we made it!! now trying to get settled...

Traveling seems to feel longer than it really is, especially when cramped on a plane with three littles. I feel like I could write a book about the last 48+ hours...tho I feel a bit delirious at this point. I am sure the trip could have been much worse -- but I am so glad to be in our warm apartment....and HOME!

Asia cried after saying goodbye at the airport for a good chunk of time. Poor little one was hard to console, and even harder since we had security people rushing us thru security...with very little sensitivity I might add. So much, that I almost considered writing their managers. She finally brightened up to open her small presents and cards in her backpack, and find a new necklace & jewelry (note to self: remember "backpack surprises" for future travels!). Thanks Nana & Jamma!! She is doing much better now, but its such a hard transition. I think they are all quite sensitive to change, and show it in different ways.

The flight was great - no huge turbulence or issues. Sydney protested sleep: she was awake for most of the trip, which was challenging! I was also not feeling great - still sick with this horrible cold/earaches, etc. Not fun for a flight with all the change of pressure. Justin was amazing as usual -- entertaining three girls while mom "sprawled" on our three seats. By the way :: the lady who checked us into our seats in SFO gave us an extra middle seat!! Wahoo!! Huge bonus!

After the first flight (12 hrs) we arrived in BJ and got to our hotel. It was cold outside, but not too bad! I think we all fell asleep once our heads hit the pillows. I was feeling heaps worse and shivers/earache/stuffy/cough. In the morning (5:30am) we went down for our nifty continental breakfast before daddy left for the US Embassy to get new pages in the girls passports. Their passports are FULL at ages 3 & 5! ...such international travelers. Justin got back in time to pick up us girls and head back to the airport for flight #2 (4 hrs). We also saw 5-6 Uyghur men on our flight, and they were all seated around us on the flight home. How appropriate. It was fun to practice our languages, and interact again in another tongue. When we got to Urumqi -- it was 16 degrees outside. We were met by a girl - with a nice pink van for all our gear. We were so excited to get home -- and by this time my sickness was making me delirious. I was quite woozy, and couldn't talk because my throat was hurting & head was pounding.

The girls LOVED getting back to the apartment, and they have been tearing into every drawer, box and nook :: finding old things and getting reacquainted with our home & lives here. They especially loved seeing their dolls and rooms. Asia said "xiang jiao" today -- which means banana, and then she exclaimed "Hey mom, I think my Chinese is coming back to me!!" I cracked up. She is a goof, and such a precious head.

The past few days we've been working on getting the house functional. J has successfully registered at the local PSB, shopped for food, turned on the water....all outings that require heaps of patience. He also visited the Ice cream shop!! looks good. He paid some bills....and finally got the internet back up. Today a guy came and fixed the phone line outside the house -- which was the major dilemma. Now we are trying to get the GAS turned on so we can cook over the stove. Going on 2 days without a stove makes you creative.

We are ALL jet lagging like crazy. The girls are all waking up at crazy hours - WIDE AWAKE and planning their entire day at 3am. Then in the evening Asia fell asleep at the dinner table. She was so tired, but we are hoping for better sleep ahead.

You can tell I (Ali) have been really sick. I don't remember feeling this sick in a long time. Its been 7 days now?? I've had every symptom - and today my ears are clogged and sorta in pain. Headache, stuffy, etc. I feel really lethargic, and can't really do much. I really need to get better so we can function here, and eat some decent meals. Chinese New Year is right around the corner -- so we need to stock up on food before the stores shut down.

Today the temps soared up to 27 degrees F!! That is quite warm for us in the middle of winter. We were also surprised that there is not heaps of snow/ice on the ground -- its been a mild winter, many have told us. Our apartment is warm and the coal stacks are going strong. Here's a view from our window: