Saturday, October 17, 2009

Day 7 – or is it still Day 6?

Day 7 – or is it still Day 6?

One thing I have found as we have traveled to Ethiopia is the sense of time lost or is it time gained? Between jet lag, babies up at night and the difference of time between here and Ethiopia, I am not sure what day it is or should be. We are on the plane and it is now after midnight in Ethiopia which means its Friday but we are no longer in Ethiopia. So do I stick with Ethiopian time? Or maybe since we are on our way to Rome, I should switch to the time in Rome. Of course it might help if I knew what time it is in Rome. Or maybe since our final destination for this leg of the trip is DC I should use Eastern Standard Time. That would make it 1:00 in the afternoon on Thursday which would mean we haven’t actually left yet. Huh? You see my problem? So I am blogging like it is Day 7. Don’t ask me what time zone I am using or I might tell you I am using “Kelli’s too new of a mom to have clue what time it is” time zone.

Isaac is now fast asleep in a bassinet attached to the bulk head in front of Hubby (with a little help from Benadryl of course). Jocelyn is asleep but restless. Both of them are basically too big for the bassinets but we are hoping they will be able to sleep in the bassinet at least part of the way. The problem with Jocelyn is that she is an all over the bed sleeper so expecting her to stay confined to such a small space is like shooting for the moon.

It is hard for us to get any sleep since the flight attendants keep waking us up. Do they really need to wake us up to ask if we want water at midnight? An hour later we are awaken to an attendant asking us what we want for breakfast. Breakfast? It is 1 am in Ethiopia. Whose time zone are they using? Charlie is able to finish his breakfast without disturbing Isaac but I am not so lucky. Jocelyn is awake. She hasn’t even slept for 3 hours. Sigh…this can’t be good.

The next 20 hours are spent trying to keep our sweet peas from turning the people around us into axe murderers. I truly do feel for those who were on the plane with us. We did our best but have you ever tried to keep a 20 month old confined to a space too small for the average adult for 20 hours? Oh, no you didn’t misread the 20 hours part. We touched down in Rome to refuel. We were not allowed to get off the plane. In fact, you don’t even taxi up to the airport. You taxi to an area where they fuel planes that are touching down only long enough to refuel. It is quite humorous to watch our plane taxi up to a fueling station. There is a line of planes and ours pulls up and parks between two other international airlines. I never thought I would be at a gas station for air planes. Anyway, my original point is the fact that we were on a plane for way too long.

So…what do you do on a plane for 20 hours with two toddlers…besides say “no” a lot? Well…for me it meant standing/walking with Jocelyn for about 6 hours of the trip. She hated sitting in my lap. I won’t lie; I tried putting her to sleep many times with no luck. I will have you know there is not enough Benadryl in the world for this long of a trip. Hubby and I were not big on using it but we were even encouraged by our case worker who is a child psychologist to use it. It worked when we first got on the plane but the second time we tried giving it to Jocelyn, she literally shook it off. She started to fall asleep but then pulled her head up in defiance and shook it real hard. Her eyelids never drooped again.

Isaac did real well until about the last 4 hours. He had it with the whole sit on Daddy’s lap thing. Did you know it can get a little ugly with a strong willed child on a plane? We had many moments of him staring at us with that “just try to make me” look I so detest love. Poor little guy. He has yet to realize that his new Mommy helped inspire the book for the strong willed child.

We arrive at Dulles and I am more than ready to help the flight attendants open the doors or whatever else they need to get us off this plane. We are ready. Sweet peas are in their Ergo Carriers. Every nook and cranny has been checked for possible lost items. All of our carry-ons are organized and ready to move. And yet the doors have not opened…tick tock tick tock… Isaac and Jocelyn are getting irritated because they are now confined to our bodies (not what they at this point). The pilot announces that there is no one there to get us connected to the concourse. “I’m sorry what? Seriously? Did no one check to make sure they would be ready for us? Could we really fly into such a huge airport without anyone being aware of it other than the flight tower?” The pilot goes on to say that we will have to wait for the airport’s plane mates to get us. These are large vehicles that can hook up to the plane and then transport us to the Passport Control Center. At this point I am beginning to understand “going postal.” I have slept a total of 2 hours in the last 35 hours. I am in no mood to wait for anything neither is Isaac or Jocelyn.

We finally enter the plane mate and after a long wait are transported to the Passport Control Center. Everyone entering the US whether American or not must go through Passport Control to enter the US. We are now the next family in line to meet with a Passport Control person (probably not their official title). Hubby tells me I need to get behind the yellow line like the sign says. I look down at the sign that says stay behind the yellow line. My toes are behind the yellow line. Charlie gently says to his incoherent sleep deprived wife “not that yellow line – it’s the example – this yellow line behind you.” Oh, well looky there…there’s a yellow line extending the length of the Passport Control area directly behind me. I give myself an E for effort though.

The person we meet with takes our passports and the all important sealed documents. He carefully examines the seals to make sure they haven’t been broken. Once satisfied, he opens the documents and begins to stamp them several places. I breathe a sigh of relief. Now we have just one last hurdle to jump through…immigrations.

Before going to immigrations, we have to pick up our luggage at a special baggage claim just after the Passport Control area. This is a requirement so customs can check your luggage if they deem it necessary. Have you ever tried finding a black duffel bag after 2 hours of sleep in 35 hours? Do you know how many people travel with black duffel bags? For the first time I am wishing our luggage was neon pink like my moms. Hers was easy to find…no one else in their right mind…except for Paris Hilton would buy neon pink luggage. If you are not sure what I am talking about, please refer to my post from September titled “Pink Paris.” After Hubby and I search for about 30 minutes we finally find our duffel bag (note to self: never travel with black duffel bag again).

We move onto immigrations where a very kind woman who could see the exhaustion on our faces informed us to have a seat. She took the forms and placed them in a file organizer at the back. There were many families ahead of us since it took us so long to find our infamous black duffel bag. We sat down expecting a long wait but when the first immigration’s person comes available the nice woman plucks our file from the back and hands it to the gentleman. She says something to him and he leaves with our files. When he returns he calls us up to his booth where he hands us Isaac and Jocelyn’s passport and says “you’re free to go.” Our response “really?” His response “yes.” We stood there in shock for a moment and then thanked him and left. We were prepared to be taken into a room and asked many questions before we were granted access to US soil. We know several families who have had a much longer process through immigrations. This is living proof that God truly does not give us more than we can bear. This worn out no longer coherent Mommy needs a break. This is it. Praise the Lord!

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