I was still not feeling completely better but I was definitely hungry, so I stuck to some good old fashioned fruit and bread products to be safe. With the exception of Caroline falling, breakfast was pretty uneventful. We sat in the private booth area again, and as soon as David got his food he looked at me and tucked a napkin in his shirt. I don’t know if he associated that booth with wearing a napkin or what, because I haven’t had him do it again since (I purposely haven’t put him in white!) He is such a sweet little guy and definitely wants to do the right thing. After breakfast Brian headed back to the Civil Affairs Office to sign the final adoption decree which we need before leaving Sichuan Province. I took Lily and David back to our room to play, and Matthew and Caroline went to Baba and Daideo’s room to finish a game they were playing while they packed. David wasn’t a big fan of everyone splitting up. He kept standing at the door and whimpering and pulling me toward it. The poor guy is going to have a hard time when everyone goes back to school! I tried distracting him with toys and games, but he just wasn’t having it. Instead he decided to try to push the boundaries find things that he wasn’t supposed to get into. Sticking stuff in the fan and unplugging everything are two of his favorites. He also enjoys bringing me medicine bottles. When Brian got back it was time for me to start packing up the disaster that was our room. He and my dad took the kids on a walk to what they call “the exercise place” while my mom and I packed. They probably walked about a mile, and were gone for a good hour! On the way my dad decided to stop and play some badminton with some of the ladies who were playing on the sidewalk. They obliged, and apparently were really good at it! The walking brigade arrived at “the exercise place” which is really just a little landscaped area near a bridge, but it’s great for the kids to run around in. Then they headed back, and returned in just enough time for us to make a quick trip to McDonald’s for lunch. I wasn’t really able to enjoy it yesterday, so I was a little pumped to eat a burger and fries! Then we hightailed it back to the hotel to meet Susie and check out before our 1pm departure.
Earlier Brian had discovered that Chengdu is home to the largest building in the world and asked Susie about it. She said that it was on the way to the airport and we could drive by it if there was time. We settled up our restaurant bill, boarded the van one last time, and were on our way! Chengdu really is huge, and as we drove back to the airport we couldn’t believe how it just went on and on and on. There are some of the most beautiful and creative buildings there too. There was one that reminded us of Darth Vader! We were able to drive by the Global Center (the world’s largest building) and it was incredible. Pictures completely cannot even do it justice. If you’ve ever seen Independence Day, looking up at it from the car felt like you were looking up at one of those huge space ships that is just going to swallow everything underneath it.
Susie helped us navigate the airport and check in to our flight. Of course it wouldn’t be a traveling adventure if we didn’t lose something along the way, and as we waited in line for security Brian discovered that he had left quite a bit of cash in the safe at our hotel. Thankfully we were still with Susie, so she called them and promised to take care of it for us. I love my husband, but there’s a reason why I carry all of the passports and adoption paperwork with me. Airport security was rather uneventful, and then we headed off to find our gate. The airport in Chengdu is one of the largest in the world, but it didn’t feel crowded at all which was great for our large traveling party. Boarding seemed much more relaxed than in the States too. There were no boarding groups or first class boarding first or anything like that. No one lining up early to make sure they get on first. They just announce the start of the boarding process, everyone gets in one line, and you get on the plane. On this flight Brian and I were in one row with the kids, and my parents were together a few rows up. I sat with the girls and Brian sat with the boys. We thought that might help David not feel so scared, since he told our guide that he was nervous about the airplane. Well, he didn’t exactly tell her, she just asked him questions and he nodded or shook his head. Everything was going smoothly until we started taxiing and David decided he didn’t like his seatbelt. We asked the flight attendant to explain to him that he had to wear it, and that worked for about a millisecond. We tried the Pavlovian approach of giving him Brian’s phone every time he sat down and taking it away when he tried to escape. That worked for about two milliseconds. Of course, this was the time when the plane just kept sitting on the runway not moving. Forever. Finally, Brian just moved over and put David on his lap and buckled them in together. The flight attendants were all seated so no one noticed. The flight home is going to be in-ter-est-ing. Literally an hour after we boarded the plane we took off. The flight itself was quick and the actually served us dinner. We weren’t expecting that because we were on a 2 hour domestic flight. It definitely helped keep David busy and happy though! I tried to get the girls to take a nap, but they were way too hyper. They were doing all kinds of giggling and talking. At one point Caroline was showing Lily a map she found in one of the catalogs and telling her where China was and where Florida was. It was super adorable. Of course about 15 minutes before we landed Caroline fell asleep. That meant I had to carry her off the plane, through the airport, to baggage claim, wait for the bags, and then deliver her to the van. My right arm is still sore. All of our bags made it and we met our guide for the week, Aron. She took us to our van and gave us a schedule for the week. Then we were off to the Garden Hotel!
Traffic in Guangzhou is much worse than it is in Chengdu. It took us about an hour to get to our hotel when it should have taken us half that time. All four kids fell asleep in the back of the van of course. When we got there our bags were whisked away by super helpful bellhops and we headed inside to find Miko (our other guide, who we also had last time!) and check in. I don’t even know if I can explain how nice it was to be in a familiar place with other people who speak English!
Last time we were here the apartments were all booked, but since we had more notice this time we got a spacious three bedroom apartment! All the kids were starting to crash and burn so we headed straight up and started getting them ready for bed. I was so elated to have so much space that I literally started running through the hallways! We have three separate bedrooms with closets and dressers, three bathrooms, a living room, a dining room, a kitchen, and a whole lot of extra random space in our entry way. It’s amazing!!!!!!!!! Matthew was so tired that he curled up and went to bed almost immediately. Caroline had reached meltdown levels, so I helped her and Lily get situated and they were out as soon as I snuggled with them. I could hear David in our room with Brian making all kinds of happy sounds. Apparently he was really hyper and running all over the room! Brian closed the door and got in bed next to him to settle him down. His bed is right next to the window, and he just sat there looking out talking to himself. It was so adorable. I can’t even imagine what is going on in that brain right now. Even though he’s still in China, everything must be new and different. He didn’t put up a fuss at all going to bed. Brian pulled the covers up, and after a few minutes of window watching David snuggled all the way underneath them and went to sleep.
My parents were going to stay with the kids so Brian and I could go downstairs and have a drink at the hotel bar, but when I stuck my head in to see if David was asleep yet, I found that both he and Brian were out! So instead, my parents and I went out and explored the hotel. We refreshed our memories by giving my dad a tour and then sat in the bar and talked for a while over long island ice teas and a rusty nail. Since I had been up since 3am I probably should have gone to bed, but it was so nice to get out of a room and do something different for a change!