Friday, June 27, 2014After some of our wonderful friends prayed with us this morning, we loaded our bags into the truck and headed to Springfield's airport.
We knew our luggage was all close to the weight limit, so we began by weighing each bag on the "official airport scale." One bag was two pounds under and two bags were three pounds over. With some quick switches and math that I don't comprehend, we got all three bags under the weight limit without leaving anything behind!
Next, we ran into an issue with Louis' ticket. We had this same problem (even though we used a different travel agency) when we flew to Africa. Thirty-five minutes and multiple agent phone calls later, we had been issued our tickets.
Because of these delays, we rushed through security and listened to them announce our names over the loud-speaker (even though the lady who announced it was the lady who wasted all our time!) before wedging ourselves and our insane amount of stuff onto our tiny airplane.
Because of some crazy oxygen mask rules, Nasko had to sit with a stranger while Chance and I sat together since we are the ones who can hold Louis. Nasko spent the flight leaning over his seat-mates' large belly in order to "see the clouds" out the window. Fortunately Mr. Seatmate was kind and even pretended to sleep when Nasko started asking obsessive questions. Sorry sir! United Airlines made the policy, not us!
Louis, on the other hand, took a nap. That flight is extremely short and we had arrived in Chicago in no time.
Unfortunately, we had to wait for almost 30 minutes on the runway in Springfield and we only had a fifty-five minute layover in Chicago. The pilot made up some of the time in the air, and we booked it to our connection. We were the last to board this flight as well!
Once we were on that flight to Frankfurt Germany, I think I finally began to breathe again — too many close-calls in a short amount of time.
The flight to Germany was long, but I just kept reminding myself that this trip is almost ten hours shorter than the trip to Africa; this is easy-peasy comparatively!
Louis slept some again on this flight (melatonin, how we love thee), but then was awake for a few hours. He watched Sesame Street, read books, played, and entertained everyone within a six-seat radius. Nasko played with his toys and iPad and refused to nap, despite our best efforts.
Saturday, June 28, 2014 In Germany we had a four-hour layover. We found a children's play area as soon as we landed, so we spent a little time allowing the littles to stretch their legs there. Nasko enjoyed watching out the airport windows and was able to speak intelligently about some of the goings on because of an iPad game we got him a while back. The game is very realistic and asks the player to move cargo from plane to plane and deliver the food service before departure times, etc.
After playtime, we located our gate and convinced both boys to nap. Mama even snuck in some internet time and a great nap!
We had additional trouble printing my ticket this time, and one agent said that it showed that we were traveling with two infants (thank you Springfield agent), but we got that squared away and boarded the flight in a less-hurried manner than we had done all day!
This flight was also uneventful, except for the list of questions I had to field from Nasko. Until we boarded the third plane, his main concern about our trip was riding on the airplanes. He knew we were going to [Eastern European Country] to pick up E, but he hadn't thought to ask many questions about that. All he knew was that we would be flying on one little plane, one big one, and one medium one. Once we boarded the medium plane, the questions began: Pick up E? Bring him home? Stay [in] apartment? Two days? Three days? Sleep [at] home? Ride bike [at] home? E ride bikes? Play toys [at] E's orphanage?
So, I spent most of that flight answering his questions and reviewing the itinerary with him while Louis slept again!!
On that flight, we sat near a missionary team heading from Virginia to [EEC] in order to assist with a summer camp for underprivileged kids. Many of them had participated in this trip before, so we enjoyed hearing their stories and thoughts about the country.
After the "medium plane" landed, we quickly claimed our luggage (thank you Jesus. I had my doubts about its arrival considering our quick connections.) and found our driver who was holding a sign with my name on it. He was very nice and took us to his large van (good thing it was big - we had lots of luggage). He then drove about fifteen minutes to the city and introduced us to our landlord, Alex, outside our apartment building. He accepted US dollars and was on his way!
Alex took us up five flights of stairs (elevators are rare here) and showed us our home for the next month. It is very nice. It has three bedrooms and could technically sleep seven, plus a baby. It could even house two more on the couch-bed. I love that it is very sterile and plain - makes it easier to clean.
He went over the contract with us, and showed us how to get on WiFi. When I asked how to use the washing machine, he was not at all helpful (I'm guessing his wife does all the laundry), but he did point out the instructions - which were in Italian!
After some unpacking and a quick supper (at 4:00 PM!) of Ramen noodles, apple slices and Oreos (all brought from home), we went across the street to the small grocery store. It is a nice store with lots of great things - fresh and packaged. I even found gluten-free noodles, crepe mix, and flour! I brought gluten-free foods with me, but it's exciting not to have to ration them as strictly.
Louis fell asleep on Chance's back as we shopped, and Nasko groggily started to follow a stranger out of the store, thinking it was his taty. We grabbed some essentials (eggs, oil, spaghetti sauce and noodles, frozen peas, and milk) and made the trek back upstairs.
Nasko promptly fell apart (crying because I told him I wasn't sure there were trains in [EEC]), so we rushed him to bed while putting away groceries.
Chance bought aluminum foil at the market, to cover the windows of the apartment. Because we just passed summer solstice, it is light from 4:00 AM until 11:00 PM everyday!
We were all in bed by 6:30 PM.
(I'm awake again at 1:30, but everyone else is sleeping well!)