Monday, December 12, 2011

To infinity & beyond...

I haven't been to space...but I have been in a plane. Worst mode of travel. EVAR!

Yes, at the tender age of 28 I finally became a passenger in a plane. It was awful. The first flight (just over 90 minutes) wasn't so bad. I had room for my knees, the girls and I were situated together so we flipped up our arm rests and had a lot of room. The noise of the engines was very loud...I didn't expect that. The second flight (nearly 8 hours) was awful. I have bruises on my knees from them hitting the back of the seat in front of me (it was only biggie), I couldn't get my seat to tilt back for most of the trip. B/c my knees were stuck in Jocelynn's seat I couldn't put my tray all the way down...So my stuff was tilted a bit...and I just ended up sharing Anicah's tray when I could. I didn't sleep.

But from start to finish, here's a look at our journey from Drum to Germany:
Last week of November - spent on the floor on blow up mattresses that deflate every 3 hours. One of us would wake every few hours to re-inflate the beds. I spent a lot of time at the laundrette b/c our washer & dryer (as well as all of our household goods) had been picked up and we were eating off paper plates, and on the day we left threw out all the towels & sheets we'd been using.

First week of December - Hotel living from here on out. We spent a few days in Watertown, so the husband could finish up the out processing...and we could be nearby in case we had to return for anything. The hotel (Best Western Carriage House) was super cute, the staff was friendly & helpful. We took a walk a few blocks down to see the Fall/Winter market in the Paddock Arcade (oldest operating mall in America if I'm not mistaken). We moved on to Syracuse, just to be a bit closer to our target City of Newark, NJ. At least if it snowed, we'd be about 2 hours closer to the next destination. Four or 5 days in Syracuse, we visited with friends, did some last minute shopping...and further purged our luggage of things we wouldn't need/couldn't use after getting to Germany (or could easily replace). We did hang out in the mall a bit, and saw Arthur Christmas in 3-D. It was a DELIGHT. Loved every minute of it. :)

After we left Syracuse, we headed to Newark to pick up a rental car & drop our own vehicle off at the POV shipping place. Due to some rain & time issues we weren't able to drop our car off that night. We weren't staying in Newark b/c the hotels seemed kind of trashy & a bit expensive. Also...Jersey smells bad. I'd already set up a reservation at a hotel on Staten Island...too bad I didn't anticipate the TOLLS. Ugh. New York charges $12 to keep New Jersey out. It must be working, too...b/c the traffic wasn't as bad as we expected. Our hotel on Staten Island was a little cramped, but we'd only be there for a day & a half. My parents flew in to Newark on the morning of the 7th to have one last visit with us before we left the country. B/c of the cost of the bridge toll, we stayed in Newark for the day. Husband just *had* to stop at a White Castle for lunch. It was...gross to say the least. They put cheese on a chicken sandwich!! The sliders were...weird and I hate onions & they seemed to be in every bite. I did enjoy the 'limited availability' sweet potato fries. After lunch we found a movie theater & saw the new Muppet movie...I'm not a Muppet fan...The girls enjoyed it, though. Not quite sure what to do after that, we eventually found a bowling alley! We'd previously taken the girls to an alley in Syracuse & they did pretty well considering. So this was their second time...and Memaw & Pepaw played, too.

We decided after bowling to pay the damn bridge toll & head back to Staten Island for the night. Pepaw & the husband found a pizza place & brought some really good vegetarian pizza back to the hotel. Aunt C showed up the next morning (she's in Jersey!) and we had breakfast at IHOP...which is the first time I remember eating there. It was okay - but the hashbrowns weren't very good.

We get to the airport. In Newark, it was mostly uneventful. A little boring, even. On the flight to Charlotte the man sitting in front of me leaned his seat back as soon as the plane was in the air. I mimed licking my finger & then sticking it in the guy's ear (he was SO CLOSE TO ME) to my husband. He didn't think I was funny. We get to Charlotte...Santa is there in a small golf cart thing. Anicah is excited, Jocelynn is annoyed. Husband goes in search of food. He doesn't bring back any napkins. Or straws. The girls are bored, I bring out our bookbag which has been filled with stickers, coloring books, crayons, activity books, etc and find something for them to do. We have about 3 hours total that we have to wait in Charlotte.

Then we get on our international flight. Aside from being uncomfortable like I mentioned above, I'm also plagued by gum the whole time. Someone must have dropped some near the window, where I set something down. When I picked it back up I had gum strings sticking to everything. My hands, pants, backpack. And it was obviously not gum from my smelled like licorice. We had minty & fruity gum. I tried to face forward & get comfy. Once Anicah fell asleep I picked her up & tried to hold her so I could utilize her seat space to stretch out a bit. It didn't work. Nothing worked. I could only stretch out my left my right leg was all crampy & sore after...and that knee has the worst bruises.

We arrive after what felt like eons in Frankfurt. Mind you, I maybe slept a few minutes every so often. I did get a little sick feeling as the plane landed...I couldn't orient myself by looking out the window...b/c there was lots of clouds or fog or something. Not knowing how close I was to the ground, I am not sure what it could have been. We get off the plane and none of my family has gone to the bathroom since Charlotte (the girls b/c they fell asleep, me b/c I couldn't get out of my seat after Anicah was asleep). We find a public toilet. Then we get through customs...None of it was very eventful. Then we looked around for someone that might be meeting us - we saw no one & headed to find a USO. We show up there with about 8 other people. A guy comes out & says, "No one came to get you?" Then the guy that was "waiting" for us says, "Oh, I was just didn't see me." Whatever. Does it matter after the fact?

Then we go up an elevator, up an escalator & into a weird partitioned area to wait. AND WAIT. We got off our plane just before 11 in the morning. We didn't leave that area until about 5 pm. And every time they called a list of names to be bussed to their bases...We thought each time we would be the next one! We were the very last ones to leave. We weren't exactly sure what to do...most of the time they would give us little break times to let us know that they wouldn't be calling names to line up for a bit...and the girls and I took one break to look for food at the airport. There was surprisingly little on our side of the airport available, 2 Starbucks, 1 real restaurant, a juice/cafe place...and of course my girls were not interested in anything. They settled on a plain bagel (for Anicah), and an egg & cheese focaccia (for Jocelynn) from Starbucks and I got them a juice...which I had been warned about...but wasn't juice, it was like sparkling juice. It was carbonated & not sweet...and the girls didn't want it. Luckily the USO had a small table there with lemonade.
We sat there for about 7 hours.

We finally were able to leave...I got into my seat on the bus...And I fold down the tray in front of me to find...GUM. Again. Then I left a very important packet of papers on the bus when we got to our destination...And we were finally given temporary lodging. It's very cute...but I'm reminded why I am so vehement about not living in an apartment. I feel like I am constantly getting on to the kids to stop moving around so much & making noise. If I can hear people - surely they can hear us. And I feel like I don't want to create excessive noise.

Anywho. That's how things went. ...For the most part.


hulitoons said...

Temp housing is typical and uncomfortable and I know it well. This will pass sooner than you think so ALL the being in Limbo will become a memory....but I think ALL of this from beginning to end is why your poor head is rocking! Don't worry about other people around you...try to relax and probably avoid coffee now!

Nettie said...

Wow, eventful!

I just hope things settle down soon and you can start finding your footing over there.

The good thing is that even though you've moved, we internet friends still live in your computer and are still as close as we've always been :)

Shawna said...

Sounds like an eventful trip. :-) How do y'all like Germany so far, and do you have any idea when you'll be in more permanent housing?

Keep us posted--we miss you when we don't hear from you!


Maegan said...

I think I'll be updating again in a bit about how things are here...The big differences & culture shock stuff. Though, really...there hasn't been a lot of shock. Except for Eric's driving. :D