.

Cant wait to hear more about the tv show!

Well as they say, "let the fun begin".


Donna said...

Denise, I'm sure you are SO RELIEVED to be home. I have loved following, and I plan to continue following. You are a hoot and have such a wonderful family! Congrats again!

mom to Lena & Macey

Kristin said...

So glad you are home. What a mess. I know just being home in your own bed makes a huge difference!

Can't wait for updates on Ryan and the tv show!!

Anonymous said...

OMG I am tired just reading all that drama!! Whew glad you are home and poor little on is feeling well and better :)

Can't wait to hear more and how much does Jenna weigh now?
The girls are 19 #1oz and 22# year ago we were flying to Hanoi :)

G&R July 31,2007

Anonymous said...

Emma not Jenna it is 1 am here almost!!!!


Margaret Miracle said...

I am so glad that you are home. Your travel home made me flash back to our trip home. I have read your whole journey today and have so loved watching Ryan evolve. What a beautiful family you have!

Sherri said...

So glad you guys made it home! I was on vacation for the last of your trip (without internet), but have enjoyed catching up with you this week! Ryan sounds like a trouper on the trip home. Bless his heart being sick and traveling so far from all he knew! My best wishes to you all for happy times ahead! Oh, and yea, can't wait for the TV show update!