This week was an absolutely crazy one that did not go at all how we planned!
We were awakened Monday morning by a phone call from Chrissy informing us that Mike was in the hospital having his appendix removed! Mitch spent a lot of class time fixing flights for him so that he hopefully can join us next week. I tried to put together a mini concert program for Chrissy on Thursday when she would be coming to class. After that we finished cleaning our apartment, put more money on the cell phone and air card and packed.
We got up early and headed for the airport. We arrived in Beijing and booked a hotel for the night. As we were checking in we received a phone call from Chrissy saying that due to mechanical issues with the plane and the Tokyo curfew she was stranded in Portland until the next morning. Unfortunately the flight they’d booked her for from Tokyo to Beijing put her arriving too late for us to catch the flight that we’d booked back to Hohhot. So she found a slightly earlier flight and we changed our tickets to Wednesday night instead of Wednesday morning. We found a Subway for lunch and then met up with with Serge and Nova (who happened to be in Beijing for the week visiting Serge) and they took us to the Silk Street Pearl Market. We made some unplanned purchases and I got to enjoy seeing Mitch stretch his bargaining muscles. After that we treated Nova and Serge to dinner at TGYFriday’s which was quite tasty. It was good to test them out on mostly American food. They should be able to survive if they actually do get to come visit us next year.
We returned to Subway for lunch again and then headed to a long street in Beijing for some more souvenir shopping with Nova and Serge and while enjoying some gelato we discovered that Chrissy had not been allowed on the earlier flight to Beijing. So we called Hannah teacher and told her that we wouldn’t be back for class Thursday morning and changed our flights once more to Thursday evening. We waited for her flight to arrive at the Beijing airport but after circling for an hour they had to head back to Japan because of severe thunderstorms. Mitch and I had already put a deposit down on a five star hotel to try and treat Chrissy special so we headed there for the night. It was such a rip-off.
We left the hotel early that morning and began our camp out in the airport. Her flight was scheduled to arrive at noon and at noon they said the new arrival time was 2:40. When her plane finally landed at 3:32 we could hardly believe it! It took another hour for her to make it out to us and while we waited we received the message that our flight to Hohhot had been canceled. In fact all flights from the airport were canceled the the people freaked out! The crowd of people at Air China counter made the front page. After discussing the pros and cons of trying to take a train out instead, then finding out that they were completely booked as well we headed back to the hotel for another night. My amazing husband got us a flight for 10:55 AM which we thought would get us back with plenty of time to get ready for Ann’s wedding which she’d asked us to perform at. And with a surprisingly awake Chrissy we hotel hopped until we were satisfied. We also got to treat her to her first Chinese meal which was actually quite like the first meal that Mitch and I had in Beijing. Oh that famous Peking duck!
We made it to the airport in plenty of time and with just a minor gate change everything seemed to be going somewhat smoother. That is until we found out that Ann’s wedding was supposed to start at 1. Our flight was schedule to land at 12:05 and even being one minute early wasn’t going to help much. We flew back to our apartment and frantically threw on semi-decent clothes. I splashed on some make-up and Mitch uploaded my karaoke track of “Someone Like You” to my iPod. We didn’t grab his viola because Ann said that they had a violin there for him to use (who knew that Ann’s idea of a VIOLIN was actually a PIANO). Despite our hurrying we were about 45 minutes late and the whole ceremony was over (although having been to another wedding this wasn’t such a big deal). We were shuffled onstage to give them flowers and to say a few words (which no one else could understand and really seemed like it was just an excuse for Ann to show off that she can speak english so well with the Americans). After a desperate attempt to get the iPod hooked into the sound system I took the stage. Now in the Chinese culture, when it comes time to sing at weddings it is an absolute MUST that everyone hear everything so well that if the first ten rows have to go deaf because of the volume, well that’s just a sacrifice that they’d better be willing to make. The piercing quality of the soloists is actually pretty amazing. I had a headache within the first five minutes. Well, anyways, it being my turn and I, knowing how to pull the microphone away from my mouth a little when going for the high belt notes, prepared to give the inattentive crowd the best performance I could. The tech guy was very concerned about my performance. I kept pulling the microphone away and the sound was just not completely blowing people out of their seats so he kept increasing the volume! So I kept pulling the mic away and he kept turning it up! The feedback became an almost constant companion! I did get applauded after the first verse, second verse, halfway through the last chorus and twice during the last line. Oh, and I got handed a bouquet of flowers right before the dramatic key chain (I was half expecting that thought--it’s fairly traditional to do that here). We couldn’t quite stomach staying there for all the rest of the nothing that was going to take place so we claimed that Chrissy needed a rest and booked it out of there.
So here we are! Chirssy is in Hohhot and the week is almost over!