1428 miles

Hotel living.  

Upsides include your room being cleaned, adventure that lies outside the door and an endless buffet breakfast that someone else has cooked.  

Downsides include entertaining kids in a small space.

Enter balloon volleyball...

...or three boy pile on Daddy.

Yesterday though it was time to say Zàijiàn to Beijing and our hotel there.  The Novotel was clean, had a friendly staff and an extensive breakfast, but as in our experience with Novotels elsewhere in the world, it was "no frills."  That meant no pool and our swimmer is really ready to hit the water. And while we enjoyed the sights of the capital city, we've spent more time in Guangzhou than any other city in China as each adoption trip ends here, so it's more familiar to my kids than even Disney World is.

Nicholas was excited about the adventure of it all.  And got the biggest smile on his face when Candie talked to him about his upcoming flight.  We made sure she explained that we were all going together and that he'd be with his family all the time.

And yeah, that is a pretty big pile of luggage.  But there are 10 of us...

Check in took a bit longer than anticipated though.  For whatever reason, while Beijing is the capital city, it takes longer to get a passport processed than other areas of the country.  Nicholas' passport won't be ready for pickup until Monday, so Candie has a power of attorney letter to receive it on our behalf and she will then overnight it to us so we'll have it the day before our Consulate appointment. That means that while we have our adoption decree in hand stating that he is our son, we had no Chinese ID for Nicholas and clearly the two gate agents had not dealt with that before.  They called for someone higher in rank to come and Candie again explained everything to him.  Then he got on the phone to call someone higher than him and suddenly he starts taking off with the adoption decree. At this point we're starting to get a bit anxious but are praying the entire time.  Finally he comes back with a smile on his face and tells Candie to tell us that they will let us through, but just this one time.

No worries, once is all we need.  We stopped for a quick picture with Candie and hurried goodbyes as we were being escorted by the man to a special security line.

There he explained our situation to the document checker and we adults were thoroughly frisked.  Not sure if that was happening to everyone, if it is because we were Měiguó rén (American) or because one of my kids (who shall remain nameless) had two hard boiled eggs in their backpack.  We were a train wreck going through the screening line with all our kids and the things we didn't know we were supposed to take out of bags, but finally we got through to the other side.

At that point it was lunch time and while most of us were not particularly hungry, Nicholas was and he began loudly requesting Màidāngláo (McDonald's). Clearly he is no stranger to American fast food... The reason the kiddo was hungry is that he was particularly naughty at breakfast and had to be taken back to the room. We did have his food boxed up and brought it to him, but he was mad and pretty much refused to eat at that point. It was a tough decision to make to enforce a some discipline, but the time had come...he pushed his limits just a bit too far. Thankfully though he seemed to remember throughout the day that some decisions will bring consequences and he was much more reasonable with requests to sit while eating or to stop running or stop asking for the same thing over and over and over.

Finally it was time to board the flight. We were in pairs spread about the middle of the plane. Caleb kept Grandpa in line,

I had the first time flyer,

Daniel entertained Grandma,

our big girls showed their independence,

how can they be old enough to sit alone on a plane together?
and Natalie slept with the best of them beside Daddy.  (Sadly the plane began to fill up as Ian was taking pictures and I couldn't get out of my seat to get a shot of that duo).

Overall Nicholas did very well on the flight.  He showed a stubborn moment at take off because he wanted my phone as he wanted yinyue.  (music)  Electronics are to be turned off during takeoff and taxi, so I tried to distract him with the view out the window as we began to move faster.  He was mad and so our dialog sounded a bit like this:

"Zhou Zhou, Kàn." (His nickname is Zhou Zhou, pronounced somewhat like JoJo)

"bù Kàn!" (No look!)

"Kan Zhou Zhou, kan!"

"bù Kàn, bù Kàn!"

And then my little stubborn one closed his eyes and pretended to sleep until he did finally doze off, totally missing the entire take off and seeing Beijing begin to fade away. Thankfully he awakened in a better mood and was quite interested in looking out the window. Even more relieving than his attitude though was his oxygen saturation. Despite the high altitude and low pressurization, his saturation only dropped minimally and stayed within a range that, while alarming for someone with a healthy heart, was good for him.

As we began to descend he was enthralled with looking out the window, so much so that the person behind us noticed and was speaking to him in Mandarin and pointing out things for him to see.

We were collected by our delightful guide, Lee and brought to our hotel which we've dubbed "Kylie's hotel" as it is the one we stayed in when we met her. Thankfully the beds here are a marshmallowy paradise after the hard beds of the Novotel and I slept like a dream through the night. The rest of the gang will be stirring soon and then Ian, Nicholas and I are off to the medical appointment while Mama and Grant take the others to the pool.

More soon!

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