We made it. If only by the skin of our teeth.
The day started bright and early, at 3:30 AM to be exact. I got up, showered and gathered the 2,367 last minute things I needed to cram into our already overstuffed luggage.
Asher, having never even been on an airplane before, could hardly wait for this day to arrive. He’s wanted to go to China since I can remember and now, he is finally getting his chance to be there on one of his siblings ‘gotcha’ day. And I could tell, by the fact that he jumped up when I went to wake him at 4:00 AM that he, indeed, was very much looking forward to being on his way to China.
The flight from Boston to Newark went off without a hitch. Asher watched while we took off, staring out the window exclaiming, “Awesome!!” For a little while there, I thought he might become a pilot like his daddy. It wasn’t too much later that I realized there is no chance of that. No way, no how.
We spent the layover on Newark stretching our legs for the upcoming flight to Beijing. I tried to prepare Asher beforehand the flights and travel day to China. Exhausting. Wonderful. Grueling. Exciting. Occasionally painful. I think it’s similar to marriage and childbirth, no one can really prepare you. You just have to experience it for yourself.
After stocking up on magazines and Soduku, we managed to find our way to McDonalds for our last meal on US soil for the next 2 weeks. Seemed fitting, if not a bit pathetic, that we chose Mickey D’s. And I’m not gonna lie. It was good.
We finally boarded the big 747. Asher’s eyes were as bit as saucers when he realized the size of the plane we’d be calling home for the next 14 hours. Then he noticed the personal video players on the back of each seat. Score! These ended up being a lifesaver for both of us as we weren’t able to sleep at all until the very end of the flight.
Largely sleepless yes, but for the most part, the flight went incredibly well. We played games, watched movies, ate some yummy food (seriously. Continental food was either really good or I was really hungry) and generally enjoyed the fact that even though we were stuck on a plane for an insane amount of time, we were well provided for.
And then it came time to make our descent. I’m not sure what it was, possibly the turbulence. Or maybe the french toast and sausage. Could have been the fact that we’d been awake for over 22 hours and had slept less than 2. But Asher started turning green. And he started fidgeting in his seat.
Then I did something I’ve never had to do. The one ‘mommy badge’ I didn’t own until yesterday.
I pulled out the barf bag.
Asher proceeded to fill his bag. Then mine.
Thankfully I was able to grab the plastic sacks from the earphones and use those to hold all of Asher’s breakfast – lunch – dinner – breakfast until he stopped hurling. Ever been stuck in a plane stuffed with a gazillion curious onlookers while trying to comfort your son and conceal a plastic sack of barf? Yeah, me neither. Until yesterday.
After that, I assumed Asher would feel better. I mean, he’d emptied his stomach, and then some. But he just got worse. He could barely manage the walk from the plane to customs. And by the time we were waiting to have our passports stamped, I was worried they might not allow us entry. So we sat and waited. Then we got up and went as far as he could until he had to sit again. This pretty much went on for the rest of the day until we boarded our flight at 9:15 PM for Nanning.
The 6 hours we spent in the Beijing airport felt like 600.
After making our way to Terminal 2 (which, btw is about a 15 minute shuttle ride from Terminal 3, and the Terminal 1 buses are indistinguishable from the Terminal 2 buses, for anyone traveling here soon) with no more vomiting incidents, we stopped and started all the way to our gate. I swung between feeling incredibly sorry for Asher and feeling incredibly sorry for myself.
Asher finally fell asleep at the gate and managed a less fitful hour of sleep before we boarded. The 3 hour flight to Nanning was full of turbulence but we had prayed several times together that Asher would feel better, that God would protect us and that we’d arrive safely in Nanning. And we did. We had much to be thankful for, including not having to use the “clean bag” again.
In fact, Asher slept almost the entire flight, turbulence and all. I woke him after we’d landed and he had no idea we weren’t in the air any longer 😉 His stomach seemed much better and we were able to collect our bags and make it into the van headed to the hotel without incident. Isn’t it sad how frequently we miss the blessings in life ‘without incident’? Once again, He has managed to change my perspective. On the drive to the hotel, the guide told us that families just the week before us were snowed in at Beijing for 2 days.
Exhausted, stinky and wrung out, I suddenly realized we had MUCH to be thankful for.
So we’re here. In Nanning. Where it’s raining and we don’t have a thing to do. And we’re happy.
And ridiculously excited.
Vivi day is tomorrow!! We will meet tomorrow at 2:30 PM!!!