Sunday, December 27, 2015

We made it!!

9 check-in bags, 4 carry-ons, 3 backpacks, 2 adults, 1 child and 1 not-so-happy cat - we have finally made the big move from Suzhou to Peoria!! The flight was oh-so-long - so grateful for the Economy Plus - amazing what a big difference an extra 5 inches of leg-space can make!! Sunny had the hardest time, I think - he just would not calm down - and don't know if in 3 years if he has grown bigger, or the flights have gotten better - but he was so very loud!! I'm surprised none of our co-passengers complained - I know I was really glad to get off that plane!!

Actually, last couple of weeks have been pretty hectic - we had a lot of travel going on, one thing going wrong, and we would have had quite the domino effect on our hands!! Last day in school was quite emotional - both for Manasi and me - but we were on a flight to India before we really had time to process!! This India trip was probably one of our shortest ever - a mere 6 nights - but we managed to pack quite the punch in - quality time with family, lunch (and dinner) with friends, shopping, Happy Street (more about this later), a movie in the theater, eating at favorite restaurants, drove to Mumbai, attended a wedding - whew!!

In the midst of all this activity, I was really pleased to receive regular WeChat updates from our ayi and our driver about Sunny. I had been really anxious about leaving him this time - no furniture, new ayi and most important, the vet visit for his health certificate! Huge load off when the driver reported everything went ok, and sent me a picture of the certificate as well!! And before we knew it, we were back at the Mumbai airport for our flight back to Shanghai - as a special treat, we splurged and upgraded to Business class!! So totally worth it - completely flat beds with plush comforters, gourmet meals with smoothies, magazines - I could definitely get used to this - you listening, Ajey??!!

Back in China, we finally hit what would be our final (touch wood!) hiccup!! Trying to call the driver - neither of our phones would work. Ok, maybe no balance - surprising, considering that we had recharged before we left - but not impossible!! Next, tried to connect to the free airport WiFi - now this is definitely one of my pet peeves with all major airports - the WiFi needs a code messaged to your phone - if I had a working phone, would I be needing free WiFi?!! Anyway, tried again and again - but no message. Quite confused by this time!!

Luckily, the driver showed up soon after - and we were on the way back to Suzhou - letting our family know that we had landed safely, would have to wait until we reached home - or so we thought!! No such luck - none of our devices - iPads, computers, phones - were able to connect to our network. Tried rebooting and rebooting again - but nothing!! The landline? - nothing there too. So no phones, no internet - we were completely out of touch with the rest of the world!! And then, Manasi's iPod was magically online - at the very least, we were able to FaceTime our parents before going to bed!!

No magic there - Manasi' iPod was connecting to our neighbor's WiFi - she plays there all the time, and has their password saved!! So, thanks, Bs and sorry about inadvertently stealing your WiFi!! And our service? - well, JRE very helpfully terminated both our cell phone service, and our internet - a week before we were to leave China - without so much as a by-your-leave!! This prompt alacrity is even more ironic considering that in the last 3 odd years, they have been on time for nothing - every single thing we needed help with, we had had to ask multiple times and listen to numerous excuses. And now this - the final touch!! For the last time (again, touch wood!) in China - Aaargh!!!

We did put our last day in Suzhou to good use, though!! We still had money on our card from Dragonfly Spa - last chance to finish that off - and I also had my FoD gift vouchers!! And it's a good thing we went - we hadn't realized just how much money was on that card!! First thing, hot stone massages for Ajey and me - while Manasi indulged herself with a mani-pedi. Not quite done - our personal favorites next - foot massage for me, head massage for Ajey!! We came out feeling quite light-headed, and relaxed to the bone!! Ready for the long flight tomorrow!!

Next morning, our helpful JRE agent showed up with our landlord for the final walk-through. Of course, no apologies for the phone/internet snafu - and she had the gall to suggest that we should have called the Nestle people to cancel our water service. Hmmm, yes, of course, we should have called him - except that we had no phone service, remember, no thanks to you!!! And then they just waited in our living room, watching us finish packing, looking at our suitcases - Ajey finally asked them to leave and they still wouldn't!! What was up with that??!!

Finally, our last time to drive from Suzhou to Pudong airport! We got to the airport with plenty of time to spare - which was a good thing, considering how much luggage we had! It still felt quite unreal - just couldn't get it to sink in that this was probably the last time we would fly out of this airport!! One interminably long flight later, we were back in our old stomping grounds - O'Hare in Chicago - where surprise, surprise, temperature was a comfortable 16degC!! We had hired a taxi to drive us to Peoria - no hassle with renting and loading a car at the airport - and were soon checked in at the Residence Inn!! Finally, we're back in Peoria, folks!!


  1. 😊 glad you got there safe and sound xx

  2. Glad you reached safe, and all the best to your move to Peoria! Looking forward to your posts from there :)

    xoxo - Style.. A Pastiche -