Mom has a business trip to China? OK. Let's all go!
(This could have also been titled: Taking your 14-month-old on an international business trip- insanity or genius?)
After over 24 hours of travel, we landed in Hong Kong and I thought, “we did it! We actually made it in one piece!”
I got a lot of strange and slightly stunned looks when I first told people I was bringing my 14-month-old with me to China for a press check. I couldn’t understand why. My husband had the vacation time and had never been able to go on press with me before, so why not. We would tack on an extra week to go up to Beijing to do some sightseeing. It sounded like a great plan to me.
As we got closer to departing though, I got more and more nervous. What if he didn’t sleep and freaked out the whole flight? We had never flown more than 6 hours non-stop and we were headed towards a 14.5 hour non-stop flight from San Francisco to Hong Kong, not to mention the flight from Seattle. What if we couldn’t find anything for him to eat once we got there? What if he didn’t sleep at night so I was too exhausted to be productive and actually work? What if, what if, what if? Then I stopped. I reminded myself that we could do this, we had traveled with him before and he was fine, and probably the person who would have the hardest time on the flight was me. I hate to be couped up so long.
The flight was fantastic. As predicted, Dek did better than I did. In fact, it was great to have him along because he got me up and moving much more than I would have traveling solo. The taxi line at the airport was easy and not too expensive (about $40 I think). I went a little overboard on this trip since we had never been overseas with Dek before and I didn’t want to deal with headaches I knew I could avoid, like the train to TST after traveling all day with a now very tired baby (and parents!).
I also planned a bit more than I normally have in the past. For instance, in Hong Kong, I got us a regular hotel room with a queen bed near Kowloon Park. Having read another traveling mom blog, Kids Go Global, while I was pregnant, I knew a park would be nice to have close by for Dek to run around in. I had no idea if it would have swings or slides (I’m still not sure if it did) but at least he could get out of the stroller and run a little without fear of cars hitting him.
When we got to Shenzhen, I knew I would be working until late at night, so I splurged for a suite. This suite was much larger than I could have imagined, having never actually stayed in a suite before or been to this hotel. The printer I work with gets a great discount, so we were able to easily makeup the difference in price a standard room would have cost. Looking back, a regular room probably would have been enough. But I wanted a sanctuary to come home to without waking the baby when I did. Mike enjoyed it because he could still read, have lunch or watch TV while Dek was napping. Mike didn’t have to hide out in the bathroom while he waited for Dek to go to sleep.
Not that you can’t do this in a normal sized hotel room. When we were in Hong Kong, we wore Dek out so much he was just happy to be lying down in a bed and he passed out within minutes. We could still leave a light on to read and I could work. Or we would hide out in the bathroom till he passed out.
In the end, I am so glad we all went and I would do it again. It was wonderful to wake up every morning and have breakfast with my family before I went to work for 12-16 hours hours each day. It was nice to be able to pick up any phone and not worry about the 16 hour time difference when I wanted to talk to my husband. We had already dealt with the time change on my two trips to Singapore before Dek was born. Being on press is very tiring and can be stressful. It’s great to have a friendly voice to talk with and wake up to in the morning.
More on our adventures in China to come.
Note: A press check is when someone goes to a printer and watches a book being printed to make sure the color comes out accurately. They will often make adjustments on press to ensure color accuracy. At least that’s what I do. It can also included supervising the binding of the books. There is more to it than this, but I won’t bore you with the details.