*URGENT PRAYER REQUEST* due to a computer glitch in Washington DC, no visas were issued today by the US Consulate here in China (or anywhere in the world for that matter). Families who intended to travel home today with their children are currently grounded/stranded here until further notice. We cannot leave the country until Marianna and Joseph have the necessary visas to enter the US. Please pray that the glitch can be fixed quickly and we can make our flights home on Friday.
You know it’s been a long trip when you are counting down the hours – not days – until you are home, even if it’s multiple days until that blessed moment.
We touch down at Washington Dulles in just a little over 54 hours. And what a hallelujah moment that will be! Between now and then we have 1 more night here in Guangzhou and then take a van (actually two vans for a group our size + luggage) tomorrow afternoon to Hong Kong where we will spend one last night at an airport hotel before checking into our flights home Friday morning. Our first flight will take us 4 1/2 hours to Tokyo and from there the remaining 13 hours to Washington DC.
Pray for us? And for our fellow passengers who will be within earshot of M&J. Both are screechers.
The past couple of days have been considerably more relaxed than the rest of the trip has been thus far. After the babies’ visa medical exams on Monday, we had little to do besides enjoy some time poolside and even got some shopping done at a local pearl market.
From there, we took a taxi (actually we had to squeeze our family into two taxis–I am L’ingOL at that) to Shamian Island, a quaint little isle adjacent to Guangzhou with tree lined, cobblestoned streets, a plethora of little shops and cafes and dozens of bronze statues–the whole place had a decidedly European flair.
Today (Wednesday) was the big day at the US Consulate. I wish we had been permitted to bring cameras because I wanted so much to capture the beautiful sight of our American flag waving in the breeze. For all our country’s problems, there is nothing quite as comforting (or emotional) as seeing one’s flag displayed proudly on the compound and stepping on “US soil” when you are so far from home. The throng of people outside the Consulate was overwhelming and intimidating. I’m guessing they were all Chinese in line to apply for travel to the US. But our guide navigated us through the US Citizen line in a matter of seconds and right up to the door that lead to the blessedly air-conditioned building.
Inside, we swore an oath (something to the effect that we are who we say we are, we understand what we are doing and promise to vaccinate the children upon entry into the US) got fingerprinted (for the billionth time) and were on our way. The visas are currently being processed for Marianna and Joseph and will be placed into their Chinese passports which will be available tomorrow afternoon.* At that point, we will be FREE to leave the country with all 5 of our children.
When we returned to the hotel, we took pictures of our travel group. Allow me to introduce you to some of the most beautiful people I’ve ever met:
Our bags are already packed. We are ready to go home. Two more sleeps!