This was the longest day of my life and probably the most stressful.  Seriously, we couldn’t have ever imagined the drama that would follow us through our trip.  We were traveling back to the U.S. with 2 other couples, and I am so thankful for them!

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We left our hotel bright and early, but not early enough.  Our travel guide assured us that we would have more than enough time to catch our flight.  Well, he was almost VERY wrong.  From the moment we arrived at the airport, anything and everything that could have gone wrong did.

It took us an hour just to check in at the ticket counter and check our luggage.  Then, we had to get through the airport security which proved to consistently be a nightmare in Chinese airports.  Let’s just say that running through airports would be a theme for the day… we only needed theme music.

After barely making our first flight to Shanghai, we settled in for a 3 hour flight.  Cora did not behave herself… at all.  She fussed almost the entire flight.  It was not a good foreshadowing of the rest of our day.

After landing, we had 2 hours to collect our luggage and get checked in for our flight to Detroit.  Seemed like plenty of time to all of us.  We waited for what seemed like an eternity for the luggage to come. When it did, everyone’s came except mine.  We waited about 30 more minutes for it to never come.  I headed to the office to report missing luggage.  At this point, I was almost in tears but as I stood there, I realized no one spoke any English.. NONE.  So, I was about to call it a HUGE loss and decided that making my flight was more important than anything in those suitcases.  As I turned around, Meredith was running towards me telling me that our luggage had come.  More running, gathering luggage, and sprinting towards the ticket counter.  We now had to just get our tickets, re-check our luggage and then make our flight… no problem, right?

Oh, so very wrong we were.  It then took a good 40+ minutes to get our tickets and we were the only people in the line.  Meredith and Tyler were amazing and made sure I had everything I needed.  Once we got our tickets, we had to make it through security.  We learned before our last flight that our kids were the magic ticket.  They got us through a faster line and this is the only thing that allowed us to make our flights.  Cora and I sprinted down the what seemed to be a mile long trek to our gate.  I had her stroller, diaper bag, rolling suitcase, and my purse PLUS her strapped to me… all 33 pounds of her.  Cora and I reached our gate as they began boarding… our travel companions were no where in sight.  I assumed they had already boarded, but I didn’t see them on the flight anywhere.  About 10 minutes after Cora and I boarded, they walked on… in tears.  Sheila and Kyle had a huge ticket mess to sort out.  The airline had seated their 2 yr old daughter separately from them… yep?  not good and wasn’t gonna work.  They got it worked out just in time and they were able to all sit together and got situated just in time for take off.  Now, time for our 13 hour flight.  While that was beyond overwhelming, we were so thankful to be sitting on that plane with our luggage.

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Cora and I sat by a really nice and understanding young Dad flying home to his baby.  He was, I’m sure, thankful for his noise canceling headphones as Cora was pretty awful the entire flight.  She slept for MAYBE 2 hours of the entire flight… maybe.  Detroit was a welcome sight.  It felt so good to be on U.S. soil and as we made it through the immigration line, Cora Hope became a U.S. citizen!  We said goodbye to our new, amazing friends and made our way to our gate… quite smoothly.  Chinese airports have much to learn from U.S. airports.  I’ve kind of sworn I will never travel back but I doubt that to be true.

We settled in at our gate for dinner and a nap before our last flight to HOME.

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