Monday, June 3, 2013

There And Back

We’re back in Luxembourg safe and sound and a little weary from all the travel.
We were home in the US only a week, the circumstances not ideal.

We left Wednesday evening and drove to Brussels, stayed in a hotel and caught our flight early the next morning.  It was Finley’s first time at a hotel and clearly he didn’t mind sleeping in a strange place.  Sweet boy didn’t wake up once.  And also?  I think it’s time to move to the next size of pajamas.

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The flight was smooth and uneventful to begin with.  Hannah is an old pro, so she did her thing – watched a few movies, took a nap, and played with the toys in her carry on bag.  She’s an easy kid to travel with.

This was Finley’s first flight.  And he did AMAZING.  He was either sleeping or doing this the entire time:

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Yes, he traveled all day in the getting-too-small-pajamas that he slept in the night before.  It’s so much easier than messing around with a onsie, pants and socks, especially during inflight diaper changes.

Oh, and he totally flirted with a group of college girls who were on their way home from a missions trip in Africa.  I’m gonna have to keep my eye on him.

Remember how I said that things went smoothly to begin with?
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from all the travel we’ve done is that when one little seemingly inconsequential thing goes wrong or is delayed, things just tend to spiral out of control.

Maybe it’s just us.  It’s probably just us.

The pilot was making the descent into Newark (I realize that in my last post I said we were flying into Montreal, but we changed at the last minute.) and it felt like it was taking a really long time.  Then the plane started to ascend back up into the sky.  Turns out there was a storm over Newark and we couldn’t land, but also didn’t have enough fuel to continue circling until the storm passed.

We were being rerouted to an army base in New York and were told we would stay on the ground for about an hour.  After the storm passed we took off again to fly about 3 minutes back to Newark.

Me: We’re gonna miss our connection to Cleveland.
Shawn: Nah, we’ll be fine.  We’ll have plenty of time.

Well.  We didn’t have plenty of time.

By the time we got to Newark, went through Customs and Security, we missed our connection to Cleveland.  Shawn waited in line to get us booked onto another flight while Hannah, Finley and I found a spot to hang out.  Hannah made a friend – a little girl wearing a sari and henna tattoos.

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I asked her if she spoke English and she clearly didn’t.
So Hannah asked, “Oh, do you speak Hindu?”
I seriously have no idea how she knows this stuff.

Shawn came back and said that the only flight to Cleveland was in a few hours and we could only get on stand-by.  After waiting around, we didn’t get on the flight because it filled up before our number was called.  It was now 8:00PM in Newark and his grandpa’s funeral was at noon the next day.

So we did the only thing we could think of: we rented a car and drove our little family of four through Jersey and across the great state of Pennsylvania. 

Because if we are nothing, we are determined.
And I did not fly all the way across the ocean to not make it to the funeral.

We drove all night, switching off every couple of hours.  Luckily, both kids slept the entire time in the backseat.
And by backseat, I mean the second row seats of the MINI VAN that we drove.  It was all they had. 
(Secretly, I think I want a mini van now.)

We pulled our rented mini van into my mom’s driveway at 5:00AM on Friday morning, without luggage and made it to the funeral before noon.  Thanks to a rude airline employee (don’t get me started) and an unfulfilled promise to deliver our luggage to our final destination, the airline gave us money to buy the things we needed until the luggage arrived.  And you better believe I high tailed it to Target as soon as their red and white doors opened.
(Also a special thanks to my awesome-and-thinks-of-everything-friend for bringing over SEVEN dresses for me to try on and pick one to wear to the funeral.)

The funeral was touching and beautiful, and just like at my dad’s, Shawn spoke and made everyone laugh and cry.  Then he and his uncle made everyone cry again when they each rode in the funeral procession to the cemetery on his grandpa’s Harley, Shawn wearing his grandpa’s riding jacket. 

Since we were home in Ohio, my sister flew in from California for the weekend. 
We took flowers and balloons to my dad’s grave.

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On Memorial Day we went to a parade in our hometown.
You know you’re in small town Mid-West America when the main attraction of the parade is the mayor being chauffeured in a horse-drawn carriage. 

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My Grandma (and the rest of our family) got to meet Finley for the first time.

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It made all of the driving across Pennsylvania and lost luggage and rude airline employees worth it.

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We got to spend time with family and a few friends, which was much needed.
We returned to Luxembourg yesterday and all went well except for one missing suitcase.
I have no idea how four suitcases can be checked in at the exact same time, going to the exact same destination and one of them ends up in a different city all together.
I barely slept on the plane, so I’m BONE TIRED now, but keeping myself busy with unpacking and such to stay awake.  It’s now 8:50AM in Luxembourg, which is 2:50AM in Ohio and my body feels like it’s 2:50 in the morning but I’m making myself stay awake because if I go to sleep now THE JET LAG WILL WIN. 
Oh, it will.
It always does.

I’m letting Hannah sleep and taking her to school late today because she doesn’t have as much problem with the jet lag as I do.  And Finley?  He stayed up a bit late last night but slept all night and woke up all smiles just a little while ago.  Shawn’s at work, so I guess we’re pretty much back to business as usual around here.
Leaving our family and returning to Luxembourg was hard, but our house here feels like home.
And it feels good to be home.

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