The Watkins kids welcome us
Waiting for us to arrive
The sight we first saw
One tired Mama so glad to see her oldest baby
Elijah meets Beth
They sure did miss each other
Elijah meets Anna
Elijah meets John, Jr
Big sister Beth
Yes, we are home! Thank you Lord. More information about our trip home to follow. But, first, I suppose some may wonder why I've not posted in 7 days. Well, just after getting home, I was bashed with the most nasty, horrible stomach ailment. I was totally down for the count for 3 full days. It was not a fun time for me. Just when I wanted so much to just be home and be Mommy to 2 biggies and 2 littles, I couldn't do anything but throw up and sleep. It was Thursday before I could think coherently. I don't know what I would have done without Anna, who as a result of filling in for me, has now decided that teenage motherhood is definitely not for her! (If I had to almost die for her to realize that, I guess it was worth it). Also, a dear friend brought us dinner and went to the store to get toilet paper and crackers for me. So, I'm baaack...
Our trip home was pretty miserable. There is no way to make sitting in 3 airplanes with 2 little children travelling for 27 hours fun. It is just the nature of the beast. But, we survived!
It all started at 6 am Sat. the 26th. We ate our last breakfast at the China Hotel and our guide took us and two other families to the airport. Well, for some unknown reason, we were the only ones flying to Shanghai instead of Hong Kong. So, she tells us to go into another line. She then starts to talk to the person in charge of our line. She looks concerned and comes to us and says,"Lets try another line." So we wait in another line only to get the same answer. After the second person, she explains the problem: For some reason, flying to Shanghai doesn't allow you to fly by international rules, but going to Hong Kong does. So we had to go and get special permission to check our luggage. Chinese domestic flights only allow 1 bag per person weighing 45 lbs. Let's just say we had a few more pounds than that. So, she takes us clear across the airport. John is walking fast with our luggage, while I'm bring up the distant rear with Abbey and Elijah in a umbrella stroller. We do finally get permission, but by the time we get our boarding passes, it is 8:45, and our plane leaves at 9:30. The line for security is packed. We know there is no way we can make it. So, John shows our tickets to a guard and she allows us to enter the VIP line. We go through pretty quickly, even though all of us get the pat down and scan thing(even Elijah) and they confiscate my hand sanitizer(I still don't understand that one). So we are off, only to find they have changed our gate. We are off again. At the Guangzhou airport you don't walk to the plane you walk on the tarmac and they take you in a bus to the plane, we had to literally squeeze onto the bus. A very kind lady helped me with my bag and talked with me as we are going to the plane. We get on the plane. I sit down and, yuck, my seat is soaking wet. I go to the bathroom and my underwear and pants are soaking with something brown(I'm so hopeful it was Coke or coffee). Well, nothing I can do about it now. When we get to Shanghai, we have to recheck our luggage, so I grab a new pair of underwear and change. Once in Shanghai, we have no clue where to go. We are walking, not really knowing where we are going, when the lady from the bus comes up to me. I ask her some questions and she knows all the answers. I yell to John, "Hey, she knows what we need to do" He says to her, "I was just praying that God would send someone to help us, you are a God-send!" She smiled and said, "I'm a Christian too." Isn't that a neat story? After that, we got where we needed to be and flew to Chicago and onto RDU, pretty uneventfully. It was just the expected wrestling with the kids and the extremely cramped conditions, but we knew that was coming. When we finally got to RDU at about 10:30 pm(10:30 am on the 27th in China), several of our dear friends, our kids(except for Daniel, who was on a church retreat) and my parents were waiting at the airport for us. The shocker was that Beth was there. She had told me that she couldn't come, but she planned to surprise me. It was indeed a most pleasant surprise. It really touched me that she had flown home just to be there when we arrived. When I saw everyone, I couldn't keep the tears from flowing. It was so thoughtful for everyone to be there(it was pouring rain outside), and it was so wonderful to know we were home! The pictures posted here were taken by our good friend, Dean.