So it's 3am. I'm not exactly sure what day. All I know is that I am home at East End Avenue with my baby and my man sleeping in the other room. I wish I could say the same for me, but since jet lag has gotten the better of me, I thought I'd fill in the last piece of my puzzle in traveling from Hanoi back home.
On my last day in Hanoi, I finally got the interview at the US embassy. They made me sweat it out to the last minute of business hours that day leaving me panicked that I would not get Phoebe's Visa stamped in time to fly out the next morning. When It finally came through, a wave of relief washed over me. I was done. Finally fucking done. Now all I needed to do was get this kid home. Somehow, I was going to have to fly for 24 hours with a 5 month old by myself from Hanoi to Hong Kong to JFK.
We made the 2 hour trip to Hong Kong without much problem. One flight down, one to go. I planned to meet my friend Punam in the airport in HK, only to find out at immigration that my 5 month old needed a Visa to enter Hong Kong. An hour later in the immigration office, they canceled my stamp and told me to just transit thru the airport. Bummer. I would really have liked to see Punam. She somehow managed to send a package to my boarding gate of a beautiful blanket for Phoebe. Thanks Punam!
My next misadventure was a bit more nerve wracking. I paid to use one of the lounges in the HK airport where you get food and use of the internet etc. The only problem was (bizarrely) they had no bathroom inside. So I asked some nice chinese guys to watch my stuff and ventured out down the hall with Phoebe in my arms. (yes, I have mastered going to the bathroom whilst holding the baby). When I got back, my black rolling case with nothing of value in it but ALL of Phoebe's documentation was gone. I went from 0-to-heart failure in 20 seconds flat. After asking everyone around in a ever widening panic, a nice Australian woman told me she thought she saw a little boy rolling a black case into the other room. There it was. Not stolen, just rolled away. I got Phoebe and our stuff together and headed out to our gate. Too freaked out to stop moving forward.
Believe it or not, the 15 hour flight from HK to JFK went fairly well. Thanks to Phoebe. When she was awake, she charmed everyone around us with her smile, then at about 2 hours past her regular bedtime, she went down into one of the bassinets provided by Cathay Pacific and was out for a good 8 hours. What a champ! We had a bit of turbulence- which scared the hell out of me- and an hour delay when we arrived on the runway in NYC. Another visit to Immigration with her paper work, another hour at baggage and then there were Jeff and my Dad waiting as we came through customs. What a vision they were!!! One more hour of traffic on the perpetually clogged Van Wyck Expressway (at midnight!) a stop up the block on East End to see Grandma who couldn't wait until the morning to kiss us both and we were home. How good it was to see my place- our place now- filled with notes and presents from friends and family. I can hardly believe I'm here as I write this. What a journey this has been.
The baby has no idea what time zone she's in- but that's to be expected. We're home, safe and happy and that's all that matters. Will write with more updates and post more pictures soon. Lots of Love to you all. xoxox nancy