Sunday, July 8, 2012
It's Coming Together
Today was my last day, I hope, of running from store to store getting all the last minute things I think I need. Today I got the gifts and it was so simple. After wandering around and around Tar_get, I spotted an FCC mom and asked her for ideas. She said to get American Wisconsin Ginseng Tea and Jelly Belly Beans. What great advice! In Chinatown today, all the Chinese ladies expressed approval at my choice in tea to bring to China. This made me so relieved. It's hard to purchase anything American these days, especially something to give to a total stranger on the other side of the world. I bought four larger boxes and one box with ten little boxes of 10 tea bags each. Anyone LDS reading this, in case you are wondering, it's decaf! The jelly beans were crazy expensive for what they were, $1.39 for a tiny box, but it's better than trying to find t-shirts and lotions, etc...
Another big piece of the puzzle is that my hotel reservation in Guangzhou is finally in place. Sounds strange right? Well, my agency's in-China coordinator likes families to stay at the Victory. It's been a battle many families have tried to fight. I stayed at the Victory last trip and it was okay, nothing special, but when I found out that Jie Jie was getting her AFOs (yes, they should arrive Monday morning so I have an appointment in the afternoon for fitting them), and as I've been getting used to The Rig, as I call the new stroller, I started having intense memories of THE STAIRS. To get off Shamian Island and across the street to the shops and metro station, there is a pedstrian overpass. Do you want to carry a 22 pound stroller up and down all those stairs and then down even more stairs to the metro while toting two girls and their go-bags? Do you want to be the only American family in your hotel? Normally, I wouldn't mind, but I'm looking forward to sampling the restaurants and I can sample more of them if I go out with other families and we eat family style and share the cost. I also want to make new friends and have my girls do the same.
Another factor is that there isn't really anything left on Shamian Island. Jordan's shop was the last to close. The medical offices have moved....
So, my agency's program coordinator here encouraged me to be the pioneer so I forged a new path for families coming after me. She issued an ultimatum to the in-China guy that said something like this, "If you don't get this family a reservation at the Garden Hotel by Sunday afternoon, they will make their own reservation on Monday." I actually called another agency and asked who their travel coordinator was and spoke with them and had them all lined up for Monday morning as a backup. I was happy this morning when I opened my inbox and saw that it had been done and, apparently, at a good rate. I am relieved. The metro station near the Garden, like right outside the door and across the street, has an escalator! There are tons of families staying there, too. It's going to be sooooo much fun! Oh, and the pool is gorgeous.
I now need your advice! I am flying on United, the most family unfriendly airline in the world. I am flying economy class and that means no personal screens, no laptop power and one pays through the nose for every little thing. No kid movies - at all. My laptop battery runs down pretty fast, but I've found a portable DVD player at the local big store for under $100 that runs for 4-5 hours. That's two movies. Think about it - one 8 year old on a plane for 13 hours and the same 8 year old plus a 13.5 year old on the plane for 3 + 3 + 9 hours coming home with two flights and a layover. Should I buy this thing, putting it on the credit card because I don't dare spend any more cash?
It's now 5:30am. I went to bed before 1am because my friend was in labor and might have called me to help her. But, I took two extra-strength headache pills for a migraine before going to bed, knowing that I could fall asleep before the caffiene hit. Then, she called me at 3:30am. The baby had arrived at 2am. Right after she called me, she knew she had to get going even though her labor didn't fit the textbook, and she arrived just in time to push the baby out. Her first! I'm so proud of her for achieving her goal of a natural birth! Now, I'm wide awake and the birds are singing. I've separated the clothes into two piles to divide into two suitcases. I did this just in case one suitcase gets lost.