Wednesday, June 19, 2013

SC Trip #1

After many many many hours of traveling, we finally made it!  Our flight from Amman was delayed a full hour, so I was really nervous we'd miss our connection in Frankfurt.  Thomas was very cool and calm and we actually made it with time to spare.  We decided at the last minute not to use the car seat on the plane, and just let Benjamin sit in the seat by himself.  He ended up napping for a good hour and half on the four hour flight and he was really good the whole time.  I tried to get up multiple times and make the trek to the bathroom to keep active and moving. 

Post-shower, pre-plane, 28 weeks.

In Frankfurt we had to go through security again which made my blood boil, I was ready to slap everyone I saw.  They patted me down (because you gotta watch out for the pregnant ladies?) and made me drink the rest of the water in Benjamin's Camelbak bottle.  Argh.  But we got to the gate and checked the stroller and got settled, with about 30 minutes left.  People even boarded after us, which surprised me.  Thomas paid to upgrade us to Economy Plus, and we had seats behind the bathrooms, basically like the bulkhead.  It was great to have extra legroom to stretch out.  But the armrests were solid because they had the tray tables inside, so we couldn't raise them up like we did on the Amman-Frankfurt flight and let Benjamin stretch out to rest.  He did pretty well considering, but definitely had some loud crying moments.  We just fed him goldfish and raisins and kept him pumped full of water.  The other bummer was the lack of changing tables in the bathroom, I guess it was an older aircraft.  Thomas was a trooper and did all the diaper changes on the 9 hour flight. 

After landing in Chicago, we moved through immigration and picked up our checked bags, then did customs, then dropped them back off.  What a hassle, I'm going to avoid flying through there again if I can.  But it was doable and we made it.  The confusing part was figuring out which gate we needed to find, I think the departures are listed around the baggage pick-up, but we were so focused on getting through we didn't see them.  So we took the tram around and eventually Thomas figured it out, but it was annoying that the tram stops don't have departure information right as you get on and off, you have to go upstairs to see the board with all the information.  And after around 20 hours of traveling, I was losing patience.

We made it to the gate, after doing security again.  Our layover was four hours, I wanted a cushion in case of random delays, but we had plenty of time to sit and rest and eat some McDonalds.  It was crazy to just sit and people-watch.  I've never seen so many leg tattoos in my life, is that a thing now?  And on all ages, genders, etc.  Fascinating.  The plane from Chicago to Columbia was super tiny, just one seat on the left and two on the right.  Benjamin totally lost it on that flight, and I snapped at the flight attendant which she told me I couldn't hold him in the single seat in case of a loss of cabin pressure.  Ooooh I was steamed, I was exhausted and cranky and just wanted to get away from the crying beast.  I apologized to her as we got off the plane, I felt so bad.  One upside was the flight was mercifully short, they were late getting to the gate but made up the time and we arrived on schedule.

It was great to get into the Columbia airport and see my parents and Thomas's parents.  Despite being awake for an unholy number of hours I felt reinvigorated and so glad to be on "home turf".  My parents loaned us their car, as the Volvo we were going to mooch (from my brother) had broken down on their way to pick us up.  We're still waiting to hear the status on that one.  I feel bad making my parents survive with just one car, but they say it's okay.  Thanks, parents!

Benjamin excited about new Lego toys in the hotel room.

The weekend was low-key, and jetlag was pretty bad at first.  We're still working on getting Benjamin to sleep in later, but 7am is better than 2am.  And I've somehow become a morning person, wide awake hours before I would normally be conscious.  We've eaten some excellent food, Chickfila and Zaxby's and Taco Bell and Rush's, and today we ate at a BBQ buffet.  Oh man, it was almost criminally good and I felt like I would have new stretch marks afterward. 

We've been to Walmart and Target, and I was expecting to feel overwhelmed, but I honestly don't think I'm having any reverse culture shock.  It's just a profound feeling of gratitude to be in a place where I can brush my teeth with the tap water and everyone obeys traffic lanes and lights, and I don't feel like I stand out as a foreigner.  I love being back home. 

Playing with Dad's old cars and trucks.

Sacked out, with lots of owls.

We went to the Riverbanks Zoo today, which is amazing and really nice.  We only spent a couple hours but it was really fun and Benjamin had a pretty good time.  We fed the giraffes but Benjamin was really scared and got freaked out.  But later on, he said he liked it.  He's been having a good time hanging out with Grandma and Granddad, Thomas's parents.  They have lots of toys, and he especially loves the boxes of toy cars that belonged to Thomas and Priscilla.

Zoo time!

Thomas feeding a giraffe.

Benjamin liked the giraffes, until the feeding part.

Get me out of here!


Sweet angel.

That's it so far!  Back in a few...



  1. It was certainly great watching you guys come through the gate at the airport!

    Enjoy the Subaru!


  2. So wonderful that y'all are back, and I totally feel your pain on the long travel! I'd just made the trip back to France via Dallas and Boston a couple days before... ;). Trevor wants to know if you saw the koalas at Riverbanks? And I agree with your feeling of profound gratitude--that's a great way to put it! I don't live in a place where the water's non-potable, but I understand the feeling of sticking out and how nice it is to be back home! Enjoy your time, and know that we love you all and are praying for you!!! love, Priscilla and Trevor

    1. Hey Priscilla,
      No, we missed the koalas, it was a brief visit. Next time! :-) Hope y'all are enjoying your time away!