Our departure from Taipei was not without incident. My father-in-law’s car is not particularly large, and most cars struggle with two carseats, not to mention five large pieces of luggage and 6 people.
When we arrived, we’d managed to cram it all in the car, but Irene’s mother didn’t meet us at the airport. For our departure, she had to come see us off and so we needed another car. Once again Mr. Huang 2 came to the rescue, and we split the luggage, the kids and the in-laws over two cars. Michelle and grandma travelled with Mr. Huang 2, while Irene, James, I and most of the luggage drove with grandpa.
We arrived at the airport before them and lined up our luggage in the check-in line that wasn’t open yet. There were already 8 to 10 luggage carts in front of us and the lines tend to get very long, so we parked and waited. Irene, carrying all our documentation, went back to her father to pick up James. Meanwhile, I noticed that the line was scheduled to open in under 5 minutes. Knowing (and respecting) Singapore Air, I suspected they’d open exactly at the scheduled time.
Irene came back, but Mr. Huang 2 hadn’t shown up yet with Michelle or the rest of our luggage. She called them and they were lost. Just then the line opened. Six windows opened simultaneously and suddenly there were only 4 carts in front of us, and the line was moving quickly.
Irene stresses about the packing, the flight, the farewells, the kids… I stress about reaching the window and saying, “Uh, we’re not actually ready to check in, we’re missing a daughter and two pieces of check-in luggage.”
We reached the counter quickly and explained the situation. It didn’t phase them and we were going through our paperwork when Mr. Huang 2 and the calvary arrived, just in the nick of time.
We passed some time in the airport “snack bar” which has previously always been closed, and I ordered my last meal in Chinese on this trip. A “French Bacon Sandwich” at Starbucks. It was appalling!
Farewells were more painless than usual and we were through immigrations.
Inside the terminal, there was actually a children’s playground where Michelle started happily playing. She was alone at first, but then another half white/half Chinese child about here age, perhaps older came to play. Michelle immediately started asking her to play with her, in Chinese, but the little girl never responded.
At first I thought the girl might not be Chinese at all and didn’t understand Michelle. Then her mother came over, who was obviously Chinese, but when she called her to leave, she called in broken English. Apparently the girl couldn’t understand Chinese. What a shame. It’s so much easier to learn languages at that age, and if they don’t they’ll just end up struggling forever like I am.
I’m writing this now on the flight. There’s still no Internet, but the flight is over 50% empty and there’re plenty of room. I’ve moved into a row of my own and have space to open the computer and work.
Even with the room, two kids makes a bit of a hassle, especially for Irene.
The flight is not about 9 hours in, I’ve finished watching Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Fantastic Four, War of the Worlds and Batman Begins. I suppose as a quadruple-billing, that’s not too bad. It’s also about the time I’d be waking up in Taipei, but it is 5:30PM back home.
I haven’t had much sleep, but the kids have slept nearly the whole flight. When we get home, I suspect they’re not going to want to go to bed.
This the third time I’m trying to write this and every-time I break out the computer, we hit turbulence. Sure enough, as I type this the signs have come on.