A Long Journey Home

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It’s 2:30am in Shanghai and I am starting to write a blog about our journey home. The boys are up and playing happily, Michael and I are up too. I guess it will take a while for all of us to get back to our schedule. The first time the boys took the flight from NC to Shanghai, they were just under 2 months old, jet lag didn’t seem to be a problem since they woke up every 2 hours, in March they were 8 and half months old, and it took us about a few weeks before they got their day and night straightened out, this time not sure, and I guess they’ve been on 18 hour flight a lot for being infants.

I want to write about this trip in more details, just because maybe in the future, we can look back and learn something from this trip, as well as other parents who need to go on a long journey with their little one or ones. Overall I think it is easier to take newborn on a long flight just because their sleep schedule is easily adjusted and they can fit in a bassinet. This time, we flew with Air Canada, AA prices for our one-way flight to Shanghai was $2200 per person, vs. AC offered $833, and 10% for each infant on lap.

I booked through the travel site vayama.com for the first time, it was quite easy, then called AC to issue the infant tickets, they took my credit card information and were told we were all set. Nora took us to the airport and baked delicious croissants, we got up around 4am, and left the house at 4:30, when we arrived RDU there was no one online, however, we had trouble locating our infant tickets, the agent was not in a good mood at first, probably because it was too early. She finally was able to get hold of Air Canada and found out that the infant tickets were never issued, so next time I have to get the actual ticket number, I told her I asked for confirmation and the AC rep said they don’t have it for the infants, go figure! Finally they did find my credit card information and we were able to move on. We had 6 pieces of luggages, John took one for us when he went back to Shanghai. We had a nursing pillow, a diaper bag, and suitcase and a backpack with us, just imagine when we went through the security, it probably took a good 20 minutes for us to get everything back in order. This time, we were asked to take the babies out of the carriers when we went through the metal detectors (no way we will go through the new scanners). We just had enough time to board our AC Jazz departing at 7am, next time I have to remember that RDU is a lot busier than years ago so if it is not an early fight, we really need to get there probably 3 hrs before the flight time. Michael and I were very impressed with Air Canada Jazz, seats were comfortable, they are made with soft leather, and it actually has a screen for everyone – definitely night and day compared with American Eagle, for the same size of aircrafts, too bad it was only a 1 hour 38 min flight. I fed the boys and they were both happy playing with the screen and plastic cups.

We had no trouble finding the Maple Leaf Lounge once we got off the plane, however, the pass can be only purchased when booking our flight, so walk-in one-day passes are not available, thankfully Toronto Airport has a Plaza Prime Lounge for everyone. We got our 3-hr pass for $35 Canadian dollars per person, what a shock when we found out that Canadian Dollars are worth more than USD, same with NZD and AUD, really have to thank Fed Reserve for printing money irresponsibly and stealing from the American public. Anyway, the money is well spent though, there were only two or three people in the lounge, and they had a full size breakfast bar, drinks and at 11am, they changed to the lunch menu and also started serving alcohol. We found some space in the corner, moved the chairs around and set up a play area for the boys, they absolutely loved it, that’s how we killed our 4-hour layover.

The flight from Toronto to Shanghai was pretty full, luckily the agent put us on a 3-seat row, now that the boys can sit pretty well, we can actually buckle them up and I used the nursing pillow to raise their head both when nursing and resting. So the nursing pillow did help greatly for relief. Lin and Li are not the happiest campers on the planes, now they are so active, they constantly want to be held and walked around. We took off at 1pm EST, and they fell asleep at 6pm, the first 5 hours was really tough, a lot of soothing, rocking and walking, Michael eventually put Lin in the carrier, and he also slept some. Li didn’t sleep as well but most of the them did sleep most of the time for the rest of the 8 plus hours. I napped from time to time, and watched one movie, Knight and Day, it was cute. This trip it was better that at times, we can sit one guy in the middle seat for a bit, also even the change table in the rest room was small, it was better to have them changed there than on the floor. We had a regular row of seats so there’s not enough space to put them on the floor. It was hard to fly with infants, but since they apparently are so cute in many people’s eyes, we got a few breaks when people offered to hold them 🙂

When we got in Shanghai, it happened that many other flights are coming in, one of them was from Dubai, a Airbus 380 with 500 passengers. The immigration control was so crowded but we were called into the special line for handicapped and passengers with infants, it was great to skip that line. We also love the immigration officers, they were never stern, and always seem to be very friendly. This time, the guy asked more questions about the twins than anything else and Lin was still sleeping! Just when we thought we would be able to get out of the airport in no time, we found ourselves waiting for our luggages, they didn’t come until the very last, and we couldn’t find one of the pieces. After we checked with the luggage service, we found out that our “missing” suitcase was the one that’s taped up so bad that we didn’t recognize. It turned out TSA inspected our bag probably because of the iRobot inside, and didn’t have time to fix it so the bag was left open all the way to Toronto and  got taped as Defective. In the end, we left the airport around 4:30pm (3pm landing, 3:25 to the gate) and thankfully Liang Xin and her hubby picked us up, I would have no idea how to get home with that many luggage otherwise.

It’s been couple of days since we got back, and it’s been tough trying to get over the jet lag for all of us. We tried to keep the boys awake during the day but still they would wake up at 1 or 2, and wanted to play for a few hours before going to bed again. I also noticed that I have to feed them more often, they require more soothing but last night, Lin slept from 7pm to 5am only waking up once for diaper change. Lin was sleeping in a separate room with me but he did wake up a few times however, after some soothing he went back to bed.

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