Saturday, February 23, 2013

Getting from There to Here

Getting ready to go through security in the Atlanta Airport.
Every time I would think about traveling internationally with two small children, I would feel a little sick to my stomach.  I knew that once we reached our destination all of the troubles of getting there would diminish, but I was not looking forward to the actual traveling portion.  As the day for us to board the plane finally arrived, we met it with a mixture of emotions: apprehension over the many aspects of traveling that we knew would be out of our control, excitement for the fun things to come and how we would grow as a family and as individuals, sadness for the family and friends we would miss over the many months away, and these are just to name a few. 
We packed and pared down, repacked and pared down even more, and then repacked and pared down as much as we could in order to fit all that we thought we would need for the next year in 2 suitcases and a pack.   We arrived at the airport without much trouble and made it through security checks fairly easily.  After waiting for about 45 minutes at our terminal we were told that our airplane was struck by lightning upon landing and would not be flying again any time soon.  Thankfully, British Airways put us up in the Hilton with many food vouchers to hold us over until another flight left the next evening.  We (really Bobby) made sure we used every penny of allotted to us.  He ordered 4 dinners for our first night at Hilton but since me and the kids were exhausted (and rightfully so, it was midnight or later), he ended up grazing on his own. He even stocked up on nuts and snacks in the airport for our first week in Paris. He is definitely resourceful!
Since we were squeezed onto another flight, I did not get the promised cot for Liam, which was disappointing.  In all the waiting and changing planes and connecting flights and shuttles and taxi drives, our children were amazing and very adaptable.  They both slept when they needed to and didn’t complain for all the craziness of being “off” of their schedule.   I saw firsthand the importance of setting the mood for the kids.  If I remained calm and chill about the inconveniences then they did too.  I also learned it’s the little things that make it fun.  Having a dum-dum for take-offs was a highlight for both kids.  Allowing the freedom to run in the airport helped not having the urge to run when on the airplane.  Having 4 different outfits for Barbie keeps a little girl occupied for a LONG time.  I also learned that the actual traveling part was not as dismal as I imagined it could be. 
We missed our connecting flight in London so we had to sit around for a couple hours in the Heathrow Airport waiting to get to Paris.  When we arrived in Paris, we had planned to take the Metro to our apartment but we were both so exhausted that we decided to splurge on a taxi.  Wow, are we so glad that we did!  The combination of being rush hour, the many stairs to climb up and down with luggage and kids, and not being totally familiar with our route I think could have made for a miserable experience.  Our taxi ride on the other hand, was very smooth and easy and didn't cost all that much more than what it would have been to ride the Metro.  Sanda, the owner of the apartment we are renting, met us with hot chicken rice soup.  It was absolutely perfect as we were starving and did not have the energy to think about where we were going to get food. After our tour of the apartment we were excited to finally be able to rest.  
Liam waiting for the shuttle to the Hilton at midnight.
Liam napping in the airport while Bobby and I did school work.  Since we had to check out of our hotel at 1 p.m. but our flight didn't leave until 8:45 p.m., we had some time to kill.  Thank goodness for WiFi so we could stay caught up on our jobs! Amelie made herself a pallet of jackets and played for hours on her own.

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