Japan & China, Day 10 and the Aftershocks

Day 10 began our long day of traveling back to the US. Of course, I began the day with one last hearty pancake breakfast, but we also picked up a tea egg and a bowl of noodles to sample something a little more local. <I'll stick with pancakes.>
We got picked up around 10:30 AM to be dropped off at the airport. It took an hour and a half to get there - in ideal traffic conditions, it probably shouldn't have been much more than a half hour. The airport was crowded and the process to get checked in and through security seemed really inefficient. There were seemingly mandatory pat-downs. Our flight was at 2:00 PM, but by the time we were clear, we didn't have any time free to shop or eat like I'd hoped. Our flight was already boarding by the time we got to the gate. Since we were going to the US, there was another security checkpoint to board the airplane. Francisco was just about to buy a bottle of water when the thoughtful cashier mentioned that we would have to dispose of it before boarding.  
The flight home was kind of weird just because we were leaving China at 2:00 PM and arriving in LA at 11:00 AM, so effectively traveling back in time? While the sun was out for the duration of the 12-hour flight, we still needed to try to sleep. I think I had even less luck with that than I had had on the flight TO China. I dozed a little bit, but I ended up watching Big Bang Theory and reading to pass the time because sleep was hard coming.

After arriving in LA, we walked over to the Southwest terminal and checked in for our 2:00 PM flight to Denver. We grabbed some pizza at California Pizza Kitchen while we waited for our flight to begin boarding. The flight was very crowded, so we were glad we'd purchased the Early Bird Boarding passes.  A little over 2 hours later, and we were in Denver by 6:00 PM. We had a short lay-over here - only until ~7:00, but all of the Southwest flights were delayed. We looked and felt exhausted, and any delay just felt like torture, even if it was only like 20 minutes.

Finally, we boarded for the LAST FLIGHT!! We were scheduled to arrive in Dayton at 11:30 PM, but with the delay, it was definitely much closer to midnight. Even though we were like the only arriving flight at this time, there was a delay in getting the luggage transported to the baggage claim, which was driving me crazy. Finally, FINALLY, luggage in hand, we boarded the shuttle to take us to the parking lot. Dayton is about an hour's drive from Cincinnati, so we were in the home stretch!

We greeted our kitties, showered, and passed out in bed around 2:30 AM. Considering we probably woke up around 6:00 AM Beijing time on Saturday, which would be 6:00 PM Eastern time on Friday, and we weren't asleep until after 2:00 AM early Sunday morning, that was around 32 hours with very, very minimal rest. I was EXHAUSTED. So, it was no surprise that Francisco ended up coming in to check on me around 3:30 in the afternoon on Sunday.
I think they missed us!
I woke up for a few hours, ate a couple slices of pizza, then we went to bed around 8:00 that night. I slept for an hour, briefly woke up, then slept for another 2 hours, and then, I was just done. Try as I might, I could not fall back asleep. Around 1:00 AM, I made myself a peanut butter and jelly English muffin. Laid in bed for a few more hours. Francisco usually gets up around 4:00 AM to start his day, so I ended up getting up to go eat breakfast and spend some time with him before he headed out to work. I did a little bit of work from home then finally took a nap around mid-late morning. I had anticipated being jet-lagged, so I wasn't planning to go back to work till Tuesday. Sadly, Monday night was more bad sleeping, so I was still very tired come Tuesday morning.

I felt very ill and half the time, I wondered if I was even safe to be functioning in the real world. I apparently do not do very well with sleep deprivation. It felt like the ground was literally moving beneath me, and I was becoming half-convinced that there were mini-earthquakes in the Midwest, and I was among the very few detecting them because I was so sensitive to the vibrations given my heightened sensitivity. Haha.  But seriously. And I kept hearing random bagpipe music. I was all kinds of messed up for a while, and I was just trying to get through each day the best I could.

The saying for jet lag is 'west is best, east is a beast'. With China being exactly a 12-hour time difference, it's no wonder I felt so topsy-turvy coming home. Plus, I read that those with a set sleep schedule fare worse with jet lag. I generally stick to a regular schedule to manage my mild insomnia, plus I am just such a sensitive sleeper, in general. I love traveling, but the recovery definitely takes a lot out of me!


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