Sunday, May 25, 2014

We made it!

We arrived in Shanghai just 3 days ago... but already it feels like we've been here forever. :)

Just surviving in a new city with a different language takes a lot of time, and jet lag with a baby is not for the faint of heart. ;) But we're starting to see light - and sleep! - at the end of the tunnel, and are grateful for all of God's blessings.

We could definitely feel everyone's prayers on our flights. We'd booked one that would take the least travel time, thinking the sooner we made it the better. While that was good, it also meant connections were crazy. In both Atlanta and Detroit we had just enough time to go as quickly as we could to our next gate and join the boarding line. We were supposed to have 2 hours in Detroit, but our plane from Atlanta sat on the terminal waiting to leave for the longest time, since there was rain and some concern over whether or not we could land safely as the brakes had some issue. We prayed a lot that it would leave and we'd make our connection, and, praise the Lord, we did!

Hadassah was AMAZING. Despite all my worries about a baby on a plane for SO long, she was good enough that multiple people commented on how well she did. ;) Getting her up at 3 AM to make our first flight at 5:40 AM I think helped make her tired enough that she slept on each flight, first in my arms, and then on the seat between us. She was so cute - she'd lay down, I'd cover her with the blanket, and she'd put her thumb in and go to sleep! Now, there were definitely moments of meltdowns, but they were just that: moments. Though the last 2 1/2 hours of the 14 hour flight, I was definitely watching the minutes of the "time remaining" count down and even reverted to putting on "Lady and the Tramp" for Hadassah to watch to distract her. Despite it being Midnight body time, she wasn't interested in more sleep and toys had lost their attraction. ;)

We got through the airport smoothly, though we waited for a long time at the gate once we got off for our stroller that never arrived. Finally we moved on to claim our baggage and put in a missing baggage claim form. And, the next day, it was delivered to our hotel! Between it and the ERGO, Hadassah has nice transport and places to nap when we're out and about trying to find basics like food and a phone.

Hadassah also seemed to enjoy her first car ride without a car seat. Yes, the thought of what would happen if we were in a crash and she's not secure is a little scary. But in a place like Shanghai, carrying around a car seat just wouldn't work. Plus, we're taking the subway more often since it's a lot cheaper. ;) But in the taxi on our way to the hotel Hadassah looked in wonder at all of the cars going by and raised her hands in glee as she felt the breeze through the open window before conking out of my lap. It's moments like those that I want to remember.

Sleep is still a challenge, but better than I thought it would be. After the first night, when Hadassah got up and wanted to play at 2 AM and from 4:30 AM on, she's gone mostly right back to sleep after nursing. Though, her getting up 3-4 times per night leaves us rather exhausted, we're getting there. Switching a baby's schedule by 12 hours isn't fun.

And, I definitely have the most amazing husband in the world. Night after night of little and/or interrupted sleep doesn't mix well with my body, and I've gotten some pretty awful headaches. But, Ryan, even when he's exhausted himself, massages me and makes me relax, taking care of Hadassah so I can rest. And today is the first day I haven't had a headache! But I am coming down with a sore throat... travel, lack of sleep, and not as much fresh food makes things hard. It's kind of discouraging, but Emergen-C, cough drops, and one of Ryan's old friends here that out of the blue offered to bring us a smoothie tonight plus the knowledge that God is in control gives hope.

Shanghai is pretty cool. Ryan is incredible at navigating, so I've just had to follow and enjoy the sites. It's definitely a beautiful city with some lovely trees and the tallest buildings stretching for miles... Temperatures have varied from warm to cool to quite steamy. There's definitely more smog than we're used to, but not as bad as we expected. My legs feel the effects of all of the walking, but it also feels incredibly healthy.

While having moving overseas with a baby is definitely harder than if we were alone, I can't imagine it any other way. As Ryan says, babies are a universal language. Everywhere we go people stop to smile at Hadassah and she's already had her fair share of pictures taken by random strangers. Despite my best efforts to dress her in pink and put bows on her head, people still ask "boy or girl?" and want to know her age.

I can't wait to learn the language, as it feels weird not being able to communicate with pretty much everyone around us. Ryan does an amazing job making himself understood and I just smile and point and nod. ;) The Chinese Ryan learned has definitely come back to him, though, and I keep asking him to teach me certain words, though the pronunciation and different tones make it hard. So, I will be excited when we're settled and we can find a language tutor.

Speaking of being settled, finding an apartment is high on our list of things to do this coming week. Ryan's work is supplying us with two weeks in a hotel, which is great, but nothing compares to when we'll finally have our own place.

By the way, if you have tap water that you can drink and a dryer, don't take it for granted! ;)

(Photos to come later if blogger will cooperate - we finally gave up after 45 minutes of it still not uploading them!)


  1. This is Helen-
    That must have been quite a trip! But you seem to have enjoy it.... Keep having fun!

  2. I know the US has swapped pink vs blue in the last 100 years. What kind of baby boy/girl stereotypes does China have?

  3. I am so glad you are keeping a blog so we can follow along with your adventures. It really does help. =) Russ and I love you all very much. Really, we do.