Well, coming home was quite eventful. We started our day at 4:45AM. We got up, got showered, made sure we had everything packed up because the bell boy was going to be picking up our luggage outside of our door promptly at 5:15AM. Of course they were running late so we could have actually caught a few more Zzzzzz'a. Oh well. We had to get going anyway!! We met the other family in the lobby and waited for our guide to come pick us up to take us to the airport. Our guide gathered us breakfasts to go and off we went. We arrived at the airport, went to check in only to find that our flight was delayed an hour. Our guide went to another counter with Jon and I waited with the other family along with our luggage. All of the sudden I saw our guide and Jon come running around the corner. I thought oh great what is going on. They both yelled we have to run. Lets go!!! Hurry! I didn't know what was happening I just ran with the baby in the carrier in tow on the front of me and with our carry on luggage. Our guide grabbed our cart with our luggage and started running. We got to a point and we stopped quickly. Our guide told us that he changed our flight and we had 20 minutes to get boarding passes, our luggage checked in and go through security. Now if any of you have flown and did this process you would know that it would be nearly impossible to make it with this time frame. So... he quickly told us where to go. I was a mess!! We tried to go up to the counter and in Ch*na everyone budges in front of you and tries to get what they need. Our guide told us don't be American. This is no time to be polite. Push your way through!!! So with the baby in tow I pushed through the people to hold my passport and information in front of the man hoping to get our boarding passes immediately. Well I had success getting the boarding passes and then we ran off however not sure which direction we should have headed. I went over to a woman and tried to ask her where we needed to go but with all of the pressure I started to cry!! I think she felt bad and proceeded to tell us to go to oversize luggage to check in our luggage. We went over and again had to push our way through. I tried to push my way through but it was not working this time. There was no sign of our guide at the moment so we were not sure what was going to happen. We tried to explain how much time we had to get through everything. It didn't matter. I think with the language barrier it was difficult. Our guide appeared and he went in front of the people and handed them our boarding passes and we were able to checkin our luggage. We continued to run to security. Crossing our fingers that we didn't get stopped going through security like before. When we ran to where the security entrances were there were 20 lines that were EXTREMELY LONG!!! I cannot emphasis that enough. We had to cut through the lines from line 3 all the way to line 16. We got to the line and it was for expediting security. However the line was all the way to the back!!! We again had to push our way through trying to explain that we only had 20 minutes to board our plane. We got to the front of the line. The people there were getting irritated with us but we tried our best to explain. We made it through to the front of the line and made it through security. We had to run a good 15 minutes to get to our gate. It was at the ENTIRE OTHER END OF THE AIRPORT. I learned a good lesson, not to drink a full water bottle before doing this adventure again. Jon had carry ons and I had to run with the baby in the carrier on the front of me and carry my carry ons. It was extrememly challenging. By the time we made it to the gate, we were both sweating and out of breath. There were people in line boarding the plane. WE MADE IT!!!!! So we got on the plane and flew to Beijing.
We arrived to Beijing and met our guide. We weren't sure if we needed a guide but it was the best thing we did. With the language barrier it really helped. After arriving our guide took us to the counter to check in and get our boarding passes. We got up to the line and we were told that our flight was delayed FOUR HOURS!!!! Yes FOUR HOURS. We already had a 4 hour layover there at the airport and then it was delayed another 4 hours!!! Oh my word. What are we going to do in an airport for 8 hours?????? We got up to the line and then the person at the check in counter told us our luggage was overweight and they were going to charge us $200. AHHHHH!!! This is where it was helpful that our guide was there. He told us that for 45 Yuans (approx $7) we could purchase a cardboard box and take some things out of our suitcases to make it lighter. So we got out of line and went over to the counter to purchase a cardboard box. We opened up our suitcase and started to take things out. We weighed it to see if it was going to help and it did. We were so thankful to save the money instead of paying for luggage overages. We were frusterated with our guides because they were with our travel agency and we felt that they should have been able to look up our flights beforehand to prepare us for this. If our first guide knew that our flight was delayed we would not have had to rush to get to the plane in 20 minutes!! Afterall, they had ALL OF OUR FLIGHT INFO!!! Our 2nd flight homes delay was posted the night before. They had a plane break in NJ and it was delayed going to Ch*na. Anyway, we made the best of being in the airport. I took a nap on the benches, Jon took a nap and the baby napped too. We got lunch at Pizza Hut in the airport. I was nervous that those who were going to meet us at the airport were not going to be there. A nice man let me use his phone to call my mom who made sure to get all of the info out to everyone coming. I couldn't wait to see our family and friends. We arrived at the airport in the morning Ch*na time and then left at nightime Ch*na time and arried in the US at nighttime.
All in all, the timing worked out great. The baby slept in a bassinet on the airplane and on me for most of the time. She was so good!!! Our flight was 13 hours total. We arrived at the airport in NJ and had to go through immigration where Piper immediately became a US citizen once we had touched US soil. Seeing her Ch*nese passport and them stamping it as a US citizen was the best thing ever. I found myself getting a little emotional with that but I held it back. Her Ch*na passport was no longer valid. If we ever traveled and needed one she would need to get a US passport. After immigration we got our luggage and I texted everyone to let them know we were coming. Here are some pictures of all of our girls, family and friends seeing Piper for the first time. It was so good to see everyone. Thank you all for making our homecoming memorable :)
Thank you to Jenna from Timeless Memories & Kim from KB Portraits for taking these photos. They mean SO MUCH!!! We cannot thank you enough for helping us capture our homecoming. You both are wonderful friends and I am so thankful for you both!