January 28, 2015

And we made it....

And about 35 hours later....we made it. We officially "live" in Beijing. Right now we are living in downtown Beijing in a hotel, an apartment until our house is ready in the city of Shunyi. Shunyi is considered a "suburb" of Beijing. Shunyi is where the girls will attend school and this is a much smaller city than Beijing with all of the amenities and facilities that you need. This is good for this very small town girl. Big cities are fun to visit....but they are a little overwhelming when you are from a hometown of about 12,000.
We left on Saturday from Houston around 5:00 p.m. Took a 10 hour flight to Moscow and ended up getting there are 3 a.m. Texas time.  We then had a 2 hour lay over, then flew 11 hours to Singapore.  Our layover in Singapore was 4 hours. The Singapore airport is awesome. We went through a butterfly garden, the kids played on an amazing playscape, we saw Mickey and Minnie....everything you can imagine is in that one airport and that was really cool to experience. Once we got on our flight in Singapore, it was a 6 hour flight to Beijing.
So many people asked us why we took three flights instead of just taking a direct route....we did this for two reasons.
One, we wanted to experience Singapore Air. If you haven't flown them, find them time to do it in your lifetime. They are incredible.  The service was amazing, our seats were so comfortable, and everyone fell in love with our girls.  We had staff sitting with our girls playing on their leap pad, teaching them words in Mandarin, giving them new toys, it was really comforting to see complete strangers love on our girls the way they did.  Speaking of our girls....they were ALL exceptional.  By the last leg of the flight they were a little more fussy than usual, but that was to be expected, and it was nothing that a new toy couldn't cure.
The second reason that we took such a long route was to help the bigger girls with jet lag. I think our plan actually worked.  They were so tired from the flight that when we arrived at our temporary apartment on Monday they slept from 7 p.m. until 8 a.m. on Tuesday.  They were up Wednesday morning from 2:30-5, but this has been the only set back I have experienced from them.  Avanell is another story...it's like having a newborn again, only when she wakes up every 2 hours the girl wants you to play with her.  She is doing better each day and will adjust soon....I hope.
So yesterday we went and visited the girls' school.  This was exciting. They were able to try on their new uniforms, meet all of their new friends in their class and they meet their teachers.  The girls start school on Thursday and they will go 5 days a week.  This is a big change from Eloise's 3 day a week routine and Emerson's 2 day a week routine, but I know they will love school.  We also went and looked at our house.  It is being completely renovated and we should move in March 1st.  Chinese New Year is Feburary 19th, oddly enough so is Eloise's 5th birthday, and everyone here goes home to visit family, so they moved our move in date back a little bit.  Our house was looking good and we are just ready for all of our stuff to arrive (7 more weeks to go) and then we will be surrounded by things from home.
We also went to the American grocery store, Jenny Lou's to stock up on food.  This was an interesting experience.  A small thing of Cetaphil lotion costs 18.00! Good thing we stocked up on a lot of necessities from Costco before the big move.
And now we are here to today....Wednesday. Wednesday is a no drive day for our driver.  Here in Beijing every car has a no drive day....and depending on the last digit on your license plate you know the day you can't drive.  Our specific day is Wednesday.  So, the girls and I have been cooped up in our apartment playing all day.  This has been fine, as they have needed an afternoon nap, and it is very cold outside. The high today is 34, but it is currently 28.  It has actually been very sunny both days we have been here.  I have been very surprised at the amount of people who are actually out and about walking or riding their bikes to get places.  It really shouldn't be surprising, but it is surprising to this Texas girl who is used to it being 78 degrees in January.
It's been two days, i've burnt a pizza....using a Chinese oven, gotten about 15 hours of sleep since Saturday, and adjusted to a 14 hour time difference.  This is our new normal. For now at least.

 This picture did not even include our carry ons....people were looking at us like we were crazy!! 

 Happy girl on the flight! She loved roaming around and doing her army crawl all around the space that we had. 
 See that... that is a bassinet, this is where Avanell slept during our flights. This was the best part about our flight and I was able to enjoy some champagne while she slept. HA! 
 My three little girls! 

 All of the girls hanging out with Daddy. I think they were watching Frozen at this point. 
 I told you she was happy the majority of our flights! Or maybe it is that she LOVES looking at herself on the phone. 
 Emerson playing on her leap pad, getting ready to go night night. 
 Eloise relaxing on the plane.  
 One of the staff on Singapore Air. Everyone wanted to help us off of the flight all because of these two cuties! 
 The girls loved Minnie and Mickey in the Singapore airport. 

 Here we are yesterday at the American grocery store.  The girls LOVED using their own shopping carts to help me pick out food. 


Jenette said...

You guys are amazing! Glad you made it safely!

Anonymous said...

Love this! I remember scouring our American Store in Brussels for peanut butter and paying the equivalent of about $7 for a small jar...but it was worth it! Looks like you guys are off to a great start! - Kelley Eller Stanley

Ms. Jasmin said...

Hi guys! I'm glad you made it safely :)
Enjoy every moment. God Bless!

Lerin said...

What an adventure! So glad you made it safe & sound. I love all the photos!

Melin said...

I love that the American grocery store name has a "Texas-style" feel to it! You have already won by even attempting to use the oven. I would have chickened out and said that cereal for dinner tastes extra special in China. :) I'm so proud of y'all! Good luck at school and to Walt at work!

Sarah said...

You are Wonder Woman ;) Thank goodness for FaceTime, love you so much!

Sue said...

Holy cow!! Already so many cool, new experiences!! Making me miss our travel buddies even more!! I'm so glad to hear the girls loved the trip and they were so good for you! Not surprised at all they got all all that attention!! Loved reading this and already hoping for another very soooooon!!! ;) Love ya'll so much!!!! 😘

Ann Knight said...

Oh, so glad you guys made it safely. LOVE the photos! Did you fly first class? The pictures reveal 'large' seating areas. I want to hear more about what you actually bought at Jenny Lou's. So do you think all the Chinese teenage boys have license plates that prevent them from driving on a Friday or Saturday night? Wednesday I could handle. Speaking of which, if you are banned from Wed car travel, how will you get the girls to/from school each Wednesday? Have you eaten out at any authentic places yet? If so, how was it? Please post of pic of a Chinese oven! Did you keep your cell phone or do you get a Chinese phone w/ foreign service? Miss you bunches!

Stephanie Cox said...

I am so very happy for you and excited about the time ahead. I am so thankful that you made it there safely and with happy faces. Xoxo