In this blog entry, I just want to talk about returning. Maybe in the next entry, I will talk about our whirlwind vacation in the states.
We had to leave by five a.m. to get to the airport by six, which gave us about two and half hours to get checked in. I don’t know if I was surrounded by magic or what, but the whole day couldn’t have gone smoother. Before we arrived, everything was messed up. We would have had to stay in Chicago airport over night for 16 hours. My dad fixed that. Also, they didn’t record the seats they had saved for us, and we were in the very last row in the middle –no window. There were pluses to this, like no trolley or people could get in the way when you had to go to the bathroom.
Ok, so we are in TSA and an agent walks by as we are putting our things on the conveyer belt. “Those jackets,” He said, “Are too big and bulky. You’re going to have to put those through too.” Then, the agent working there said, “I got this.” I wasn’t sure what she meant. She said, don’t worry about it. And then opened another lane just for the three of us. And when we went through the detector, she told Raine to go get her bear that was waiting for her. It took less than 2 minutes altogether (even the line).
So we waited at Hopkins for two and half hours. Our plane was right there, so no worries. We had the funniest steward EVER! I don’t know if they have a contest for these things, and yeah, maybe he was bit corny, but very entertaining. He would say things like, “The captain made a bet with the navigator that he could land this thing blind-folded with one hand behind his back, so let’s make sure our seat-belts are on.” And he had this very southern accent. He really made the hour very enjoyable.
Then we got to Chicago. We had a little trouble finding the next gate, but it didn’t take that long. I had to check in with my paperwork. I had the pages open to the visas, and that wasvery quick. And in no time we were boarding. It was full.
This time we actually slept on the plane. When we got on they fed us, then I promptly fell asleep. I didn’t sleep the whole night before because I was afraid I would miss my 4:30 alarm. When I woke up, I was so hungry. So were the girls. There was no indication that we were getting another meal, so I thought I might break down and buy one of those snack boxes or something. I wasn’t sure how you do it, and I went to the galley to ask, and they had some chips and cookies out for snacks, so we took those for the moment. About five minutes later, one of the stewards came to us with a snack box, a bag of popcorn, a bag of gummy bears, and few other things. I said thank you a bit too loudly, but cause he told me to shush. He gave us about $20 worth of the snack available. Then just before we landed they gave us breakfast. That was horrible too.
We got in early, which never happens in China. And we had to go through immigration first. Every time we do that, the officers are so impressed by how cute the girls’ passport pictures are, they just smile, give us stamps and wave us through, no questions.
We got to the luggage and it was all there, had that ready in less than 10 minutes, and then we had to go through customs. There were several lines, and an agent directed me through a door, not to one of the agents, and when we went through it, we realized that we were out. No customs.
I stopped a guy who had a taxi sign, and when I told him where we lived he said, “650.” I was pretty sure it would cost about 250 by metered taxi. The next taxi person said, 500, and one at the taxis said she could go to 450. We got a taxi van and when we arrived at our door, it was 238 plus 10 for the toll road. Yeah. I got this.
We haven’t left the house except to get milk. It was clean, smelled good, and was waiting for us. I missed it. It’s a strange thing. I think I love it here as much as I love it in the states, but my life is better here, but the love is stronger there. It’s a weird thing. My home here is better than any I have ever had, and I’m so comfortable. But vacation was so much better than I expected. It’s surreal to be here, it’s surreal to be there. I don’t feel like I don’t belong, I feel like I belong equally.