Monday, January 28, 2008

A Hard Trip Part 2

The trip from Hong Kong to San Francisco was long, boring, and tiring most of the way. Hope obviously didn't feel well, and Becky and I didn't get much rest. Unlike the flight from San Francisco to Beijing which was all daylight, it became dark shortly after we started and stayed dark until about 2 hours before landing. There were about a half dozen other families with new children and the airlines put us all at the rear of the plane. There were quite a few vacant seats around us, and the aroma of dirty diapers filled the air frequently.

The trip became a little less boring right at the end. About thirty minutes before landing the pilot came on the intercom with an announcement that went something like this: "folks we have been informed by the tower that we have unusual weather conditions in San Francisco at this time and they are not allowing any aircraft to land. We are going into a holding pattern with several other craft and if we are allowed to land it will be on the "Tens" which are only used during strong east winds. Since international planes usually come in fairly low on fuel we may have to divert to another location for refueling." OK, I'm thinking, how much later will we be? No matter, as long as we stay safe. A little while later, the pilot comes on again,"well, folks since we're low on fuel they have decided to put us at the front of the pack, so we will be landing in about five minutes." Now, I'm really thinking, we are the first plane today to land on the "tens", and we get to be first to see how it works.

The next five minutes seemed a lot longer than that. The plane made a turn and started descending. The farther down we went the rougher it got. We heard some pounding on the lavatory door. We learned later someone was stuck in there when the plane started pitching and yawing. Several times I thought that the landing would be aborted, and just when I thought the worst turbulence was over it started again. Becky and Hope were two seats away and I told Becky to tighten her belt and hold Hope really tight. At about that time Hope threw up all over her and Becky. Finally we felt the plane come through into smoother air and soon wheels on runway.

Becky had dressed Hope earlier in a cute little red dress with a blue bow in her hair, the closest she could get to red, white, and blue to celebrate Hope becoming a citizen when we landed. Now she had to take off the pretty dress, clean Hope up and put her in her pajamas. I held Hope and walked around the plane, while Becky washed up and changed clothes in the lavatory. By now, it was just us and the stewardesses on the plane. Our big celebration would be dampenend a little bit.

No matter how wrung out we felt by the flight we had just completed, it was a very emotional event when we went through the new immigrant line and Hope officially became a citizen of the greatest nation on God's green earth. After we got through customs and Becky had anguished over whether we should have declared the snacks we had in our carry-ons we tried to leave our checked bags at the airport, but they wouldn't let us. We had to claim all our luggage and carry it to a motel that the airline had provided for us. We waited for over thirty minutes under a small awning that wasn't quite big enough to keep the cold rain off, for a shuttle to the motel. We had used our cell phone on the plane to tell the girls back home that we had landed and found that the E-mails we sent had not arrived, or had not been read. Almost our whole family was in Dallas waiting for us and we would not be there for 24 more hours.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hello, I work with your niece Sarah Jean, and she told me about you today. I pray that Hope will be Ok soon. I myself will be traveling to China in March with my daughter and son in law to pick up the little girl they are adopting. We are so excited. When I told my daughter about you, she advised me she had already been following your journey on your blog, so I had to take a look too. You have a beautiful little girl!

Martha J.