Tomorrow, Saturday the 18th, marks one week since we left Michigan. On Friday night we went to Jon and Rachel’s for dinner (take out pizza AND a home cooked meal for me to enjoy). After dinner, Rachel put our kids to bed at her house while Darin and I ran back to the apartment to finish packing a few things. Then we went back and spent some time visiting with Jon and Rachel. Saturday morning dawned bright and early. I would have loved to stay in bed, but someone was supposed to come get our mattress at 9, so I got up. They never showed for the mattress, but Jon ended up coming to get it with his truck and he brought it to their house. The whole morning was full of packing and cleaning and throwing stuff away. Then around 11:30, we headed to Huismans to pick up our kids and say goodbye to theirs. I am so glad Tyson and Jori were able to spend one more night and morning with their friends Jenna, JJ and Reid. They love them SO much! We said our goodbyes (so not fun) and then it was time to head to the airport. Rachel and I picked up Tiffany, who bought our lovely minivan, and then we dropped the kids off at my friend Juli’s house. Darin and Jon had to drop some stuff off at Darin’s cousin and then we all met up at the airport. It was a good thing we had 5 adults there because we had A LOT of stuff. 7 totes, 7 suitcases, 4 carryon suitcases and 4 backpacks! Everything had to be carried into the airport, then it had to be brought up to the counter to be weighed and then after it went through the security screening, Darin handed the TSA officials zip ties to secure some of the bags. I am so glad that I married such an organized man!! I just kind of stood around while everyone else took care of things.
We finished things up rather quickly, which was a total answer to prayer. Then we said goodbye to Tiffany (hope you are enjoying your new van!) and the 4 of us found a table and got some food. About an hour later, other friends started showing up to see us off. That’s when we found out our flight was delayed about 45 minutes. Juli came with the kids and they took off for the arcade room. They were asking all of our friends for money. I DID have a baggie of quarters packed, but my super organized husband could not remember where he put them. Later, when we went through security, he found them way down deep in his pocket. Soon it was time to say goodbye and that was not something I really want to think about as goodbyes are not fun. I think I held up pretty well until I had to say goodbye to Rachel. That was just painful, but thankfully she made things much easier by running over to me to squeeze my freakishly tiny hands. And that is why I will miss her so much : ) We made it through security with only one carryon spilling to the ground. Then it was up to our gate and onto our first plane. The ride to Chicago is short, so the first leg of our journey was over quickly.
I’d say the time in the Chicago airport was the most stressful part of our journey. We had to wait in a line to get our boarding passes and no one was coming to help Darin and I was trying to watch the kids and all our carry ons and the kids were so restless and hungry and thirsty, but I couldn’t haul all the carry ons around to get them anything. It was just not fun. We made it through then quickly ate some dinner, went through security and up to our gate. We were able to board early because we were flying with kids and that was a big help. We had the very last row and then one seat in front of that row. I sat between the kids and Darin was in front of Jori. The back row is definitely the way to go, at least on British air. The seats still reclined and it just felt like we had extra space. We gave the kids their sleeping medicine and after dinner was handed out, they both watched a movie (in seat entertainment is the best!) and then fell asleep. Our first flight was about 7 hours and I’d say they slept about 4 hours of that flight.
We landed in London around 9:30 in the morning, made our way to our hotel and Darin and I both slept while the kids watched TV. It was pretty rainy and dreary out, so I am glad we had a hotel to stay at. We headed back to the airport. Checked back through security and ate some dinner. We were feeling pretty relaxed at this point, but still had our long flight left to go. Again, we were able to board our flight early. This time we had 4 seats across about 10 rows from the back. This was not as nice, but we made do. I watched two movies on the flight “The King’s Speech” and “True Grit”. I just had a really hard time sleeping. Darin was restless too, but the kids probably slept another 4-5 of the 11 hours. We arrived in South Africa around 6:30 in the morning, went through customs, picked up our luggage, made our way to the rental car area, where they thankfully had a van big enough for all of our stuff and then we drove to our new home!. When we arrived, Amos (the gardener) was here and the kids were SO excited to see him again. They both ran and gave him hugs. We unpacked luggage, went across to say hi to the Hardings, then drove our rental van back to Pretoria and picked up a rental car. Monday was a VERY long and VERY tiring day. We put the kids to bed around 6 and we followed around 6:30. We all woke up around midnight, I cried for a while, and then we all fell asleep until morning. Darin and I slept til 8, and the kids til after 9. Sleeping definitely helped!
And that brings us to Tuesday morning and I’ll have to try and catch up on the rest some other day.