Friday, October 3, 2008

The journey of a lifetime, part I (Ju7ne 20, 2007)

I just came back from the journey of a lifetime. Unfortunately, I don't mean that in a positive way.

It started with the entire passport mess that you can read about in this post. Some of you may have read about it in the paper. My husband was one of those unlucky people who, despite having orderded his passport renewal twelve vweeks in advance, needed to drive nine hours up to Washington, three days before our journey, to then stand in a line for three hours, be aproved and come back another four hours later to actually get the passport.

However, when he made the call that he actually had his passport in his hand on thursday at four pm and was about to start travelling home, I thought the stressful part of our journey was over. I was at the postoffice when that wonderful phonecall came and decided to run home to sit down and call the good news to all the people praying for this. Running home, I fell down rather hard. Nothing serious, but I had this nasty little asphalt burns on my hands and the side of my shin (due to instinctive turning so as not to fall on my pregnant belly) and was bruised all over. Still, even that could not dampen the joy. I did go to my downstairs neighbour who was happy to pach me up. WHile I sat there I got another phonecall from my husband: Someone had rear ended him and luckily he was well, but our six month old car was total loss. The other guy was citated but here we are. This was thursday evening. He was in Washington. And we needed to get on a plane in Charlotte North Carolina in less than 48 hours.
Thank heavens for our downstairs neighbours and some friends in Washington. Bill stayed the night with the friends, then we found him a flight home the next day. They brought him to the airport and our downstairs neighbours not only helped me pick him up from the airport in Charlotte, but brought us back down there the next day as well.

So.... we are in the airport, everything is nice and we are on time and we relax, thinking it's time to let the stress go and enjoy the holiday. Okay, I was singled out for special control by the airport security (aparently, a 31 year old caucasian pregnant woman is a high risk), but that's just a tiny thing, even amusing in itsself. We go to the gate, and then our plane is delayed. By more than an hour and a half it turns out.
Despite alerting the stewardesses, we are not allowed to deboard first or anything upon arrival and we have about 30 minutes before our next plane leaves, which includes switching terminals. Running around, my legs hurting, by belly bouncing we get to the right terminal only to be informed there at the check of boarding passes pre security that ... they gave us the wrong boarding passes this morning. We need to go back to the main hall to British Airways to get new ones. What? We checked in this morning, they assured us we had everything. Nope... sorry. Nothing I can do. Rules are rules. "But our plane leaves in 25 minutes... they will have started boarding already by now and we still..." Sorry... just go back to Brittish airways check in. We do. We run through the airport like maniacs, belly bouncing, legs hurting, get the right boarding pass, are hurried back, wait in line for security despite our green priority sticker and actually DO get on the plane, wonder above wonder before the door closes. And there was much rejoicing.

That is....until we arrived in Heathrow, London some eight and a half hours later to find out that our luggage did not come with us. We needed to wait in line for an hour or so before being able to speak to someone, but they were friendly, looked it up and found out that our luggage was still in Newark where we had made our connection. It would be delivered in Belgium 'as soon as possible'. We got our connecting flight without much problems but were informed when arriving at the airport in Brussels that it would certainly not be today and probably not tomorrow before we had some luggage. Still, my mother waited for me at the airport we were whisked away home and all seemed well with the world.

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