"Once our eyes are opened, we cannot pretend we don't know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know, and holds us responsible to act." Proverbs 24:12

“There are no strangers here; Only friends you haven’t yet met.”- William Butler Yeats

Friday, June 15, 2007

Part II - Getting There!

“Be not afraid. I go before you always”. This particular scripture had to be engraved in my brain. Sweet Anna Grace, this has been a journey of curves and turns and I look forward to someday sitting with you and laughing about all of the twists in the road that led us to you, even down to the last few hours before receiving you.

Our flight left Detroit on time. It was pretty much uneventful. A very long 13+ hours, only to arrive in Toyko, and wait for an hour before getting back on the plane for another 4.5 hours to Guangzhou. We initially thought the change in connections would have made it easier, but after getting off the 13 hour flight, we were so ready to get to our hotel. The thought of boarding another flight was pretty drastic, but I guess that’s what happens when finances are taken in to consideration. Regardless. They were good flights. On the plane, Kai’s behavior was beyond anything that we had imagined it would be. He was so great. The entire 25+ hour trip we made it through without 1 meltdown!!! He slept an hour here and there and was in a great state of mind.

About 10:30, we arrived in Guangzhou. We hastily grabbed our luggage off of the carousel and to the exits where our agency had arranged for someone to take us to the airport hotel we would be spending the night at. Sure enough, as soon as we turned the corner, there were two hotel porters holding a sign with Scott’s name on it. We were so happy to finally be able to rest our weary bodies after not sleeping for almost 30 hours. Kai was a bit anxious when the Chinese lady picked him up to put him on the shuttle bus. He immediately turned to me and started yelling, “Mama!” I reassured him that I was right behind him. Once we were on the shuttle and I was by his side he was relaxed again.

We check in….life is good! I figure I would take a quick shower and hit the sack. We gave Kai a bath, and laid him down. I could tell he was a bit confused, and might have even had a bit of a flashback to the days when he was in the hotel room when he first met us. But again, I kissed him, reassured him that I was going to lay in the bed next to him and soon drifted off to sleep.

Then the nightmare began. Scott was going to run down to the lobby for something while I showered. He left. I turn to my Mom to tell her to keep an eye on Kai that I was going to hop in the shower. By then it was about 12:30 a.m. I go to head towards my suitcase, and panic begins to set in. Oh my Lord!!! Our suitcase was not there!!!! Scott and I didn’t have a stitch of clothing. I start thinking…and then I remember that we were in such a rush while waiting at baggage claim. Ok, wait, I take that back. I was dying to get to the hotel and I was in such a rush that when Scott asked, “Is everything here?” I said, “Yes, Yes…4 bags! Let’s go!!!”

Guess what? We had FIVE checked bags. The fifth one missing? Scott & my suitcase!! And because I knew we would be on planes all day, I had worn a sweater to stay warm on the plane, and would have to wear that same sweater in 90 degree weather the next day if we couldn’t get our luggage. I immediately tell my Mom to watch Kai and head down to the lobby to look for Scott and get help.

I can’t find Scott so I head to the front desk. The bellboy and front desk clerk were so sweet trying to figure out what the hec this crazy American was trying to say. I kept saying…”We left a suitcase at the airport.” They kindly smiled and said, “Suitcase?” We began the game of charades and finally, I got my point across. The bellboy asked if I wanted him to go back to the airport with him. We would again have to take the shuttle bus there. I wasn’t about to hop on a shuttle with the bellboy and at this point, Scott had no clue what was going on. I needed to find him. I thought…”Ok, Ohilda, where would Scott be?” Aaahh….25 hours of travel, he wanted his privacy….THE BATHROOM!!! Heh.

I asked the bellboy if there is a bathroom in the lobby. After a few more rounds of charades, he smiled and said….”Yes!” He led me to the woman’s restroom. I turn to the other door and said to him. “No. My husband is in there.”, as I pointed to the men’s room. He again repeated , “Your husband?” I said…”Yes, can you please call him?” He laughed. (As I am typing this, I am laughing thinking that this poor man must’ve thought….these people are sooooooo weird!) And then he agreed. I told him Scott’s name. So, he heads into the men’s room and I hear him saying, “Mr. Scott. Mr. Scott”. I start laughing quietly outside the bathroom door. About 30 seconds later, out comes the bellboy with Scott following close behind wearing the most confused look on his face!” I told him what had happened. He says to me that he’ll go back to the airport with the bellboy for me to head upstairs.

I go back up to the room. By now it’s almost 1 am. About 20 minutes later, in walks Scott….with no suitcase. He said that everything was closed and he kept getting stopped by security guards asking him what he was doing walking around a closed airport. Thank God the bellboy was with him.

What now? It was 1:15 in the morning. No way we could call our incountry facilitator at that time to tell them our dilemma. The airlines had no idea which hotel we were headed to and even if they found the luggage and shipped it to us, we were only going to be in YiWu for 2 days, so we might miss it there also.
Then Scott remembered that it was 1:15 in the United States. We called our agency, who as always was great. The director said…”Call the guide. Don’t worry about the fact that it’s 1:20 in the morning!” Yikes!!!! So, we call the guide, Bob, who by the way was one of our guides in Guangzhou when we were there for Kai.

He was so kind. I profusely apologized for the time that it was, but he kept saying…”No problem!” I explained our dilemma and asked if there was a way that he could meet us in the morning at the airport before we were to get on our flight at 7:30 a.m. He said wouldn’t mind, only problem was….he wasn’t in Guangzhou!! UGH!

So, he suggested for us to let him call the hotel manager and try and arrange something. He would call me back. At 2:00 a.m., we get a phone call from the hotel manager. He and Bob had been trying to figure out what to do. He wanted to come up to the room and pick up the claim ticket for the missing suitcase. Shortly afterwards, he was at our door. He told us the airport opened at 6 am. He would go personally and try and track it down.
At 2:30, Bob called making sure everything was ok and that the hotel manager had contacted us. We said yes. Finally, at almost 3 a.m, we lay down, no showers and try to get some sleep before our 6 am wake up call rings.

I was afraid of missing the wakeup call so I awoke at 5:30, only to find Scott wide awake laying next to me. He, too, was worried about the luggage and missing the wake up call. I then decide I REALLY need a shower and would just have to wear the same clothes. I hop in the shower and we ready for our day. At about 6:15 a.m. we head down to breakfast before checking out and going to the airport. As we walk out of the elevator doors, standing there is “Jay”, the hotel manager, holding our claim ticket. He approaches us and says he’s on the way to the airport. We tell him we are going to the restaurant for breakfast.

About a half hour later, in walks Jay and heads towards our table. He said our luggage was in the lost and found, but they wouldn’t give it to him, even with the claim ticket. We had to go to the airport and present the claim ticket along with passports, a vial of blood, etc. (ok.,..so I exaggerated a bit!). Only problem is that now it’s already 7:05, we have to still get our luggage together, check out, and we were supposed to be checking into our flight to YiWu at 7:30 a.m.!! UGH! If we miss the flight to YiWu, we’re not going because there were no other flights.

We start scrambling. We went up to the room to gather our stuff. Right before calling for the bellboy, we held hands and stood in a circle asking the Lord to please take away the huge anxiety we were feeling and allow us to remember He is in control. We prayed for him to solve our problems.

The hotel was wonderful in getting the bellboy (same one who did great on tips from us, running around as Scott’s sidekick) to get our stuff downstairs while we checked out.

We get to the airport and there are 10,000 people running around like busy little ants. We go to where we were told to go, and they tell us, ”Oh no! Not here! You go to lost and found.” Umm…Ok, where is lost and found? Of course, on another floor on the other side of the airport. Scott remembered that’s where he went last night and I tell him to RUN - literally. We’d wait there. My Mom, Kai and I stood in the middle of the terminal surrounded by luggage watching Scott booking down the long hallway until he is no longer in our sight. I turn to my Mom and said…”Mom, we have to pray!!!” So, the praying begins. We both stood there praying hard. It’s really hard for me to pray without moving my lips even if I am whispering to myself. But, at that point, I didn’t care. I needed God to step in...and fast. We had to find that suitcase and get to our check-in point in order to not miss the flight. So, there I stood, in the middle of this huge airport appearing to speak to myself with my eyes closed. Oh yeah...those crazy Americans!

About 15 minutes later, a half hour after we were supposed to have checked in, we are still praying hard. Then, we see Scott in the distance, still running, but this time, pulling a suitcase behind him! Praise be to God!!!! Now, could we make it to our flight? We ask for directions to the China Southern ticket counter, get those, and bolt towards that direction.

I am right now typing this while we are seated on the plane on our way to YiWu. We made it! Exhausted but happy. I so look forward to spending the time we weren’t able to in Kai’s birth city. I was so sick last time we were there that it was truly a blur, not to mention that we were there for a total of maybe 2 hours. We are spending 2.5 days there this time.

Amanda, AJ, Tito & Adam…..I miss you guys so very much! I am blowing all of you kisses in the wind and wrapping you all in my love.

Ily, I’m so glad you’re feeling better. Thank you for all that you do for us.

By the way everyone, we were not able to see our blog from Guangzhou, so my sister has been posting for us. With last night’s craziness, there was no time for pictures, and I’m sad to say that there really weren’t many except for a few on the plane. Hopefully it will be different once we get to YiWu.

I did get everyone’s comments from the blog, the entries to Anna Grace’s guestbook and the private emails! THANK YOU ALL! You have no idea how wonderful it felt to read your words amongst the chaos last night.

Much love being sent from China…..

Ohilda, Scott, PoPo and Kai

UPDATE: I think I found a backdoor to posting pictures/posts myself, so hopefully they will be happening during real time.

So....where's our plane?

Aaahh...yes. This is the life.

A mid-flight catnap.

Do you think they see me here hiding?


geminirn said...

WOW!!!!!What a crazy adventure so far,hope the rest of the day is a little more relaxed....looking forward to your next post...keep smiling your almost there!!!!!

Big Hugs from Canada!!

Doug and Terrye said...

God is truly amazing!!! How exciting to be able to see Him intercede for you as you are on this wonderful journey!!!

Terrye in FL

2China4Ayla said...

I think crazy just goes with the whole trip to China....it just has to have some crazy mixed in. Glad you got the suitcase back!

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