To prepare for this kind of momentous trip it takes days and days. It takes lists upon lists. It takes anxious thought after anxious thought. It was seriously the most daunting thing, preparing for our voyage to pick up Vivi. The fact that I got us all packed and out the door of our house was a huge accomplishment in itself. I didn't think the day would ever come, and then all of the sudden it was the day to leave for China via Hong Kong. I just prayed that everything would go well, that we would have safe and timely flights, and that we would know the right people to ask if we were to ever get a little lost along the way. It is silly, but I kept thinking: "I've watched enough episodes of The Amazing Race to know, no one gets lost forever." Because seriously I hate being lost, but I just felt comfort in knowing that eventually we were going to find our way to Vivien.
Sunday morning April 2 we got all of our bags together, Tyler came to get us, and we left our house. As I was taking one last look to make sure we hadn't forgotten anything (ha, I did, sorry Brent), I looked around and got a bit teary realizing that the next time we were in our house we would have Vivi with us.
We got to the airport with plenty of time, and our first flight to Seattle was short and easy. We had a three hour layover in Seattle. I was surprised how fast it went by. Stella got some pizza, Brent and I had a snack at a Mexican place and suddenly it was time to board our plane and get ready to leave the US. I was ready to turn back and change my mind at that point, but I just kept taking it one step at a time and pretty soon we were off!
It didn't take me long though to realize that we had landed a bit later than scheduled. Our hotel check-in closed at midnight and suddenly I was worried we wouldn't make it. I had no idea how long it was going to take to go through customs and immigration. Plus we had to walk and walk and walk after we got off of the plane. But thankfully it all didn't take very long. We got our bags and I knew we were going to be fine. I had an information girl write our hotel name in Cantonese, since I had read that it is hard to find for taxi drivers and suddenly we were in a taxi driving on the wrong side of the road and going to our hotel.
It didn't take long for Stella to feel car sick. I felt terrible for her, but I figured it was going to happen to her a few times during our trip. Just when she announced she couldn't take it anymore we were at our tiny hotel. We checked in, got up to our tiny room, and turned up the air conditioning. We got online really easily and video chatted with Courtney, Heidi, and Valerie. It was about midnight to us and midday to them. We finally settled down and tried to get some rest.
Finally it was morning and we got up, had a quick shower, and packed up to head to the train station. The only directions we got from the front desk were basically: walk down that way. Yeah, it was NOT that easy. The walk was great though. The random street that we were on was freaking awesome. And the people were very curious about what we were up to, and they kept checking out Miss Stella. I wish we hadn't had all our stuff to drag along with a time constraint because I really could have just explored the area for a while. We started following signs to the train station, and I was just hoping we were going the right way. We had to drag our bags up and down ramps and then bam, I had no idea where we should go to next. Thankfully this angel of a lady saw our helpless faces and guided us to an elevator and told us to go up for the train. She was heading for the subway, and was so nice to walk with us a little slower and help us through that little maze of an area. Once we got off of the elevator it was obvious where we were to go next and we picked up our tickets. We got lost once again as we walked right by the area where we were to line up for the train, but we found it in the end and after showing our passports and having our luggage checked I was very happy to be in the waiting room for our train.
said more than once before we left Utah that I just wanted to be sitting on
the train to Guangzhou. If I got us all on that train and we knew we
were going to be arriving on time and that we would have our guide meeting
us, then I could breathe a sigh of relief. It would mean our flights were
all on time, that we had found our Hong Kong hotel, that we had made it to the train
station, and that we were on our way. The train was clean and quiet and
easy. And I did have that moment--we were on that train and we did it! I was so happy.
train ride went by really fast and Stella got to spy her first squatty
potty! Honestly, I think she thought I was making them up until she saw
one in real life. Unfortunately for her that potty auto flushed as she
was peeking in the bathroom and it made the whole introduction scarier for her!
Thankfully though, we both thought it was hilarious.
It was a short ride to the hotel and we were soon in our absolutely beautiful hotel suite. I was thankful many times during our stay that I had stumbled across another Utah Chinese adoptive family and had found out about this hotel. It was perfect and I am so glad we stayed there.
We were all so tired (personally I was running on about 10 hours of sleep since we had left Utah), but I couldn't rest so we headed out to find food and water. We had a hard time finding something to eat since we didn't have any cash, and China is all about cash. We were lucky that the fancy grocery store that sells imported items took credit cards, and we were able to buy a few things, but I didn't buy water because it was so expensive. However, all of the places that sell water wouldn't take my credit cards and at that point Stella, who had been an absolute trooper until then, lost it and announced that she hated China. I dropped her off at the room with Daddy and thankfully I was able to change money at the nearby Marriott because it was a holiday and all of the banks were closed. As I walked back from the Marriott, feeling so great that I finally had some cash I just kept looking at all of the beautiful Chinese babies and I was getting all emotional. I was meeting our little girl in less than 24 hours! I couldn't believe we were there and it was happening.
When I got back to the room, Stella was done and she went right to bed at 6 PM. I wasn't far behind. Finally the exhaustion of my body made up for the chaos in my mind and I got some sleep. The area of our hotel is very busy and modern and we could hear the loud cars, but it didn't matter--dead sleep came fast.