Saturday, March 18th - a travel test

by Kristi Van Dyk

We were a little bit excited about our mid-trip travel test yesterday. A short flight (3.5 hours or so) seemed like a great way to see how our newest traveler fared on an airplane before we embark on the big long haul back home. So, aside from some stressful packing (getting us all repacked with two boys literally running around the room bopping balloons), we managed to get out on time. By the time we made it down to the lobby with our luggage, exchanged some more $$ for RNB, Maggie was waiting for us. She handed us Joshua's Chinese passport to look over. It's felt increasingly "real" each day, but something about moving forward, taking him out of province seemed like a huge step. 

It was a short drive to the airport and Maggie, our sweet guide for this very important phase of the adoption, walked us in to get us all settled. She helped us navigate through checking our luggage and getting our boarding passes. She walked us up to security and then said goodbye. 

It took Steve several passes through security (they told us to remove all electronics from our bags, but when you pack as many cords and plugs and adapters and power supplies as he does, it takes a few tries to get them all). BUT once we were through, we found the water bottle refill in the airport and sat down for a one hour wait to board. Joshua burned through most of the snacks our friends in Taiyuan gave us during our 1 hour wait. I started to panic because I knew I needed more food for the flight ... There wasn't a lot of food that looked airport friendly (at least for us as not proficient chopstick users), so we risked it and went aboard with just the few crackers and dried fruit and suckers we had left. 

Ben had spent some time telling Joshua that we were riding on an airplane. He has been toting around the Dusty Crophopper plane since we met him, and we watching Planes the last couple of nights. Not sure if all of that information helped or enhanced a misconception but that little boy RAN down the gate. I was doing my best to keep up. He had my hand in vice grip, but he was gleeful at the chance to board this plane. He didn't love the seatbelt but he obediently settled in next to brother. By the time we were airborne he would look at me and flash an ear to ear grin. Then he'd settle back in to his movie and then quick check again for the ear to ear smile ... and then settle back in. His smiles (and mine) grew wider when we realized that China Southern served full meals (even on 3.5 hour flights!!!). We had a beverage service pass through and then a full lunch (much to Josh's sheer delight, seriously people, we are talking cloud 9 status here), and then more beverages. 


By the time lunch was over, Joshua only had time to get to Princess Elsa's building of the ice castle in Frozen before we were told to store our iPads and get prepared for landing. I loaded the kids up with suckers and chewy dessert sticks, and water in the water bottles to help with the potential ear pressure ... BUT, nothing ... nothing but the cloud 9 smiles that is. We touched down (early!!!) and deplaned. We easily found our luggage and our guide. Joshua did have another nose bleed (he has them periodically and we don't quite know what causes them. He's not a big nose picker so perhaps its an allergy or something else). Our guide had to leave us immediately after our driver arrived to collect another group who was arriving. Apparently there were 3 additional families arriving today, some had already arrived and they anticipate about 8 families heading in to do their medical visits today. She anticipates that it will take quite a long time and be really long wait ... So, packing snacks and iPads we will do :) ... 

For dinner, it was our "western" rotation. Guangzhou is apparently the city to experience that of all the cities we visited :) Our hotel alone has enough restaurants to enjoy one per day and never repeat. BUT we ventured outside of the hotel so the boys could have McDonalds. Joshua managed 5 nuggets, half a large fry AND when the waitress came around with free samples of ice cream, he managed to stuff that down the hatch too :). By the time we hit the hay at night, he was beat. It took him a while longer to settle down (maybe due to a new bed and new room), BUT as it's 8:29 a.m. as I'm blogging this and he is STILL SLEEPING, I think he's adjusting pretty well. I hate to wake him up, but I know he'll love breakfast - and his medical appointment is in an hour and a half. So, we really do need to get to moving ... Prayers that we have no surprises today at the appointment and that he fares as well as he can in spite of the uncomfortable things that lie ahead.