Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Home at last

We are now back in the US. It has really been a busy month. June 16-20th, the movers were at our house. I've never seen such efficient movers. They made boxes that perfectly fit the furniture before crating it all up. We had 15 wooden crates in all. The workers packed boxes for 2 days and crated them on the third day for our sea shipment. It will take a few months before we see them all again. On the fourth day, a different company came to box up our air shipment. The government calls the shipment "unaccompanied baggage" and it is only supposed to take about a month. At last check, however, the shipment was still being held in Beijing by customs agents. Go figure...

For the last week in China, we tried to relax and enjoy family time. We did a little sight seeing, some shopping and went to our favorite restaurants. We sold our car, so getting around was a little tricky. Mile-long walks to a restaurant or for a last minute pedicure are not so enjoyable in 100+ degree weather and heavily polluted air. These things just made it easier to leave China, though, so I guess it's a good thing.

For the last month, pollution has been especially bad. We all were coughing our lungs up and Jed came down with a fever of 105.7. We feared it was H1N1 but the doctor was less concerned since Jed was acting fairly well. It passed and we breathed (coughed) a sigh of relief.

As diplomats, we were each entitled to 3 bags on the airplane and since Tom was traveling on military orders, he was able to take 2 extra bags. In total, we had 20 suitcases! We departed our home in a small bus filled with friends, suitcases and our family. As we pulled away, the driver and ayi both sobbed. Xing Ayi could not bring herself to see us outside. She watched from the window. It was heartbreaking.

Once we departed, however, it was immediately behind us and we were looking towards the future. We used Tom's miles to upgrade to business class and enjoyed a comfortable trip over the Pacific.

The flight attendants enjoyed talking to the boys. Jack kept looking around and he said to one of the ladies, "I just can't get over how much extra room there is up here." She laughed and said, "well sweetie, it's the old saying, ' you get what you pay for...' You pay a little, you get a little, you pay a lot, you get a lot. Enjoy!" All four boys did great on the flight. Of course, Zeke had his moments of not wanting to sit, but didn't we all?

We arrived in DC in the evening and our wonderful friends, Michelle and Craig and Jay and Nalini, picked us up in 4 vehicles and took us to our hotel. The next day, our car, which I had purchased during my May househunting trip to DC, was delivered to us. We spent a few family days in DC and then took a trip up to PA to see Tom's family. After a few days, we left Jack, Jed and Huck in PA and Tom, Zeke and I went back to DC to buy a second car and settle on our houses. We sold the old one and bought a new one. When we learned we could not get our long term storage delivered for at least a week, we went back up to PA, picked up the boys and drove to St. Louis to see my parents and the rest of the crew. We left PA at 5 a.m. and arrived in StL at 8:30 p.m., driving straight through. Again, the boys were champs.

So, we are now in St. Louis, enjoying a little down time. Our storage will be delivered on the 24th. Tom will be there to receive it and start unpacking. The boys and I will return when we have beds for the boys to sleep on. All of our old furniture is in the storage shipment because we were not permitted to take it with us to China. That will make it easy to move in to the new house quickly. We just have to figure out what we will do with the old stuff when the new stuff arrives. CRAIGSLIST!

It's great to be back in America. It was hard to leave our friends in China and I miss every one very much, but being home is something special. Despite its faults, America is the best country, hands down. As Jack said, "green grass, fresh air, and water we can drink from the tap." What more could we ask for?


At Fri Jul 31, 08:35:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, everyone, glad to see you are safely back in USA. Best wishes for life in your new home - do send your address - do you have a new email? We are going to Yorkshire on 8th. August to see the family - Archie is now 17 months. Were to have come to us this week but Martin got swine 'flu. Helen & Bobby


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