We boarded the plane on Sunday at 1:45 pm in preparation for our 2:15 pm departure. Shortly before our scheduled take-off, the pilot announced that we would have a 30-minute delay. Nearly 10-hours later, we were still sitting on the plane. ON THE RUNWAY!! Yes, nearly 10-hours sitting on a non-moving plane, full of roughly 350 other passengers and no air. Let's just say it wasn't pretty. I have to say, though, that I was impressed with the dignity and grace of the Chinese passengers, but all dignity and grace went out the window at about 9:00 pm. Nolan thought there was going to be a riot in the front of the plane. At about 10:30 pm, the pilot announces they are cancelling the flight, but as we are getting ready to gather our belongings, a flight attendant tells us to wait, as the pilot may have changed his mind. Half of the passengers had already gotten off the plane only to find that they decided not to cancel it. There was tons of talking and a fair share of yelling... all in Chinese... Nolan and I didn't really know what was happening at this point. What we did know was that hours earlier we had missed our connecting flight from Guangzhou to L.A. - a flight that only takes off three days/week - meaning we were going to be stuck in China for two more days! We finally get off the plane about 11:30 pm to have dinner (dinner at nearly midnight!) and then have wait an hour+ to re-board another airplane for a 2:00 a.m. departure. We arrived safely in Guangzhou about 5:00 a.m. and checked into the Pullman Hotel around 6:00 a.m. and booked two rooms for two nights. As I settled into the most wonderful bed I have ever slept in (maybe it was just the pure exhaustion), I had 45-minutes of peaceful rest before Nolan knocks on the door and tells me he has booked us on a different airline, heading home through Tokyo and Detroit and that we need to head back to the airport ASAP. (Oh, how we hope our travel insurance picks up the cost of these flights!!) This was actually quite comical, as it took longer to check into our hotel than we were actually in our rooms.
So, after more than 30-hours on four airplanes (plus another 16+ hours spent in multiple airports), we made it HOME!!! Home to the arms of a very happy Mia. Oh, what a wonderful feeling. Kara was acting reserved around Mia at first, but it didn't take long before Mia had her wrapped around her little finger. Nolan and I were physically and mentally beat when we got home, but the girls wanted to run around the house and play. Although I wanted nothing more than my head to hit the pillow, it was a wonderful sight to see.
We had a really nice day today, although our bodies are still adjusting and four of the five of us are exhausted. Kara is doing great and just keeps saying "Whoa" to about everything. The girls played outside, went to Nolan's office, rode bikes and played Wii. Their giggling together is just wonderful.
Thank you again for all of the prayers for our safe travel. We felt them all along our journey. Our travel wasn't without incident, but it was safe, and that is what matters. And we are finally home... as a family of five.