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Tuesday Update: 06/03/08

Well, it’s 6:35 in the morning, Matt and I are up, showered, and ready for the day. Why, you ask? Well, we are horribly, horribly jet lagged and our bodies cannot seem to figure out when to sleep and when to be awake. After going to bed around 11:00 last night, we were both awake again shortly after 1:00 AM. We attempted to sleep, but at about 3:00 AM we decided to watch some TV to try and help. (We watched a very interesting documentary on the Hindenburg.) Then at 4:00 we decided to try and go back to sleep…but by 4:30 we gave up and just decided to get up. Plus, we were both hungry…so I made scrambled eggs, bacon, and toast and we ate around 5:00 AM! Then we got ready for the day and here we are. I am at the computer getting ready to start working, and Matt is catching up on some of the shows I recorded for him on the DVR while he was in China. I’m sure that by 10:00 AM (when I have to go into the office for a meeting) I’ll be dead tired, but we’re going to try and stay awake until bedtime and hope we can get on the right schedule. We are both just so messed up from the trip. It went something like this:
We got up around 5:00 AM on Sunday morning because it was SO light out and we just couldn’t sleep anymore. This would have been 4:00 PM Saturday afternoon, Iowa time.
We left the hospital in a VERY crowded van with Linda, her helper, a girl from the China Connection, and the driver…along with our two bags, Linda’s two bags, and two wheelchairs at around 11:45 AM.
We arrived in one piece (SOMEHOW) at about 1:45 PM. We got checked in and were able to upgrade to business class with the help of a very nice United ticket agent. We spent most of our time at the Beijing airport in the Business Lounge, drinking free pop and snacking on crackers. Then an airport worker came to escort us to the gate about 45 minutes before boarding time. There was a snafu with Linda’s husband. He was supposed to arrive in Tianjin late Saturday night to accompany her home. Well, long story short, his visa wouldn’t allow him to come back to China, so he was sent back home…after arriving in JAPAN! He had to arrange for a hotel room that night and was on a flight back to Chicago arriving just before ours. Of course this was very upsetting to him and to Linda, who was so looking forward to seeing him and needed his help on the flight. Thankfully, we were on the same one, so I tried to reassure her that I would take care of her and it wouldn’t be a problem. We were able to upgrade her seat as well and she sat just across the aisle from me, which worked out great. I could help her to the bathroom easily, and get her situated in her chair. She is tiny compared to Matt, so I kept telling her we’d certainly be just fine! We left China around 4:15 PM, around 3:15 AM, Iowa time. The flight went smoothly, and having the wonderful seats in business class which recline and have footstools (besides many other wonderful amenities), we were able to get some sleep and the flight went by much faster than before! We arrived tired, but happy to be back in America at around 4:00 PM. This would be 5:00 AM Monday morning, China time. So, by the time we arrived in Chicago, we’d already been awake (mostly) for 24 hours!
We made our way through customs with the help of an airport worker. He pushed Matt and I pushed Linda. She was just starting to get pretty worried, after seeing the crazy, crowded customs baggage claim, thinking that her husband would never find her….when we rounded a corner and he popped out of the crowd and told her he’d already gotten her bags. She burst into tears, as they embraced, and I couldn’t help but get teary eyed myself. I was so worried for her, as we had no way of knowing for sure if he had arrived from Japan or not…and she would have had a terrible time trying to fly home without him. We were all so thankful that we were able to find him so easily! After we all gathered our bags and made it through customs we said good-bye to Linda and Chad at their gate.
Matt and I found a place to grab a hamburger and shake…something he had been craving for so long…and then we made our way to our gate. Thankfully, everything was on time and we just had to wait about an hour and ½ before we boarded our last leg of the long journey home. The United agent at the gate also moved our seats up so we were much closer to the front, which was also great! We left Chicago at around 8:35 PM and arrived back in Des Moines a little before 10:00. This was 11:00 AM Monday morning, China time.
We were welcomed home by Matt’s parents, Hope, Chad and the kids, my Aunt Barb, and our friend Jay. Meghan had colored a couple of pictures for us and there were lots of hugs and smiles from everyone. We gathered up our bags and visited for a few minutes before finally heading home to Ankeny. We got home around 11:00 PM and spent a few hours just unpacking and checking out the house. It was so much fun show Matt everything and talk about how we might do things now that he was here. We finally climbed in to bed and fell into a coma around 1:00 AM Monday…this would have been 2:00 PM Monday, China time. So…we traveled for nearly 24 hours, and were awake nearly 33 hours. Then we slept for about 10 and ½ hours Monday morning, getting up around 11:30. So, that might be why we’re so messed up!!!! Hopefully tonight we can get back on schedule!
All in all, the trip went smoothly. We had no trouble with our flights, baggage, wheelchairs, etc. We survived the crazy drive from Tianjin to Beijing, with Matt giving me looks all the way and me just nodding. I was an old pro at this Chinese driving experience by then!
Yesterday we spent the day checking things out around the house. We drove in to Des Moines early in the afternoon to get Buddy and Steve from the vet…who were SO excited to get back home and to see Matt. (George is bringing Penny down today and I’m really excited to see her reaction, as well as Buddy’s!) We rearranged closets, and drawers, and moved things to places better for Matt to use. It was so nice to have him around to talk to, and ask his opinion on where things should go. It really started to feel like HOME! We also went downstairs and I showed Matt the basement…something he hasn’t seen at all except in pictures! He smiled when he turned the faucet on in the bathroom for the first time and just happily took it all in. We ate breakfast out on the deck, enjoying the FRESH Iowa air. We took Buddy out and walked down to the mailbox together and then back to the cul-de-sac behind us to see the house from that angle too, just talking about how nice it all looked and making plans for a fence and more plants. We got Casey’s pizza for dinner and enjoyed it at the dining room table. It was just a great, great day together. I was so happy to have him home, and he was so happy to be here. I’m glad I’ll be working mostly from home this week so I can make sure he has what he needs and feels comfortable managing things on his own. So far, so good!

(I’ll post pictures later)

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