Getting there...

Our last week in Atlanta was a BLUR. We had all of these wonderful, ambitious plans -- we were going to finish packing by Friday at noon and then we were going to invite all of our friends and neighbors over for cocktails on Friday night. On Saturday we were going to take the kids and their friends to the park and then go to Ben's soccer game. I know you're laughing. I can hear you from here. Yes, you are right, NONE of that ever happened. The closer we got to Saturday, the more behind we got -- the list of to-do's seemed to multiply each night while we slept. We kept hoping that we would have time for proper goodbyes... but we didn't even finish packing and putting away the house until 45 minutes before the cab showed up!

Finally the bags were packed, the house was empty, and the cab was on its way:

That is 8 duffle bags to be checked, and 1 carry-on per person.

So, totally exhausted (because Ian and I did not sleep much on Friday night), we headed to the airport. The boys were bubbly with excitement and the flight to LAX went smoothly. At least I assume it did, I wouldn't really know -- Ian got upgraded to first class and he gave me his seat! It was one of those wonderful little cubby areas where the seat reclines to a bed and they serve cocktails and food the whole flight. Aaaah...

Once we got the LAX, our trip started to get trying. We arrived in was the middle of the night (our time) and the boys were weary. We had a very long walk to the international terminal. When we went to check in we discovered we were all seated in different parts of the plane for the 15 hour flight! The VERY kind lady behind the counter saw our faces and managed to find 3 seats together and 1 up a row. We still had an hour before boarding, so we went to the gate and found the last 4 seats. As soon as we sat down the boys fell asleep. DEAD asleep.

The boys were so asleep that, when the flight was boarding an hour later, we couldn't wake them. We finally got Ben roused enough to be on his feet and I carried Nik while Ian carried all 4 carry-ons and tried to keep zombie Ben from falling over or walking into walls. When we got on the crowded bus to drive to the plane no one offered us a seat!

We managed to get on the plane, get in our seats, and settle in and the boys quickly went back to sleep. They had been hungry so I tried to wake them for the meal service. I tickled them. I poked them. I passed the chicken in front of their noses. Nothing helped; I just could not wake them up. Wonderful, I thought, they will sleep for 8 hours and we will all feel better.

No such luck. A couple of hours later, when everyone else on the airplane was deep asleep and the cabin was dark, they woke up. And couldn't go back to sleep. So they were awake for most of the flight. I sat next to them trying to keep them quiet which was very hard because I couldn't access the snacks or entertainment I had packed for the flight! The Quantas seats are set up such that you have almost no room under the seat in front of you so all of your stuff was goes in the overhead bins which are so high that I could not reach them. Luckily there was on-flight entertainment which kept them reasonably quiet until more people started to wake up:

Can I complain about sitting in steerage on a 15 hour international flight? I felt like a sardine in a tin can. When the person in front of me put their seat back, it was pressing on my KNEES. I felt claustrophobic from having the seat in front of me in my face. After what felt like hours and hours of this I was miserable so I asked the kind flight attendant how much time was left and she looked at me in disbelief and said, "We're just a quarter of the way, honey." I just wanted to cry.

We finally arrived in Melbourne, got through immigration, and waited for our luggage. And waited. And waited. Then they announced over the loudspeaker that Benjamin *** needed to report to the luggage office. Uh oh. It turns out only 1 of our 8 bags actually left LAX. The other 7 are still sitting there. Eventually they will be delivered but not before Ian's meeting Tuesday morning. The Quantas lady was VERY nice about it -- they gave us cute little baggies with toiletries and PJs and some money to pay for new clothes for Ian's meeting.

Which bag of the 8 made it? Why the camping gear, of course. 2 of the sleeping bags, the water bottles, the long undies, and the geologist tools. Very useful.


Anonymous said...

Nice to hear from you again!
Now I am going to go and actually read your blog.

Anonymous said...

I see. Just about everything I was worried about your flight actually happened.
How are you doing with time difference?

Anonymous said...

According to your clock it is 8am (Tuesday I assume) in Melbourne, it is 5pm here, it makes 15 hours difference, I thought it was 14 hours difference.
Which one is right?

Katya said...

We are VERY tired.

It WAS a 14 hour time difference, until Melbourne entered Daylight Savings Time and sprung ahead. When you fall back next week it will be 16 hours! That's why I put the clock up.. the time difference is very confusing. I have a world-clock on my mac that shows both times.

Katya said...

Does jet lag get worse when you get older? I have never had such bad jet lag... I'm so tired and I have a headache and I still have to stay awake at least 8 more hours.

Anonymous said...

Please tell Nik that the whole class was asking about him today. They will be very excited when I tell them about your comments. What bum luck with baggage and seating but at least you had first class to LAX!

Anonymous said...

Can not say for sure. I am getting older and older for such long time that I do not remember anymore how it felt when I was young.
And I never flew as far as Australia. My longest trip was to Singapore, and as you now now it is hours away from Melbourne.

Tina in CT said...

What a trip from HELL! Tami's girls usually never sleep but for a short nap so she knows what you went through with the kids awake.

I'm surprised the company did not fly you business class to Australia.

I am amazed that you had room for camping gear in your luggage.

Hope the furnished apt. is very nice as you deserve it.

Looking forward to your posts.

Elle said...

Eww, sorry about the bags situation! Hopefully you packed clean underwear in your carry-on? :) Glad to hear you all arrived safely and mostly in one piece!

Love, Elle

Joe Ganci said...

Poor babies, all of you! What a horrendous flight, ameliorated somewhat by the fact that you all arrived safe and sound, even if your bags didn't, except for the totally useless one!

"They" say that it takes a day for each hour time difference to get over jet lag, so you may need to give yourselves a couple of weeks before you'll feel normal. Interestingly, last year we had a family from Melbourne move in next door. They're very nice and they told me it took them a couple of weeks to get over jet lag when they came to the United States.

In other words, TAKE IT EASY, MY FRIENDS!

MoscowMom said...

Oh, K!!!! I'm sooo sorry! That sounds just hellish. I can certainly relate to what you're going through--the stress of our initial move here sounds pretty similar to what you guys had to deal with--but our luggage was NOT lost, and your flight is soooo much longer...

Hang in there!!!!!! Lots of love from Moscow!

Anonymous said...

aaah... the international move, i distinctly remember mine, but it wasn't a 27 hour trip, only 7

glad you made it.


Stephanie said...

So sorry to hear the trials! Sooo happy you are all there safely! Can't wait to hear about the adventures (hopefully, after a couple weeks of rest)! Blessings from N. Decatur!
Stephanie & Sasha (4yo tomorrow!)