So at the end of Goodbye July (pt 1) or Why I Hate July (pt 2) we were all packed and ready for our big move to the US of A. Our flight was departing bright and early on July the 3rd, 2007. We were all at the airport in plenty of time to check in all of our 3 bajillion suitcases and say goodbye.
Now everyone that knows me knows that I refer to the point of no return for international flights as the crying doors, the place where even if I don’t know anyone departing I still feel all of the emotion of those around me bidding farewell to their loved ones and more often than not I end up crying. Well this day was no different to any other day at the crying doors, but it wasn’t as sobbingly distressing as I had imagined it would be. I guess I was so excited to be embarking on such a huge adventure that I was filled with nervous energy and excitement rather than overwhelming sadness. Sure there were tears, but most of them were shed by people other than me for a change.
Finally after saying goodbye to everyone it was time to head through the crying doors, go through immigration and begin the wait until it was time to begin.
Finally it was time to board. It was pleasing to know that we weren’t the only family on board. What was disappointing to see was that because they had the smaller child, they were given the front row with the extra legroom. Fortunately being in the second row we all had in-seat entertainment. Boy-child was happy to flick through the channels until he was overcome with sleep. Girl-child however was filled with energy and wanted to play, not with daddy (he could sleep) but with me.
We spent hours wandering up and down the aisle talking to whoever was awake. She was in a great mood and was flirting with everyone. It was quite dismaying to have many other passengers comment that they were glad that she was no longer crying and as the ever-so-proud and defensive mother I am, I had to remind them that the crying child was in fact still crying (from exhaustion) and the only noises girl-child had made were shrieks of enjoyment and singing. We were lucky enough to know staff on board the plane so they kept the food coming and took us for wanders along the aircraft to try and break up the monotony of the flight.
Of course as soon as we landed 12 or was it 14 hours later? and loaded girl-child into the stroller she promptly fell asleep. It made for a difficult transfer through LAX. Going through security was more than a little challenging. We had to unload girl-child from the stroller, fold it up and put through the xray machine, as well as removing batteries from the laptop, taking off shoes and emptying pockets. I went through holding girl-child, fumbling with one hand trying to get the stroller set up to put her back in, man-child is still loading up the conveyor belt with the stuff from his pockets as boy-child is sent through the beeping doorway. Of course it beeped and he freaked out, probably not from the beeping itself but most likely from the 2 security dudes that were at least 6 foot tall, yelling at him to step back through the gate. Now as a 3 year old he had no idea what they were talking about, hell he probably couldn’t understand their accents to even know what they were saying. I wanted to go back to help him and I was getting yelled at and man-child wasn’t allowed through to get him and bring him back through the gate. It ended up with all of us yelling and finally man-child was allowed to go through the security gate to get boy-child, take him back through to remove his belt that had a tiny metal clip on it. Eventually we all made it through security and had a few hours wait for our next flight.
Fortunately girl-child slept through the entire debacle. In fact she slept through LA entirely! Naturally she woke in time to board the flight and find our seats.
Our seating arrangements on this flight left much to be desired. Now 2 adults traveling with 2 children you would assume would all be sitting together, particularly as our flights were booked early and we checked in early but unfortunately that would imply that someone was applying logic. We were sitting with 2 seats together and the other seats were singles. Now I have no idea how they thought that was going to work, which child was going to sit on their own, the 2 year old or the 18 month old? Perhaps they were to sit together and we would sit on our own. Needless to say we kicked up a stink. The best they could do was get us 2 lots of 2 seats together, one pair in front of the other.
Not surprisingly, girl-child had had all the sleep she needed on the floor at LAX and she was ready for more play time with mama. By the time the flight landed I was beyond exhausted. I hadn’t closed my eyes for more than 5 minutes in more than 24 hours and we still had to collect our luggage, clear customs and find our car.
Eventually with all of our belongings found – 5 suitcases, 2 carry on cases, a suit bag, laptop bag, baby backpack, stroller, kids carry on bags and nappy bags, we headed out to find our new car.
Luckily the car was huge, even then we only just fit all of our stuff into it.
The drive from Newark to Princeton was a blur. I remember we picked up some drive-thru to have as a midnight snack and that was about it. When we finally made it to Princeton, man-child struggled to remember which way to go to get to our house. I do remember missing a turnoff and shortly thereafter missing a deer that was standing on the middle of the road. Luckily we missed the deer and found the turnoff and eventually found our new house in the dark, arriving at our new home in the early hours of the 4th of July. I was too tired to do anything but tuck the kids into bed and fall into bed myself. Exploring my new home would have to wait until I was awake enough to string together a coherent thought and perhaps hold my eyelids open.
Coming soon, our new home and more…