We made it! We are in Beijing, China! It has taken a few days to figure out how to blog from here, so we have a little catching up to do.
The flight actually went very well, far better than parents of two young children could possibly hope for. The short flight from Reno to San Francisco was actually more of a problem than the 13 hour flight from San Francisco to Beijing. Why? What was our secret for the 13 hour flight? No, we didn't dose them up with Benedryl. Shame on you for thinking that. Even though the international flight had free white wine (even from a bottle!), that was also not the reason that part of the trip went so smoothly for us. Our secret was our "surprise" for the kids of iPod Touches. Greg loaded them up with games and gave them to Braedyn and Emily prior to boarding in San Fran. Then they completely zoned out most of the flight playing video games. We are such good parents.
A huge relief on the trip came from Emily. Her ears did not bother her at all! Even though she had another ear infection diagnosed at the post-surgery follow-up, she did not have any problems on the flight.
We arrived at the airport in Beijing around 4 pm the next day, and I have to say that the first thing I noticed about Beijing, something I had been warned about, was the pollution. We couldn’t see anything out of the airplane windows, NOTHING, as we landed due to the thick “haze”, as the flight attendant called it. Once through customs, we were greeted by five of Greg’s co-workers. Five people and two cars for the four of us. They insisted on taking care of all our luggage and even took turns carrying the kids, who were little zombies (thankfully not the flesh-eating kind) after being awake for nearly 22 hours.
If I weren’t so exhausted during the hour drive from the airport to the apartment, I would have given the driver a panic attack with all of my shrieks of horror at the traffic on the road. Lines delineating lanes on the road? Sure, they are there, but I’m not sure why. No one pays attention to them. And how do they pull right in front of you when they need over? With those pesky blinkers? Nah. That’s what the horn is for. The horn is also the method of getting those damn pedestrians out of the crosswalk you are trying to drive through. I’m not sure why Greg put ME in the front seat, but at one point I felt his had squeeze my shoulder, so I assume he was having the same heart attack from the back seat. You would have thought Emily had just watched Dustin Hoffman in Rainman, because she repeated over and over again, “I want to go home. I want to go home. I want to go home.” This was most certainly from being severely over-tired, but it nearly had me in tears nonetheless.
We made it safely and unscathed to the apartment, which although needing a heavy date with a scouring pad and some bleach, was very nice. I got the beds made, and we were out cold by about 8 pm. That didn’t last long though. The kids were wide awake at 1 am (9 am in Reno), and by wide awake I mean running around the apartment squealing like kids in a candy store. We finally got everyone back to bed around 4 am and slept until a luxurious 7 am. And that, my friends, was the end of day one.