Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Come Fly With Me

On Friday, August 19--Willow was finally able to travel to China. She had her passport, her visa, and all her important documents, including an authenticated birth certificate. On Monday, August 22--Willow was at O'Hare getting ready to board her first International flight. With 7 checked bags and 7 carry-on pieces, we had our hands full! This was also the first time for Willow's Aunt and Grandma to travel over the ocean.

Usually the check in process is not so tortuous. It seemed like everything was taking ten times longer than it needed to. When we checked our bags, the lady was doing everything by hand and she had to keep going into the back office for some reason. Plus there were lots of little mistakes that caused her to redo things. When we finally got all our tickets, we were missing my sisters and had to wait again. We were standing there for at least 30 minutes, just waiting at the counter to be checked in! I thought that we would have to pay for an extra bag. But turns out that Willow actually gets to check one piece of luggage herself. For the extra suit case (70 pounds), we only had to pay $50 in overweight fees (thanks Dad!) which isn't that bad considering it costs more than that to ship twenty pounds of stuff through the post office. It worked out well being able to use my mom's and sister's extra bags for all of Willow's stuff. I remember the first time Adam and I came to Shenyang we paid almost $1,000 in overweight and extra baggage fees. Not very pleasant! Now that I'm remembering it, even with all those bags two years ago, we still checked in faster than we did this year.

Back to the story. We were finally able to get in line with security. When it was our turn to get our passports checked, Willow started screaming. Then the security guards who check passports kept changing. Instead of finishing up and looking at my passport, they kept trading it off. This happened three or four times and was super annoying. We finally had to say goodbye to my dad at this point, and then started putting our belongings on trays to be scanned. I had a screaming baby so I didn't take out my computer. That was a problem. My mom's carry on had some things in it that the security guards decided to confiscate. That was annoying. They kept taking the stuff out, setting the bag aside, then remembering they had to re-scan it. It took forever to get our bags back and the whole time Willow was screaming. We finally made it to the terminal and I was able to feed Willow a little and change her diaper before we boarded the plane. We arrived at the airport more than two hours before our flight was supposed to leave, but we barely had any buffer time. O'Hare was not being very cooperative.

Harabagee really sad to see his family going away....

During the long flight over to Korea, Willow was a star! She cried for a little while before we took off, but soon after she was sleeping soundly. She woke up two or three times to eat and then would go back to sleep very quickly. I think she deals with stress through sleeping. The difficult part was finding a good time to change her diaper. We experienced a lot of turbulence and so she had to sit in dirty diapers for long periods of time. When it was finally all right to get out of our seats, the lines for the restrooms were so long that sometimes we had to go sit back down before we could change her because the turbulence started up again. For some reason, this flight didn't feed us as much as usual. Maybe because it left at midnight so the schedule was different. Emma liked her airplane food and watched a few movies. Surprisingly, I didn't watch any movies! Usually I watch shows the whole time, but it was just too difficult to do headphones and controls while I was holding Willow...we didn't have a bassinet because of how full the plane was. Although now that I think about it, we should have traded with the people across the aisle who did have a bassinet, because they didn't use it the entire flight. We arrived in Korea on time and found a nice nursing room to camp out in for a few hours. No one else was in the room, so we had it to ourselves! Benches to take naps on, changing tables, and even a sink and drinking water dispenser---it was a nice little place for us and I didn't have to feel so guilty if Willow cried. I was worried she would disturb the sleeping travelers in the lounges.

Here is Willow in her groovy Korean nursing room.

Our plane that took us to Shenyang. It was a new plane so it was extremely nice inside. Unlike our first flight, which is usually the nicer of the two, this plane wasn't stuffy and did not feel crowded. The air wasn't dry or filled with static (like the first flight), which was an added benefit. The breakfast that they served was yummy. Each chair had it's own tv set, which is a new feature (usually the plane shares a tv). Everything was new, clean, and very nice. All the electronics were an upgrade from our previous flight so it was almost surprising. Usually I dread this flight after getting off the big plane, but this time I was surprised. Willow also had a bassinet for this flight. And she loved it!

After sleeping for so long (at least 16 hours), Willow loved to be able to play in her bassinet. She kicked and flailed and smiled for the entire flight. She only cried when her diaper was dirty and had to get changed. What a sweet baby girl!

We were sitting next to another baby girl from China. She was four months and probably weighed 28 pounds. She was the most enormous baby I've ever seen and her head was huge!

Willow had a hard time filling out her arrival card....

After all of our travels, Emma is still 100% photogenic and perfect. How does she do that?

All of our luggage. We were tired, hot, and run down from the traveling. But all in all it was a good trip--it took less than 24 hours to get from my parents house to my apartment! That is the fastest ever!

I couldn't have done it without my mom and sister. Just even little things like opening up my food containers for me or reaching the diaper bag under the seat in front of me, it all would have been a lot more difficult and stressful if I was by myself.


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