Well, Yikes. It's happening. For reals. China for the first time since 1994 for me, and ever, for E.
My high-end goal of 100 Mandarin lessons before we left? Well, I'm at 11 + a 2-day viewing of a Mandarin movie set in the mainland. Only 68 days left. So, basically, 1.5 lessons a day and I'll be easily in the clear. Right. I hope I can make that happen.
In other news, baring external oddities, I have all the details solidified. Flights, hotels, everything.
Enough to print out everything and fill out the visa applications and try to schedule time to do the rush drop off myself, personally (fail #1 due to too late arrival at the consulate, really hoping #2 will work without trouble).
Oh, except, wait a minute -- today, I got a call from a frantic woman from Delta. It is worth noting that the call came only after E got multiple calls and assured them that I was authorized to make all decisions for both of us. This is particularly impressive given that the trip was booked through my account, on my card. [[Insert standard feminist rant here -- seriously -- I'm annoyed, but too tired to draft anything useful. Eventually, due to E's protestations, they believed him and I was granted phone privileges to modify the entirety of the trip I'd originally booked without his additional consent. How Modern! Once he'd told them to fuck off and deal with me, of course, they started calling me every 15 minutes. Let it not be said that the privileges of power do not come with strings...]].
So, China Eastern had canceled one of the important connecting flights of our trip and they wanted to rebook us. Only the lay-over we were to have went from 2+ hours in Shanghai to 6+ hours. Ummm.....have I mentioned that E is not a good flyer? I can sleep anywhere. E, not so much. So, I exercised my wife-given powers and made an executive decision. We are now staying the night in Shanghai after landing (to get some non-plane-sleep) before the 2 hour last flight leg to Beijing. (I would like to weigh in here and say that booking China Eastern through Delta was a stroke of brilliance because my Gold status on Delta is, no doubt, the only reason we got the call and I suspect we otherwise would have either (i) gotten an email I likely wouldn't have noticed, because all commercial emails (even travel, sadly) go to my spam account; or (ii) more likely, just had to deal with it at check-in. Yuck!)
Anyways. With 68 days left, I'm still gallantly trying to beat the 100 lesson challenge. I'm at 11/100 today. So with 68 days, it's really not even 1.5 each day. And, as a matter of pride, I think I'm going to do my best to do this one!