The airport offered free coffee and off I flew to DC to catch a connecting flight. I had a long layover in DC which offered time to put my foot up (broken last month) and call my family. A kind gentleman from South Africa and we had a nice chat. He prayed over my foot and I have to admit that within minutes the pain and swelling lessened. (Blessing) I love traveling and people watching when you can meet and interact with such diverse people. Little moments of conversation waiting for a plane can really be interesting.
My flight to San Francisco was on time and I had a window seat! I was able to capture a few glimpses of the country below once the cloud cover diminished around Colorado. (Granted I may have slipped in about an hour of shut eye!)
Arriving in San Francisco I was starting to feel the hours of travel and the need for a nap. I got a message on my cell that my checked bag arrived on an earlier flight (wish I had been on that flight!). I sadly had an fall on my sore foot in the bathroom where I smashed my phone screen in my backpack. Ugh. My mind was reeling on how to fix it prior to China as I made my way to the baggage claim area to claim my luggage and meet some of the other travelers. The young lady from New York who is our US-China relations contact meet me with a smile at the baggage area. My first meetings were sadly a bit distracted as I quickly searched through cracked glass to find a way to repair my phone. Gradually our departure group to head to the Vallombrosa Retreat Center and our orientation location all arrived and off we went! During the transport I was able to contact ICracked.com to get repair service to drive to meet me at the center and they arrived later that evening. (Whew.)
The Vallombrosa center is beautiful! We checked in and I was able walk around some of the gardens for a few minutes. Our agenda for the evening started at 5pm with a Reception followed by dinner at 6pm. (My phone was able to be repaired during the reception in about 30 minutes!) We had an initial group orientation at 7pm where we were reunited with our passport that included my Chinese Visa. People this is REALLY happening! The night concluded with the movie "Please Vote for Me" (watch it- great documentary showing kids learning about democracy). After 22 hours of travel sleep called to be ready for day two of learning!