Sunday, November 4, 2012

We are here in Chengdu!

So before I get into the actual trip, and because life was so busy leading up to it, I just wanted to show a few pictures of things that were part of the preparation process. 

Here are a few pictures of the girls room.  Not a whole lot of space, but you can tell it is a girls room :)  (and it is full of good craigslist deals from this summer- not that it really matters to anyone but it makes me happy!)

 And here is the “15 days until we come home” project for our 4 and 2 year old.  I was worried that since they are so young, it would be hard to grasp a 2 week time frame, and they might wonder if we were ever coming back.  So now they have a little calendar that they can cross out each day or color or sticker it…and then there is a card-stock envelope for each day, that when opened has a special note written on the inside to them and has a special treat or surprise. They range from stickers, pictures of us, to molding clay and dress-up mustaches!  (I hope we get pictures of that day!)  Though this took up a whole evening, I am so happy we did it for them! 


Forth time's the charm...It just did not want to upload this last picture....!!

Our plane took off at 5am in the morning, so we had to be there at the airport at 3am.  Josh and I eventually fell into bed at 12:30 am, which needless to say was not even close to a short night of sleep!  We flew from Anchorage to Seattle, and it was a pretty uneventful ride…the only thing was...there was this very excited and well rested Mateo sitting next to us, who was ready and raring to go, when all we wanted to do was sleep.  So Josh slept and I stayed up most of the time, though Mateo and I did catch maybe a 20 min. cat nap.  Then we had 4ish hours in Seattle before we left, but we were told we would need to go get our luggage and recheck it in.  Turns out they handled the transfer…but we still had to go check in with Hainan Airlines.  Our flight was delayed an hour, but what was supposed to be a 12 hour flight turned out to be a 11 hour flight.  

 Now I have been struggling with how to stay positive in sharing about this flight…so I will start with the three positive things:  We made it safely, all 4 pieces of our luggage arrived, and we did meet some friendly people in our up-and about moving/stretching sessions.  Now for the rest of the expirence…the plane was very old, it had smaller leg and overall room than our domestic flight (which for 12 hours is a huge shame!), and Mateo and I’s  movie screens didn’t work.  We had gone back and forth about loading up movies on our borrowed ipad or laptop to help the time pass, but we had decided to just watch whatever they had to stay busy.  Well…lets just say with everything combined…after about 4 hours it already felt like it was the longest flight of our life!  Also, with how bored and tired Mateo was you would have thought he would have slept for some of it…he didn’t fall asleep until the 9th hour.  He was fighting it so badly.  I finally had to just set up my seat and his, for him to lay down flat.  This was great for him but a little tricky for me.  I wandered and got to visit with some nice people.  When I did have to sit…there was no waking our boy!  (who weighs a lot more as a complete dead weight!) :)  But to end with the important stuff…we survived and we are here! 
We arrived in Beijing to a major rain, wind, thunder and lightening storm!  We did not know we would have to climb down 2 flights of stairs outdoors in sideways rain very quickly and hop on a shuttle bus (standing room only) to drive us to the airport building. (Later we were told this is the way they do it at the Beijing airport.)  I was so surprised, because any of you who have been here know that the culture here is to push your way through to get anywhere. So when we sleepily got to the door ( I did not even have my coat on yet, thankfully Josh and Mateo did)what a shock the cold sideways rain was, while you were being pushed forward down these steep, slippery stairs, in the dark, with everyone frantically yelling and scrambling in a different language…It was a bit like a movie and quite a surreal feeling.   

Thankfully all our bags arrived, and we found the hotel shuttle to the hotel that was 15 minutes from the airport.  We were to stay there because it was close and had a free shuttle to the airport, but when we got there they told us their shuttle didn't start until 6am and we needed to be there by 5:30am (sounds early doesn't it?  Not when 2 out of 3 of us were up around 3am due to the time changes).  In the morning they were quite helpful to help us get a taxi (though they charged us double what we were told to expect).  We got there safely and to the right terminal (we were consistently told 2 different terminals, but I guess we just went with the last person's answer :)) Then we just hung out at the airport for a couple of hours.  We found coffee for Josh and a cherry smoothie for Mateo, and eventually found 3 fried eggs to hold us over.  We waited in line at the gate and then we were all herded on a bus and they drove us 4 or 5 minutes to our plane.  It is nerve racking in these pushing situations with Mateo, because no one is looking for him down there, and there were a few close calls with peoples bags hitting him in the face.  Though a few people saw this and kind of circled us and kept him save!  They were so kind.  It was still raining and another man followed Mateo and I up the stairs and helped steady Mateo going up on the other side of him (Josh had most of the carry ons and we got split up).  Then when we get on the plane (it is the same Hainan Airlines)for our 3 hour plane trip, the plane is the same as the one that took us to china, except it was practically new and was more spacious!  What doesn't seem right about this?  :)  Oh well we enjoyed it, and landed at a brand new airport! (It was kind of cool that as we were taxing for about 20 minutes, we actually drove over a bridge that took us over a major road way. ) It was very nice!  Though as soon as you get off the plane, it smelled like and looked like home during the summer if there was a forest fire nearby.  When we asked if there was a fire near by, the answer was no.  So it must just be the air quality here!  

Today, once we were picked up and settled into our hotel by our new guide, a little after noon, we had the rest of the day to rest and get settled in our room.  It is a very small room, that smells a little moldy, and that is due to the black fuzzy mold growing all over the tile grout of the walls of the bathroom!  When we asked our guide and the housekeeping (who was here helping us get our computer plugged in) we were told it is normal here in Chengdu because it is the end of their hot and humid season...and because it is an old hotel.  Kind of disappointed about it, but as long as we aren't having any bad reactions to it, I guess we will be fine.  (I did have a pretty bad headache today, but I think it had a lot to do with being really stiff from the flight and a new pillow last night, mixed with sinus stuff from being dry on the plane and the air quality.)

Now to the important part (if I can stay awake! the boys have been sleeping for two hours now...but these pictures are very slow to load and I am so tired I am blabbing and blabbing)...we get to pick up Hannah Ershu tomorrow morning.  (Orphan Sunday in the States...God's timing is very special and meaningful to us...because exactly this time last year, Josh and I were reading and watching video clips to show on Orphan Sunday at our church. That is how we found the advocating website that had Hannah Ershu on it!)  We will get up have breakfast, exchange money at the front desk when our guide Emily arrives, and then leave here around 9:30am to head to the orphanage.  It will take us an hour to get there, due to the bad traffic (14 million people in this city).  Please pray for peace for Hannah Ershu! And lots of wisdom for us!  Well I have to go sleep now!  Here are a few pictures of dinner at the restaurant in the hotel.

 Eating his vegetables even in China!  He was doing pretty good with the chopsticks!
And yes, they really are as tired as they look!  Goodnight!


  1. Maria, so glad you and your family made it there safely. It sounds like quite the adventure and plane ride getting there. We are so excited for you and wish you good days ahead in China. I noticed your FCC email about your blog. We will be following your journey daily. Best wishes as you enjoy your forever family day with Hannah. It is Sunday morning as I write this and I will be thinking about you all and praying Hannah's transition goes well. Sending you love and hugs from Alaska. Monica Kane

  2. Oh my what a trip you had! Mateo is such a trooper. I've been thinking about you and praying for you all. Can't wait to see pics and hear how it goes today. God is good!
    PS. I LOVE the girls' room. You did a great job.

  3. We were in Chengdu in April adopting our now 14-year-old son. From what I understand, your daughter was in the same foster family as our son's friend who also was adopted here to Missouri where we live. We will pray for a smooth transition for Hannah and the rest of our family :)

  4. Maria,
    thought about you guys all day today as you met NingNing's foster sister. I will pray she adjusts as well as NingNing has!