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.

9 comments:

kitchu said...

I will be praying for you! Such a lot on your plate. The DVD player in my opinion is totally worth it though there are other ways for entertainment on the flight and hopefully they will sleep :) My girl slept the whole way home! (She was closer to 4 though). All the best to you!

Princess D said...

Glad you are done with the store running and that you scored some great pre-approved ;)gifts to take! Kudos to your trail blazing the hotel scene that will be helpful to those coming after you (as well as for you and your girls this trip!)
Congratulations to your friend and her new baby! Very exciting :)
Good luck with all your ventures you will be taking on today (as I'm sure you are)!!!

MC said...

Perhaps also research an iPod touch - the low end model is $199 and it does A LOT! It can play videos and games and music, can take videos (the girls might love this), has wifi internet and email capabilities, and more. It has an "airplane" mode that shuts off most applications so that you save battery life when flying. However, I don't know if you would have enough time to really learn it before you left.

With the portable DVD player you're considering, would it play Chinese DVDs if you bought some over there? DVDs I've bought in China didn't play on my American DVD player.a

nicole said...

we loaded our boys nano with books on cd. there was less and less on the screen that was for their age. they listened to books and a deck of cards and a few other small items and we were there in no time. boys were 8 and 9 at time of travel and are ACTIVE kids.

Anonymous said...

I would not do the DVD player and movies, and also agree that an IPOD touch would be a much better idea. If possible it would be nice to have some English things for Jie Jie's "turn" and some movies downloaded in Chinese for Sissy's "turn". Plus, I have watched a movie with my daughter on her little screen when on a plane and enjoyed it. Whatever you decide, have a good time. We will be waiting for your updates.
Carolyn (in Las Vegas)

Kris said...

I agree with iTouch...check Craigs list you might be able to score a deal...or check with friends to see if they will loan you one. We use ours for travel all the time! Also on the United Flight the long haul flight might have outlets in the seats...ask, it can't hurt. Best of luck to you...we will be praying for you from Florida.

Anonymous said...

The Garden is a wonderful choice. We were there in May and loved it! Pool was fantastic, subway is right out the front door and there are a ton of restaurant options outside of the hotel. Great choice!

mom and girls said...

Can you take a Leapster or something for your younger daughter?? I travelled in 2006 with my then 8 year old. She read books, only watched one movie the whole trip, did wordsearch puzzles, read, played travel boardgames. I had taken a couple of fun card games that were easy to fit into a carry on bag. Target has a great selection of travel games/cards. She will probably sleep too.

Sherri said...

We LOVED the garden and the Chinese culture that we got to experience in that part of town. If u get bored with the shops go BEHIND the motel a couple of blocks for a look at the real china. Middle class apartments, very interesting stores. I'm just so excited for you! The Lord goes before you! Zeke is excited too!