Chicago: Home again

I made it home last night with little trouble, although it was close at one point.

We wrapped up the conference yesterday at mid-day. My last presentation went well, and then we bailed, heading for the airport early figuring the sooner we got to O’Hare, the better. We got stuck in traffic just at the entrance to the airport; there was something going on at one of the terminals — we never did hear what, although at one point we heard something on the shuttle driver’s radio that they had the terminal completely closed. After sitting literally motionless for close to an hour in traffic — and thinking how glad we were we had decided to leave early, and watching people walk with their luggage past the stopped traffic as they took matters into their own hands, presumably with the intent of making flights — traffic began creeping forward and eventually loosened up so that we made it to the right terminal in plenty of time. Got a bite to eat, took a nap, and boarded for SLC pretty close to on-time… only to get stuck in pretty much another traffic jam. At one point the pilot indicated we were number 20 in line for take off (weather off to one side of the airport had the place down to a single runway for departures).

We ended up leaving Chicago more than an hour after our scheduled departure, and were faced with a 100+ knot headwind (more info from our ever-helpful crew on the flight deck). I figured that our already relatively tight connection in SLC was history… and it nearly was. We came in on the far end of one concourse and had to get to the other end of another; by the time we got to our gate, they had already closed the door. We were pleasantly surprised, though, that they called down to the ramp, held the plane and sent us dashing through… and somehow they got our bags on board.

Home again, safe and sound. And it feels good to be back. Deb, Li, and Ian were glad to see me. Li was pretty excited to see me this morning when she woke up, and it was fun to get to snuggle a little with her this morning. I went in to work for a couple hours to take care of a couple loose ends, and now I’m off for a couple days of vacation (not counting the weekend) to try to refuel and reconnect with life. I came home to something unexpected: we bought a white 1986 manual Subaru GL wagon for Ian to use. One more step as he grows up; this one feels bigger than most.

I’ve got a couple pix on my phone that I will pull down and post from one of my early morning runs out to Navy Pier.

Home again…

… home again, jiggedy-jig.

The past couple of days are basically a blur. My head, my stomach, my watch, and my little girl are all still operating on different timezones, which is resulting in a weird dizzy sort of feeling.

The last day in Guangzhou was some shopping and a little exploring off Shamian Island on our own in the morning, and then the big event where we took the visa oath on behalf of Li so that she could travel with us. Thursday was a 31-hour day, starting with a 4:30am wakeup to get going for the airport and the first of four legs of plane travel to make it home. The flights themselves were pretty uneventful; we were a little late getting out of Hong Kong, but we still had plenty of time in LA between connections. Li is teething — it looks like the first little molar is trying to poke through — so she was pretty fussy at times on the planes. The first four hours or so on the Hong Kong to LA flight were pretty tough, but after that she conked out and slept until we were landing in LA.

Li is down napping for a bit right now, which is probably a good thing, as last night by the time we made it home she was exhausted but her clock was still on mid-day in China so the last thing she wanted was to go to bed and sleep. She was up until about 3am before sleeping a few hours. I’m sure it is going to take all of us a few days to get back into any sort of routine and to get our bodies back on Mountain time.

Thank you to all of you for your thoughts and prayers these past two weeks. You have no idea how much they have meant to us and how much they have helped.

In addition to our little girl, we brought back lots of pictures and even more memories. Over the next few days, I hope to pull some of those together in a couple more posts to try to share some of our experiences with all of you…