Hong Kong

We’ve made it safely to Hong Kong, but it certainly has not gone off without a hitch or two! We started out our journey when our sweet friends from church offered to pick us up and drive us to the airport at 6:30 AM. Here we are, full of hope and good cheer as we start off:

Airport going

 

The first leg of the trip, the short flight to Chicago, began with Griffin screaming as soon as we stepped onto the plane and got to our seats. Not a good foreboding of things to come! I think the experience just freaked him out a bit because it was all new.

3 on plane

He quickly calmed down (thank you for those prayers!) and everything went very smoothly until we boarded the plane to Hong Kong in Chicago. The boarding process began at 1:20 and we were the only family we could see traveling with a baby, so we were pretty much first on board. Gaige’s seat was located four rows back from ours, so Joey and I sat down in our three-seat row hoping that whoever sat down with us would see the baby and beg to move and then could switch with Gaige. Griffin was screaming, which was a good thing at this point to scare someone off from sitting with us- and had poop running down his leg- total blowout. A very obese man came and sat next to me, and let me just say that the sin nature in me very quickly surfaced and I was grumpy. He was a nice man, but didn’t seem interested in giving up his foot room, despite the screaming baby. We had the seats that included a seat back bassinet for the baby, which meant lots more foot room than the regular seats. Here’s where my bad attitude came in. The man was literally flopping over onto my seat (he really needed two seats but he seemed content to share mine), the arm rest was buried under him, and I could only nurse the baby on one side because there was no room for Griffin’s head on the other without sticking his head under the man’s armpit. I imagined the torture of having half of my seat taken during a 16 hour flight, and Griffin screaming the way he was, and well, you get the picture. Of course, who better to take this out on than your husband, right? So, starting out arguing, changing poo clothes and watching Gaige play air drums four rows back in his quiet comfort was a frustrating experience. However, I found that when I actually did go to nurse the baby and then continued to allow him to scream long enough without giving him paci, the gentleman came to his senses and switched with Gaige before we pulled back from the gate. The boarding process for a flight that long takes quite a while. When we finally pulled back from the gate, we sat in a heavy traffic pattern for a while waiting to get the all-clear for take-off. Then, the captain comes on and says: “ladies and gentlemen, I regret to inform you that due to operational procedures, we are heading back to the gate. We’ll explain more as soon as we can.” Oh. my. Gosh. By this point, it had been over an hour of sitting on the plane already. When we pulled back in and parked and were able to watch with the camera that is under the plane, we saw the crew cars come back and open up the cargo area, as well as re-fuel the plane for the wasted gas of just sitting there all that time. The captain then informed us that a woman very adamantly decided she did NOT want to go to Hong Kong and stay on the flight. So, they were bringing her back to get off the plane, and not just that, but they were also going to go FIND HER LUGGAGE amidst the hundreds of bags under the plane. So far, Cathay Pacific is a popular choice with only one crazy lady on the plane. By this point, I’m starting to think the idea isn’t half bad and considered getting off the plane myself!

 

So, after two hours of sitting and going nowhere, we finally took off. The first four hours of the flight were pleasant- Griffin was happy (not sleeping) and I thought how cute it would be to let him have the baguette that came with our meal to gnaw on (since at 7 months now, he is really anxious to begin solids and reaches for our food and whines for it). Seemed like a good idea at the time.

Baggette

Griffin finally went to sleep and about 30 minutes later woke up crying and very upset (pretty standard for him). When I picked him up, he started vomiting like he’s never done before. All over himself, Joey’s arm, my seat, my pants. Awful. I went to the bathroom to get some towels to clean up as best we could and changed him. When I went to throw out the soiled airplane blanket he also ruined, I came back and he had had another blow out. So, now Joey’s pants also have poo on them, in addition to the vomit. Nice. So, again, I go to change the baby. Then, vomit again!! Repeat process. Well, I only brought three outfits for him, so he’s now in a diaper for the remaining 14+ hours of travel! Did I mention how incredibly LONG 18 hours on a plane feels- especially with an infant?

Moving Map

Just when you think you have to be almost there by now, you realize there are still 4 hours left. I also realized that all the stuff I brought to do on the plane was pretty much a waste of packing because when Griffin is awake, I’m holding him, and when he’s sleeping, we have to keep the light off to not wake him. So, I watched about 4 movies- didn’t sleep a wink- and tried to remember why we are doing this in the first place. When I looked at that “moving map” and visually saw how far away we were going from home, it made me sick to my stomach missing my babies. I’m trying to keep first in my mind that the Lord called us to this and He is going to see it through to completion. It’s a good reminder that this adventure we are on is to give HIM the glory, and certainly not ourselves. There is NO glory in seeing us on that plane. By the end of the flight, I had also dumped an entire cup of ice water in Joey’s lap- so now it also looks like he’s wet his pants. He didn’t find the humor in it as I did, and I almost had a cup dumped over my head purposely because of it. Now I know why the adoption agency says to focus on your marriage and give it first priority before you come home with your child. I think we wanted to kill each other through most of the flight. I’ve never been so glad to get off a plane before!

Did I also mention that it was 4AM when I got up to type this? The time change is brutal. It’s 14 hours later here than CST time back home. When we got off the plane, thankfully customs was a breeze and we were greeted at the Marriott desk and all our bags were whisked away to the very nice Marriott bus to take us to our hotel. We are “gold elite members” due to Joey’s 3 month stay at the Marriott the summer he went to the Chaplain’s course (paid for by the Army), so we chose to stay at the Sky City Marriott for all the perks due to our points we’ve accumulated.

SkyCityRoom

We’ve been treated like royalty here, and we certainly looked like hell coming off that plane. We have gotten so much more than we deserve! We got a personal tour of the concierge room, escorted to our room, free breakfasts, shuttle from airport and to Hong Kong public transport, and to our plan for the day: Hong Kong Disney! Because you just can’t come all the way to Hong Kong and not see it. The bargain shopper in me is so thrilled- the US dollar is worth 6 of the HK dollar- so everything is super cheap. I’ve had very little sleep in the past 36 hours or so, so we’ll see how far we get today, but hopefully with three more nights of being able to adjust our body clocks to the time change, we will be ready for Charlotte!! Thank you all for your prayers and encouragement- I totally dread getting back on the plane again. I’m going to try to put that out of my mind and focus on the exciting time ahead while we’re here. Part of me, though, is scared to death! I am trusting in the Lord that He knows what He’s doing, because sometimes I wonder what in the world we are doing! To God be the glory!