Ni Hao Everyone!
Well, we made to China (half way around the world) in a completely uneventful fashion. The only snag was that our flight from San Francisco left about an hour and a half later than expected. But taken in the grad scheme of things, this is a bargain. The flights were great and the people we’ve met thus far are great. And, all things considered, we had it easy getting to San Fran as so many in our group of about 30 families had to travel from the snowed-in midwest and east coast. But I think everyone who was scheduled to make it, actually did (even if, in some cases, the luggage has not yet). Once on the ground in Beijing getting through customs was very simple. A stamp on the visa, pick up our luggage (which did arrive) and we met our guides. Very cool.
Beijing is a huge city. Our guide mentioned that about 13 million live in the city, proper, and that the population swells to about 20 million on any given work day. That’s a lot of people! And today we get to move around in the mess of it all. We’re going to the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square (where we’ll see The Gate of Heavenly Peace among other things), and the Great Wall. I’ve linked those so that you can look up their history, if you so desire.
This morning we talked with Jackson, who is doing great by all accounts. The really special part is that we hooked up via the internet for a video conference! We loved seeing our boy, who we already miss, and I think he loved seeing us (as he had about a 2-minute giggle-fest making faces with Daddy). He also thought that the bed in our hotel room looked neat because it has a Dragon-head bedpost design.
Well, for both of us, I’ll sign off and head into our day. Thank you for your prayers and continued support. Check back often as I’ll be updating this site regularly with pictures and our journal.
Reed (and Erin)
PS… Below, you’ll find the update on Jackson’s first day with the Smiths…
Greetings dear brother and sister-in-law!
By the time you read this you will be in China! Amazing. Our thoughts and prayers are with you!
Just wanted to give you a quick update on Jackson’s first day. The day passed so quickly and he did great. He had a good day at preschool – he was “line leader” for his job and seemed happy about that. After preschool we made a quick trip to Costco which went very well. He picked out a big box of the Kraft crackers and cheese for snacks and was excited when he saw how many were inside. He also wanted to get a bag of carrots for Uncle Jeff and that was the first thing he told Jeffrey when we got home. Then he asked “do you know what Uncle Reed told me before he left on his trip?” Jeff said no, and Jackson said that he was supposed to eat lots of Uncle Jeff’s carrots and be sure to have pudding after his lunch…it was very cute. Especially calling you “Uncle Reed” instead of Daddy, Reed!
He wasn’t in the mood to leave to pick up Jenna and Connor from school, so I did have to carry him downstairs and we missed only that one sticker today. But he didn’t get really upset. And he was very talkative with Connor on the way home, Jenna ended up staying after school for a middle school game. Connor asked me quietly if it was ok to talk about Mommy and Daddy to which I said sure. When I went into the post office to get the mail and some stamps I guess they talked quite a bit about your trip. When I got back in, Connor said that he asked Jackson if he missed Mommy and Daddy (which is a question I would have had him avoid, but anyway) to which Jackson replied happily – “A little bit, but they miss me a lot more!” I thought that was so cute.
He got ready for bed well, and did all his stickers and everything. He did not go to the bathroom all day and said he still didn’t need to at bedtime! I said he didn’t have to, but if he chose not to then he would wear a pull-up because we didn’t want his Bob the Builder bed to get wet. He thought about that for a while as he was brushing teeth and such, then he decided he’d rather go to the bathroom. I was glad! And boy I could not believe how long he went. We laughed about it and tomorrow he probably will go more regularly I hope. He fell asleep within minutes and hopefully he’ll sleep well all night.
He seems to have a great understanding of why you are gone, and I’m sure the time apart will be hard, but I really think he’s going to do fine. He liked putting the first sticker on your Trip to China chart, and to be able to see Abigail at the end of the days is a fun reminder of how quickly you and she will be home.
Well, there are many more little details of our day that I’ve probably left out, but I just wanted you to know he had a wonderful first day. I think the most upset he was today was driving home from the airport and he asked for a drink of orange juice. When I reminded him that Mommy had taken the orange juice with her instead of leaving it in the van he was not happy! He’s so funny…after he got over being mad he wanted to know what you would do with the cup on your trip, Erin. He’s so smart, and always thinking! He didn’t think you would want to carry it around all the time on your trip, and you should have left it for him!
Much love to you both. Enjoy your “just the two of you” time before you are united with your beautiful little girl!
The Dragon Bedpost that Jackson likes…
Our Air China 747
Waiting in the concourse at PDX (why the droopy eye, Reed?)
Jackson as we were saying goodbye (he actually did really well…as you read in Cindy’s email).
The last family photo before Abigail…won’t it be great when the four of us can be in one frame?