Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Under a Week Updates

It's been awhile since my last blog post, mostly because life's been pretty crazy with getting ready for our trip. We leave on Monday afternoon (January 9th), less than a week away! If you don't already follow our Facebook group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/KeystoAdoptAgain/), that's a better place to get more regular updates.

We didn't make it to Johanna by her 4th birthday on December 28th, but it's okay. We were able to arrange for there to be a little cake and party in her honor at the orphanage, and we got to video chat with her in the middle of it! She looked a little confused and overwhelmed by everything going on around her, but she also looked really cute with her birthday crown and frosting on her face!

We were able to practice a few Chinese words and phrases before talking with her this time. We probably sounded like fools, doing the intonations all wrong, but we tried. We taught Jonas "mei mei," which means little sister, and it was pretty adorable watching him say, "Hi Mei Mei" on the video chat.

On this side of the world, we celebrated by ordering Chinese food and watching a cartoon movie about visiting China. We're getting more and more excited about the upcoming trip! Just the other day, I think I finally finalized all of our hotels and in-country transportation, which was no small feat. Our passports came back today with our Chinese visas in them, so it's really truly going to happen. I'm pretty excited about certain aspects of the trip...

The hotel we're staying at in Beijing looks super cute and authentic. It's in the middle of a hutong (neighborhood) and has gotten awesome ratings, yet I got a great price and it comes with free breakfast. Even the name is cool...Beijing Double Happiness Courtyard Hotel!

We'll be visiting a section of the Great Wall, Mutianyu, where you ride a gondola up and take a toboggan ride down it. Sounds awesome!

We hope to visit other touristy places in Beijing, including the Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace, Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, etc. We plan on getting really good at using the subway!

Zack had enough old SPG points to cover our room and Morgan's room at the Sheraton Hotel in Nanchang, including club lounge access. Woot woot! We've requested a river view room, since there is apparently a light show there every evening. My flight was also covered with miles we earned on a United credit card. Can you tell I like saving money?!

We'll be meeting Johanna at about 4:30pm on Sunday, January 15 in our hotel lobby in Nanchang. More about that in an upcoming post. On one of the days during our time in Jiangxi (her province), we should be able to visit Johanna's orphanage. We also hope to meet her foster family, but we're not sure that's possible. More about this in the upcoming post as well.

We'll get to ride two bullet trains...one from Nanchang to Guangzhou and another from Guangzhou to Hong Kong.

We will have earned enough Marriott credit card points to cover both rooms at the China Hotel in Guangzhou by the time we get there. We'll just have to pay the upgrade fee for lounge access, which we hear is totally worth it because you basically get free breakfast and dinner for everybody!

We may not have made it to China in time for Johanna's birthday, but we'll be coming home with her on my birthday, January 27! And it'll be the longest birthday ever, as we'll be flying across multiple time zones. I plan on milking all those extra birthday hours for everything they're worth. Okay, who am I kidding? We'll be flying across the world with two 4-year-olds. It's going to be the longest birthday ever for other reasons!

We'll arrive home late afternoon on the 27th. Chinese New Year is January 28th this year. The night before is kind of equal to our New Year's Eve. So we'll be home just in time to "celebrate" the holiday, which probably means we'll order pizza and crash in bed. It'll be the Year of the Rooster, in case you were wondering!

So those are the latest updates. Less than one week until we head to China...so much packing to do!

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