We survived the long-haul (15-hour) flight from Chicago to Hong Kong and have settled into our hotel room for the night. I thought I’d update a few random thoughts in my head before I attempt to sleep. Being in Hong Kong is more emotional than I thought. We are so close to Zhuhai; just across the channel; a few dozen miles. My heart is suddenly aching for our old home, my bicycle rides around Tangjia, and friends we made there. It was two years ago this week that I first arrived in China and I will treasure the experience forever.
But tomorrow, we are headed someplace else.
Penang, Malaysia. We’ve been talking about this trip for such a very long time, it seems. Now it is finally happening.
If you ask Simon what is happening, he will tell you: We are going on a new adventure. To Malaysia. We will have a swimming pool with a blue slide and a mushroom fountain. And someday after we get to Malaysia, we will meet out new baby.
That’s a pretty good synopsis, actually.
The rest of the story, featuring pesky details that only adults would care to know, are as follows. Joel is leading a group of students from his school, Gustavus Adolphus College. The students will enroll at Universiti Sains Malaysia, taking classes with local Malaysian faculty. Joel is the trip coordinator, mentor, accountant, and whatever else the students need. I will serve as co-director of the program, assisting Joel and the students where I can. The students will arrive in about 10 days.
And then there’s the baby, since people tend to have lots of questions about that. S/he is due in mid-March and we’ve found a highly-recommended doctor at a hospital very near our apartment who will assist with the delivery. More on that later, I suppose. Then we will all come home at the end of the spring semester.
So far, our travel has been incredibly smooth. Perhaps we are just traveling on a charmed day. Or maybe there’s something about flying trains-Pacific with a toddler while 34 weeks pregnant that makes people want to be helpful to you. Whatever the case, it’s been great. I’m not one to show a lot of brand loyalty but I have to say that Cathay Pacific has been wonderful to us. The flight manager set us up with two full rows of seats, so that I could lay across a whole row to nap. Joel and Simon had extra space in the row right behind me. Moreover, the staff were incredibly attentive, stopping by very frequently to offer me extra water, extra snacks, extra pillows, and diversions for the three-year-old.
And I hadn’t contemplated this, but out little Xiao Pianzi still has his game. Simon got the nickname “Little Hustler” in China because he was able to use his blond hair and forward personality to charm just about anything out of anyone. The flight attendants, airport staff, and fellow passengers still fall for it. I’m going to spend the next few months keeping his ego in check.
Anyhow, it is late and we fly out early in the morning on our last flight to Penang. I will have much more to say once we get there!