It's been an entire year since I got on a plane and flew around the world to take home my baby sister. And to celebrate a year with this little baby girl bundle of joy, I'm going to recount all the stories and as many details as possible along with pictures.
It began with saying farewell to Collin as we left him to fend for himself, assuming when we returned we'd find him in a pile of blankets surrounded by Dr. Pepper cans and empty doughnut boxes. As the rest of us, (only 5 at the time,) pile into the car we get only a few miles down the road when Collin posts a video. (sadly I can't get it in this post, but it's on Facebook) he posts a video about the house being quiet, then sums up what he's been doing in the few minutes we've been gone. We laugh it and watch and settle in as we drive to the grandparents house in Alabama.
We reach their house and visit for a bit, then say our farewells as we leave Christopher and Kaebrie with the grandparents and the three of us remaining hit the road once again to drive to Atlanta, GA. In this time, in the now quiet and dark car, it starts to hit me. How I am really truly about to fly across the world, and how I am really and truly going to be able to hold a baby girl, who I would be able to hold for forever after that. The drive didn't seem to last long, and I was extremely excited when we pulled up at our hotel beside the Atlanta airport to sleep and go the next morning. I had trouble falling asleep but eventually I did. But once Mom woke me up that morning I was so excited I was instantly awake. I was ready to go, so ready in-fact that I was too excited to eat breakfast. Once we lugged all our bags onto the shuttle and got to the airport, I was feeling the adventure already. I always feel important in airports. Everybody there is either coming from somewhere or going somewhere. It's busy and crowded but it's alive and I like being in places like that. Places full of strangers who I do not have to talk to but who are ever so clearly living life in a crazy way. It makes me feel alive, and makes me feel important because when I'm there, I have my own adventure to live.
But a downside to airports is the waiting in lines. It took at least an hour or probably more to check our bags. Standing, standing, standing.....more standing. I was beginning to feel pretty tired. I wanted to GO. Not stand in a line waiting to check our bags. So I ended up sitting on the floor and waiting. Finally it was time to go get our tickets, so we pulled and carried our carry-ons and once again stood in another line. Thankfully this one was shorter, but I still sat on the ground. Standing and not moving was very tiring. That's when Dad asked if I was okay. Obviously my answer was yes, just tired of standing around. And so we continued now to security. But this was the longest line yet, and standing in a line, holding a very heavy bag on my shoulder and pulling another carry on...I really couldn't do it now. So once again I sat down. Then stood up and walked a few steps then sat down again. Then got up and walked a few steps, then sat down again. Again, and again we did this, slowly moving through the line. And then it came time to lift the heavy bags onto the table, and take off my shoes and my jacket and empty my pockets and walk through the detector and put my shoes back on and get all the stuff in my pockets and put my jacket on and hold my passport and lift the bags and I couldn't do it. I was dizzy and my vision was dark and my ears were ringing and I couldn't do it. But I couldn't just stop? I was in the middle of security, which was fantastic because as I was trying to get a bag off the table my knees gave out and I basically fell on the table, not able to hold myself up. Daddy then came and grabbed the bags and we found a chair and somehow I walked over to it to sit down. Once we had all our stuff both my parents looked at me and said, "What. Is. WRONG?!?!" But I wanted to say nothing. I was hoping that I was not sick because I wasn't about to get sick and not be able to go. I was going. And I couldn't be sick. So once again I said nothing. But my parents knew something was up since my face was white and my lips were blue and they put a jolly-rancher in my mouth and I began to feel better instantly.
I hadn't eaten anything since 4 in the afternoon the day before. Skipping breakfast wasn't the best idea... But when we made it to our gate and I sipped a Dr. Pepper and took a bite of a cinnamon roll I was all better and ready to go. One unexpected adventure down, who knows how many more to go.
After a bit of time we boarded our plane and took a short flight up to Detroit. I was pleased when we landed because of the snow covering the ground where vehicles and planes had not melted it away. But we found our next gate and sat and waited. I tried to read some but all the busy people doing things were too distracting. So I ended up just people watching. There was a man across the room sitting at another gate doing yoga...A person sitting very still with his arms in the air.... and a lot of people on their phones or staring out the large glass windows. After a while my Mom and I got up to walk around, and ended up sitting down to eat in a little cafe.
Not long after we made our way back to our gate, where we heard our boarding call. We gathered up our bags, walked over, and handed the staff our tickets...to Beijing China. I ever so clearly remember the words, "Welcome aboard Miss Smith," as I stepped on that plane that would soon fly me to the other side of the world.
Part 2 coming soon, (it's a bit more exciting :)