Our flight out of JFK didn’t leave until late in the afternoon so we had a long morning to take care of our last minute errands and organization of the suitcases. I use the term “organization” loosely because like many other things in our final weeks, my ideals of having everything packed in logical and categorical ways fell dramatically short. Of course at the end I was just shoving all the last bits into whatever luggage had space for them.
Our last few days we tried to eat at our favorite places, so we had continental breakfast at the hotel our last morning. (Does it need to be mentioned that continental breakfast is my kids favorite, and not mine?) We drove back to our house to say goodbye to our neighbors, and to pick up the butter and cheese my friends Marina was storing in her freezer. Richard and I had to get a few more passport photos taken for documents we would need upon arrival, and then we went back to the hotel to shower and check out.
We had 18 suitcases, plus a backpack each, so Richard packed as many as he could into our rental van and then we ordered an Uber for me and the kids. Our flight check-in was tedious to say the least, but otherwise uneventful. KPMG allows us to fly business class and the advantages of this under the circumstances can not be overstated. (Although some of the other business travelers were not too thrilled to have our family of seven in their lines and their lounge.)
The flight itself went smoothly. At the risk of sounding snobby I’m going to complain that the problem with flying business class with a toddler is that during take-off and landing she was so far away from me that I couldn’t hand her anything or physically comfort her or be helpful to her in any way. But once we were in the air Amirah watched a movie, ate some dinner and fell asleep. She slept for 12 hours, leaving less than an hour of the flight when she woke up. The other kids and Richard and I did some combination of sleeping and watching movies, and Simon was utterly delighted by the whole experience.
We landed in Shanghai at 7:00pm local time, and with the exception of Amirah we had not slept a lot. Luckily adrenaline carried us through immigration and baggage collection and our driver (and a separate driver for the luggage), were quick to assist us once we came out of the gate. As a funny side note, when Richard arranged for the car for the luggage they first booked us a 21 passenger van. We laughed and Richard said that would not be necessary. So they gave us a 19 passenger van. (Which is really a bus.) Each suitcase had its own seat!
We got to the house around 9:00 and no one was feeling sleepy so the kids ran around and explored and we ate some cereal and snacks. We are currently using rental furniture until our shipment arrives, but I had to put sheets on the beds. Eventually we all felt sleepy enough to go to bed and begin the brutal process of jet lag recovery and sleep training.