Monday, January 20, 2014

We're Making It

Well, we made it. In case you missed it, we finished up our time in the States, packed everything up and headed to the airport.

Us and our twenty pieces of luggage. Yes, that's right TWENTY.
6 trunks
4 suitcases
3 duffel bags
2 car seats
1 double jogging stroller and
4 carry on pieces

It took us nearly an hour and a half just to check in because our carry on bags were over the weight limit and I had to run into the terminal buy a new piece of luggage and run back out to lessen all of our loads. Then that new piece of luggage was checked in also. Whew!

I have NEVER had my hand luggage/carry on pieces weighed. EVER. And, because of that, we always make our carry on pieces the heaviest/densest things. We fill it with our computers, cords, hard drives, Bibles, books, and Ian's heavy shoes (ha!).

We made it through security rather easily and took the tram out to our departing terminal. There we stopped for a quick Burger King dinner (because nothing says "I'm about to sit on an airplane for 9 hours. Twice." Like fast food, right?) and got to our gate with only a couple of minutes to spare. We both got bathroom breaks then the gate called for any strollers so Ian had to take ours down.

(sidenote, when we bought our awesome double jogging stroller in August I had found a bag to put it in to protect it during travel, but didn't buy it. Fast forward four months later and that bag was DISCONTINUED! I couldn't find a bag anywhere, after three hours of searching online, that would fit our dimensions so I had to have a bag custom made. Ridiculous.)

Almost immediately our gate started loading and we made our way down the aisles with four carry on pieces and two car seats. We got the car seats installed pretty easily then settled in. The plan was to just occupy the girls with the stuff around them for the first hour, get them in their pajamas, do the night time routine, and have them go to sleep shortly after the meal service was over.

Well, an hour in the meal service hadn't even started so we went ahead with the plan and the girls were asleep within half an hour. Sophia slept for almost 3 hours in her carseat and then woke up disoriented and I was able to get her back asleep on my chest. Grace slept for 5 or 6 hours and then both girls were up for the last hour and a half or so of the flight.

We landed in Frankfurt, Germany, where we have missed a connection before and hoofed our way through the airport (without our stroller since it had been checked all the way to Abu Dhabi) and made it to our gate with only five minutes to spare! We got loaded on the next plane, let the girls eat during the meal service, and then tried to get them to nap. They both napped for about two 30 minute naps but that was it. The rest of the time was us keeping them quiet with toys and TV. It wasn't the best but it wasn't the worst either.

We landed in Abu Dhabi around 10 pm, went through immigration, and collected our luggage. We actually got flagged in the "nothing to declare" line because of how many bags we had, and, of course, my bag was the one they chose to open. Nothing like landing in a restrictive, conservative, Arab country only to have your bag with your unmentionables opened by a male guard. Luckily he was as embarrassed as me and had the female guard open it up and search it. Of all the bags, that was the only one they searched!

We got two taxi vans, loaded up our stuff, and made the 20 minute drive out to our hotel apartment. It was past midnight by the time we had checked in, got all of our bags up to a room, switched to a non smoking room, and got the girls beds set up.

My mind's a little foggy but I'm pretty sure we all slept until almost nine AM that morning, only waking to pull Grace into bed with us when she woke up disoriented.

We spent the next four days just hanging out in Abu Dhabi, seeing old friends, moving our luggage to our friends' houses, and getting over jet lag. Grace had no real issues but Sophia's eating schedule was all off and she woke up at about 11 pm (right when we would have crawled into bed,) and would drink two bottles! After that she slept all night!

On Saturday, January 5th, we woke up early, loaded up a rental car, and headed to the airport again, this time to Amman, Jordan. We were traveling to attend a conference and leadership training there. Our flight was on a much nicer airline and we had a bit of leg room- even though Sophia was a lap child on this flight. The girls only napped briefly but it was only a three hour flight, but that was nothing compared to our two nine hour flights just days before.

We've adjusted and settled in for our training and are enjoying our time in this neat city. Our days are long and filled with classroom type learning (I forgot how hard it is to sit still and pay attention for long stretches!) while the girls are in childcare. The girls are excited to see us in the afternoon but we usually have only two hours with them before their bedtime.

It was very cold for our first week and a half here but it has warmed up a bit and isn't too bad. We have one more week left and then will be heading back to Abu Dhabi for Ian to, hopefully, start his new job! We are so excited for what this means for our family and to have a home and roots again.


Callie said...

Wow, sounds like quite an airport trip! I can't imagine juggling that much luggage and two kids on such a long flight!

Rachel and John said...

Wow! What a trip! Do you have to pay to check all those bags? Does Ian's company cover the cost or is it all on you guys? I can't even imagine doing that! We went to Florida from Calagry and had to stop in Houston with just 1 car seat and it was intense. Good on you lady for handling everything with such Grace.

Lauren said...

way to go lady! that sounds like such a crazy accomplishment for you to arrive back "home!" all the pictures of the girls are so cute!

Sonya said...

That is a lot of traveling! Glad you made it! That last picture of Sophia is just precious!

Kelli said...

What a wonderfully detailed post with precious pictures. The airport situation totally stressed ME out just reading about it. You deserve a great, big hug! So proud of you all Brit. And happy for you, too. Hope you can soon settle in and feel at home again. I love you each and all. Keeping Ian in my thoughts as he begins a new adventure.