Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Great Flight

The night before our departure was special. Ron and Sabrina came down to the hotel we were staying at and we had a nice swim together and went out for pizza.

Then at 4 am on Wed. morning, March 10, our busy, busy trip began. We were awake a lot all the night before with anticipation. Finally when we got up we got our stuff together and got on the hotel shuttle to go to the airport.
Lots of people came to the airport to see us off. Bruce, Patti and their two girls came, as well as Grampa and Gramma, Jamie and Annette Weber (Dennis' cousins), Annette's boyfriend Jonathan who all managed to surprise us and find us at the airport somehow, and our friend Bill Yeo from Peterborough, who got up around 3am to come to the airport! It was so great to see all those people and so sad.
We soon realized that we had WAY too much luggage. We were well within our ticket allotment, but practically speaking it was a nightmare to wield it all throughout the airport in Canada and then again when we picked it up in Manila. Each girl had a back pack and one carry-on, which was a great idea until we tried to make exhausted children run through an airport pulling those things in time to make a tight connection. What a nightmare. Live and learn! We are sure glad to have all that stuff here now, though.
We made it through 1 million and 1 security checks in Toronto. I had just enough time to grab one last Tim Horton's regular coffee and 12 timbits for the girls before our boarding call. The girls were really difficult and cranky in the airport and I really had to pray for patience!
When we landed in Chicago Button threw up on the descent. Fortunately we were able to catch it in the barf bag.
We barely had enough time to make our connection in Chicago. We had to switch terminals and check in with a new airline. Because it was an international flight we had to clear security all over again. Everyone was kind to us, but the girls were downright surly and uncooperative. Button was really weak and dehydrated from getting sick and wasn't able to pull her carry-on. This did not please me.

We managed to snatch a sip from a drinking fountain before passing through yet another security checkpoint and finally boarded our Japan Airlines flight to Tokyo. This was the big one. We didn't have time to put any of the girls toys into their backpacks from their carry-ons. That was a big mistake. Next time I will try to make sure that new toys get placed in the backpack between each flight. Accessing carry-ons in the overhead bins is not really practical.

Button fell asleep right after take-off. Winnie found a little slit in her seat cushion and sat with her legs tucked way inside and her seat belt over her lap.

This was the longest flight- Chicago to Tokyo, 13 hours. We flew over Alaska and the Bering Straight. The scenary was beautiful. Button and Winnie napped off and on all throughout the flight, but Squeaky only fell asleep finally during the last 10 minutes of the flight.

Both Squeaky and Button threw up on the descent into Tokyo. We had more security checks and shuttling at the Tokyo airport but were finally able to relax and rearrange some of our carry-ons during our 3 hour layover in Tokyo. It was the middle of the afternoon there but our bodies felt like it was 3 in the morning. The kids were nuts. Dennis found a room with padded floor and walls and the kids jumped around in there for a long time.

We boarded our final plane around 6:15 pm, local time. The girls all fell asleep while we were still parked at the gate. The last leg from Tokyo to Manila was a five hour flight. After the 13 hour flight that one seemed really short. The girls slept until 1/2 hour before landing- we were so grateful!

I managed to sleep for about 20 minutes which was the most I'd slept the whole time.

It was exciting descending into Manila. It was 10:30pm so all we could see was the city lights and the reflection on the water. We had some arrival instructions so we knew what to do when we got there.

First we gathered our stuff and our cranky girls and went to immigration. As we waited in line I was keenly aware of the amount of people crammed into that airport. It was bustling. I wasn't comfortable letting the kids walk around with any freedom and kept harping at them to stay close. They didn't like that too much and had some major melt downs in the immigration line-up.

When I finally made it up to the immigration officer I handed him our passports and chewed my lip as he decided our fate. Behind me Squeaky was losing her cookies into a barf bag. I'm not sure if that influenced the guy, but we were through really quickly.

Next, we picked up our obscene amount of luggage from the conveyor. A guy helped us put it on carts but I wasn't sure if I should "tip" him or not. I didn't, hope that was ok.

We pushed our three carts of luggage to the customs officer. I was all worried about this. The lady just looked at us and asked, "How many?" We said, "6." That was it. Not a single suitcase was opened. We were just waved through.

Finally we exited the airport and got to feel the heat of the city. Not too long later our ride came and we piled in the back- no car seats for the girls!!! We all enjoyed feeling the wind through our hair. It was a honky and beepy ride home. We arrived at the mission guesthome around 12:30am local time and crashed into bed.


pat ve said...

I'm glad I heard the original story first--"we got here o.k. Things went pretty well. All our luggage arrived with us."
This is the rest of the story with all the embelishments. I will have to learn to try the "losing my cookies" part to get through customs.
Your experiences will not only be lessons for you, but for others that travel long distances with short kids, short sleep and maybe short tempers. I can't imagine that I would do any better.
I am so glad, though, that the Lord is and was with you. Glad too for A. Bee and Dennis and the stuff. Love and smiles to you today. Glad I got to see you on Sk. (my) last night. Love, Mom
I have been enjoying Ezra. Liked Ezra 6:22. Several mentions of "joy" in that chapter.

Anonymous said...

Amen to that Grandma VE.!!
Gramma E

Anonymous said...

Thanks for taking the time to write :) I'm with Grandma VE too, Glad you could sum it up with "things went pretty well", now that we read the details we see it would have been easy to focus on the sleep deprivation and barf bags. We're glad God got you there safely and is getting you through the adjustment. Day by day enjoy watching how He does it.
Love you all,

Glidewell Family said...

I just cant imagine what our six kids would be like. But I do think they would probably not have motion sickness as Ace takes them up in the airplane all the time. I had friends who had a 1 year old who got diarrhea on the plane to Afghanistan. He went thru all his clothes and diapers on the plane and when they arrived the dad got it and he had to loose it all in a bathroom with no door in a public waiting room. What we missionaries have to go thru. Thanks for your updates we will be praying for you.

David said...

thanks for the account! Good job, guys! So proud of you and love you!

Kate said...

I got exhausted just reading your descriptions! Poor little girls and their lost cookies! The pic of Squeak with 10 minutes of sleep was too pitiful! Poor little thing! So thankful you all are safe and sound! I think your stories make us all feel as though we're going through the experiences with you! I almost wish I was! :) Love to you all! Praying too!

9Browns said...

Wow, we are so glad you got there safe and sound...and sane?? Sounds like the girls and their parents were troopers...rough descents and all. God got you through that adventure and we look forward to seeing how He continues to show Himself strong!

Joan for the Browns