the 600 mile wedding adventure… {wordy}

{on several occasions i tried to post part 1 (of 4) of our trip. but alas i surrendered to the size limitations on my wordpress account (while kicking myself for not compressing the images in my previous post) and chose instead to post my personal journal of the 1st half of our trip. for those of you who have visited the east side, i hope you find this very wordy post humorous and maybe even a bit nostalgic.}

the day of our departure was normal enough. we didn’t forego our routine until bath time, which was not followed immediately by bed time, but jammers then outwear on.

we then headed out the door with our large suitcase, a bag of food, our paranoid backpack, and two sprouts, one thankfully, in the ergo.

because of all our gear we opted to take a taxi… which only got us ½ the distance to the train station as the station is under massive renovation and parking anywhere near it, even for a quick drop off warrants a ticket.

so we walked the remainder of the way. again thankful for the ergo but frustrated that we didn’t factor in the need for both of them.

the temporary station filled with people – many of whom appeared to be migrant workers took me back to when we first adopted sterling. and all those train rides we took those first two weeks he was in our care, and literally on my chest. all that patting. all that holding. and that overwhelming feeling that they were letting us leave with him.

no documentation necessary.

no need to prove that he belonged to us, or in our care.

just a few curious eyes at the marvel of international adoption. but no raised eyebrows.

and that remembrance, and the fact that the station is filled with people coming and going.

filled with people with no documentation made me hold onto sterling very tightly.

and though jarod is also well aware of the dangers of a small child being “lost” in such a crowded, busy place he tried to comfort me.

“at least he’s wearing a bright red mohawk winter hat.”

to which i quickly responded, “… that can easily be removed.”

and nothing else needed to be said.

believe me, it’s times like those that i’m so very grateful that sterling clings to us and announces to everyone in our vicinity that we are “mama” and “dada”. though he doesn’t know it, his actions serve as a warning to all within hearing. because what he does know is that we’re his, and he belongs to us.

once we boarded the train we were again thankful that we were able to get tickets for the “family style” sleeper train. 2 bunk beds in an enclosed room. in this part of the world they actually call it “soft sleeper” but no one knows why as the beds aren’t any softer.

it wasn’t long after we closed our door and began getting ourselves settled for the 16 hour ride that we heard a knock on our door. one of our “neighbors” wanted to see liberty and literally made herself welcome in our “train home”. it took a lot of self control not to explain our situation to her… but even without the words i think she quickly began to understand that my lack of communication meant we needed our space. it’s always nice when i’m able to pull this off with a smile.

we then went about setting up liberty’s bed. and because i haven’t raved (on here) enough about it i will take a moment to share the secret to our travel success with you now. it’s called a pea pod and it’s amazingly portable. in fact, it fits inside a backpack. in all honesty i wanted one when i was pregnant with liberty but the price tag was out of our range. interestingly enough, when she was 10 months old we received one third hand and i have to confess that though the price tag is high, it’s well worth the investment.

because we’ve used in on multiple occasions, including sunday’s when we’re usually away from home during liberty’s first nap, she happily and readily went to sleep inside the peapod at 9 pm. and the beauty of her having her own space? she didn’t wake up until 6:30!

now if only we could have introduced it to sterling back when he was a baby!

just as amazing as the peapod was liberty’s intense exhaustion.

what i didn’t expect was the constant loud stops we made through the night. there was several hours that i think we stopped at 30 minute intervals. the sway of the train would stop. the door would slam open. the platform ramp would be dropped into place. then people would board – talking and laughing as if the doors made the sleeping compartments sound proof. i assure you they were anything but.

however, because of liberty’s exhaustion she slept through it all!!!

and jarod and i were praising dad the entire time.

sterling, however, was a completely different story.

which seems to be the typical story.

sterling couldn’t sleep. my guess is the combination of excitement and fear ran potent amounts of adrenaline and cortisone through his system. and so at 11 pm i finally gave up, got up and laid with him on his bed in hopes of getting him to be still long enough to fall asleep. there was no question in my mind concerning his degree of exhaustion. as he tried to comfort me i finally put two and two together and realized that he was in fact feeling fearful or anxious. eventually he was able to fall asleep. and just as he did the train came to a stop and obnoxiously loud noises filled our tiny compartment again. it was a long time before he was able to stay asleep.

we woke up at 6:30. eventually liberty and i took a short morning nap. then, i guess because jarod had mercy on me for staying up with sterling most of the night he entertained the sprouts so that i could get another 45 minutes in. interesting how a nap can save the day!

we arrived at our destination at 11:22 precisely and made our way out of the station. we then had to wait a little while for our friends to retrieve us. we desperately wanted to go straight to the hotel so we could shower. if you’ve ever been on an overnight train in asia, then i’m sure you can understand our sentiments. unfortunately, as is typically the case, our friends had a few opposing ideas in mind. and one of those ideas was taking us and a whole slew of people who arrived about the same time we did to a “quick lunch”. unless you’re talking about mcdonalds or kfc, here on the east side, there is no such thing as quick being associated with lunch! and as is typical, because they were transporting us, we were obligated to oblige.

thankfully the food was good and the sprouts did amazingly well on our detour. in usual fashion, liberty became the “pass around baby doll” and in unusual fashion sterling became smitten with the bride to be and quickly won over her favor which included several trips to see various sights. like fish and a stuffed bird, prominently displayed in the restaurant.

at 2:30 we finally made it to our hotel.

where once again we were surprised. we had requested we stay at a cheap chain hotel that we knew had suites. but where we and our bags landed was a typical east side hotel that not only didn’t have any suites available (all of us in the same room 3 nights in a row, oh my!) and appeared to be lacking in the heat and heated water department as well.

after putting the whole family to bed for a one hour nap we woke up to a still freezing room and to still freezing water coming out of the faucet.

with a bit of investigation we discovered that several of the widows were cracked open, causing all the precious (just warm, not hot) heat to escape and that the hot water would be turned on at 8 pm. oh! when i investigated further about our water situation they assured me it would be on until 4 am. sarcastically i couldn’t help but think “how generous!” – but then i was reminded to be thankful that we would have hot water at all.

then we had to prepare for obligation #2. in their kindness and way-too-big-faith in us our friends, on the eve of their wedding, made plans for us to teach a group of young parents how to raise their children.

interestingly enough, when they showed up 15 minutes earlier to the departure time sterling was in full-on melt-down mode. deciding it was best to contain the melt-down the sprouts and i stayed in the still chilly hotel room awaiting daddy’s return and the luxury of hot water.

poor jarod, as if he wasn’t exhausted (and smelly) enough!

as seems to be the way of nature when it comes to sterling, the more tired he is, the more he disobeys (duh) but also the more he fights sleep. seriously amazed and totally and completely frustrated by his ability to fight against this otherwise natural process!

because i was hoping sterling would make up for lots and lots of lost sleep i put the sprouts to bed at 6:30, hoping they’d have adequate time to wind down and maybe fall asleep between 7 and 7:30. liberty, who was the least sleep deprived of all of us, fell asleep at 7. but even now, at 8:30 sterling continues his battle against the forces of shut eye.

it’s not officially 8:55and i’ve learned a couple of things. our room is never going to warm up to the point that it doesn’t require my sleeping in my super thick thermals, the water is never going to go beyond “luke” as in “luke warm” ’cause there’s nothing warm about it, and jarod’s not going to return from his speaking engagement by 8:30, as promised.

in the midst of these disappointments i’ve appreciated the fact that time (& persistence) can be my ally as sterling did eventually fall asleep and a quick spray with “luke” water and a change of clothes does my body a lot of good!

jarod arrived at 9:30.

already so much has happened and the big day is still patiently awaiting us!

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