video first! Story second!
As someone who lives far away from almost everyone I love, whenever there's a long weekend or scheduled holiday, I'm always checking prices of flights. Each time I do this, I have a number in my head and if I find a ticket for under that price I will seriously consider going. For our winter holiday, we have 3 weeks off. We are scheduled to travel to Sri Lanka right in the middle of the break, which gave me a few days at the very beginning. Coincidentally, my friend Bonny had emailed me about throwing a baby shower for Katie. Also coincidentally, when I contacted one of Katie's friends in San Francisco, Naomi, she mentioned that she wanted to do a baby shower this weekend.
Initially I was going to skype in for the baby shower but then I found a flight under that number in my head. It landed at 10:00am Saturday and left at noon Monday. First I checked with Jim. He's the real hero of this story. If it were just me to consider, I'd be in the USA all the time, but I had to clear it with the one who will be in charge of the children.
Jim was onboard from the start! Hooray for Jim!
My flight was scheduled to leave Beijing on Saturday at 7:15am so I took the train up Friday night and stayed at a hotel with an extreme mosquito infestation. After telling the front desk staff at 1:00am, they sent an old woman to my room to spray the bugs. I showed her my bites and she came back a few minutes later with some medicine and put it on my bites as I laid in bed. She basically tucked me in. I slept with the sheets pulled all the way up and a pillow over my head until the wake up call at 3:30. In the morning I had a quick flight to Qingdau followed by the long flight to San Francisco. The flight was somewhat empty and I was able to move to two empty seats together and I slept 5 hours! When I landed (an hour early!) at 9:00am Saturday in California, I put on my makeup, took a sink shower, put on clean clothes and I was fresh as a daisy! It was a Christmas miracle!
My good friend from Seoul, Chrisitan, recently moved back to San Jose and he picked me up at the airport. It was a delightful reunion. We drove straight to Muttville where Katie was leading orientation for volunteers. Surprise! It was perfect. She was completely surprised! What fun. Katie finished leading orientation, Christian and I mingled with the dogs and then we were off to just hang out for the rest of the day before getting her to her surprise baby shower. We had lunch, took her dog to the park, chatted, got quick bang trims and walked to Naomi's apartment.
Naomi was a key player in the surprise. She set up the video messages for Katie and the hangouts call. There were friends from all over the world on the call. (How can we set that up where we can do that while watching the Bachelor? Let's work on that). Not to overshadow the baby shower, but after that we went to Target!
On Sunday, after taking Katie's dog to the park, we went to the ONE place that has my favorite Chinese breakfast, jianbing guo zi. They really nailed it. We paid $10 for one! (Here the going rate is about 75 cents. But let's not talk about the exchange rate right now, ok?) They also had some gourmet varieties and we had the pulled pork with red cabbage. It was very good.
When we finished we drove to Palo Alto for shopping and pizza with Christian. After dinner, we said goodbye to Christian and headed back to the city to wrap the Christmas gifts I bought at Target and pack for the flight the next day. I flew out of SFO at noon Monday. The flight was very long and my connection was delayed but I had arranged for Mr. Lee to pick me up from the Beijing airport. I arrived home around 3:30am. I was very, very tired but very very happy.
You know how when you plan things and you plan it with a best case scenario in mind? That's exactly how this weekend went. I can't believe it was completely perfect, but it was.