The Journey: Moving from Michigan to Moldova
Our journey from Michigan to Moldova was long and emotional (mostly because we were leaving our beloved home, but also because of the length and complexity of the trip). Here's the timeline:
Monday, 9 am: Pack all remaining belongings and try to not sob when saying goodbye to Nycole
Monday, 11:30 am: Put belongings in a friends' van and take a family photo in front of our old home (red, bleary eyes are from the aforementioned attempts not to sob [mostly a failure])
Monday, 12 pm: arrive at airport, check 6 suitcases and a pack and play, make it through security (a difficult proposition with 2 children, 2 laptops, several Kindles, an external hard drive and bottles of milk for Miriam).
Monday, 2 pm: Fly to Chicago
Monday, 2 pm: Arrive in Chicago (get it? Because it's in Central time??)
Monday, 2:15 pm: Race over to connecting flight, which is supposed to take off in 45 minutes, only to discover it has been delayed by an hour. It's ok though--our third flight doesn't take off until 12:30 am, so we're not worried at all!
Monday, 2:45 pm: Walk around, get some dinner (because it's 3:45 our time but it'll be past dinner time once we arrive!), and kill time before taking off at 4 pm local time
Monday, 7 pm: Arrive in NYC at LaGuardia airport (there's that tricky time change again!)
Monday, 7:45 pm: Collect all baggage (none of it was lost! Hooray!) and strap it all together with some luggage straps, enabling 2 people to transport 2 children, 6 suitcases, a pack and play, a stroller and 5 backpacks.
Monday, 7:50 pm: Wander around for awhile (leaving Jesse with the kids and stuff) before finally figuring out that the inter-airport shuttle (yes, we had to switch airports!) we need is located at the end of the terminal.
Monday, 8:04 pm: Arrive at the bus stop, VERY sweaty and very tired, with one semi-broken luggage strap
Monday, 9:15 pm: Finally get on the shuttle to take us to JFK (the shuttle that was supposed to run every 20-30 minutes)
The very sleepy baby with her Buppy (how she says 'bunny') that did not sleep for the entire 45 minute ride!
Monday, 9:50 pm: arrive at Terminal 8 of JFK, drag all belongings inside, only to realize...we're in the wrong terminal. Weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth may or may not have ensued.
Monday, 9:55: Drag all belongings and very tired children through a series of elevators and inter-terminal trams to Terminal 7, where we finally checked in to our trans-Atlantic (Air Ukraine) flight.
Monday, 10:30 pm: Go through security again, get more expensive airport food (in a really slow line) because it has been 6 hours since we've eaten anything but peanuts and crackers, and settle down at our gate.
Monday, 11 pm: Discuss putting the kids in pjs, filling up water bottles, and wondering when our flight would board (it wasn't posted) when suddenly realizing: the pjs are in the duffel bag, which isn't with us, which must mean we left it at security!
Monday, 11:05 pm: Race back to security, explain that we left a bag and try to not look like a terrorist for having left a bag behind (and feel sorry for any people of color that accidentally leave their bags), and wait while they search it again
Monday, 11:07 pm: Look up to see Jesse frantically gesturing at me from the top of the escalator, saying that our flight is boarding!
Monday, 11:09 pm: Grab the re-searched bag, race up the stairs, help Jesse grab the kids and the bags and jump the boarding line...only to be stuck waiting for 15 more minutes (oh airports, you wily beasts!) before boarding.
Here's where things get hazy, because we were flying forwards across time zones. Instead of an exact time, let's do this:
Monday, 11:45 pm-Tuesday, 4:30 pm (only just shy of 10 physical hours because of the 7 hour time difference): Get kids and bags settled in, take off from America, start to get sleepy when they turn off all of the lights...and wake up when they turn them on 30 minutes into the flight, the flight attendants going around and serving dinner (in case you're wondering, all of the commotion kept a certain very tired baby from sleeping, and I am still irate about it). Fall asleep at some point, and spend the next 3 hours resting fitfully as the 4 year old next to you tosses and turns in his sleep. Take turns for the next few hours with Jesse staying awake next to the baby, who is sleeping on the floor, before eventually giving up on sleep when Niko wakes up. Give him his brand new kids Kindle Fire to play with (purchased specifically for this very moment) before getting a few more moments (minutes? hours?) of sleep.
They gave us those blue socks to wear on the plane, and Nikolai may or may not have worn them for the next 12 hours, all through the airport in Ukraine and into Chisinau. I thought them hideous and embarrassing, but it is a testament to how exhausted I was that I didn't even bother trying to make him take them off!
Some time later: land in Ukraine!
Tuesday, 5-7 pm: Gather belongings, go through security again (oh please not again!!!), find our gate, walk the kids around so they start to think it is 6 pm instead of 11 am, and eat a chocolate croissant and some juice (because who knows what meal time it is anymore?!??!)
But hey, at least this kid stayed happy!!!
Tuesday, 8 pm: Board 4th and final flight to Chisinau, Moldova.
The sunset in Ukraine was incredible! Also, it was my second sunset in 16 hours so that was cool.
Tuesday, 8:15 pm: Chat with Jesse for the 1 hour flight because both children were completely asleep (does this bode well for sleeping later? No sir, it doesn't!)
Tuesday, 9 pm: Arrive in Moldova, de-plane, collect all baggage (none of it got lost again! Glory hallelujah!), and head out to the entrance, where we met two people from TLI (the non-profit Jesse is working with), Mihai and Vlada. They immediately took us under their wing, ordering taxis for us and all of our stuff (the apartment rental company was supposed to meet us there and do all of this but they got the time wrong) and helping us get to our apartment, before immediately heading back out to get us some food to eat.
Tuesday, 10:30 pm: Realize with Mihai and Vlada's help that the apartment we've chosen is not only quite far from Jesse's work and Nikolai's preschool but also a considerable walk to the nearest bus stop to get to both. Resolve to think about looking for a closer apartment (with their help) in the morning (what time is it anyways??)
Tuesday, 11:30 pm: Put the kids to bed, wait for them to fall asleep (quite some time), and head to bed ourselves, trying not to think about how many times they're going to wake up in the middle of the night because they think this is just a nap and it's actually afternoon.
And that was the journey! You'll have to wait until tomorrow to hear allll about how we settled in, whether we switched apartments, and most importantly, just how many days it took all of us to recover from jet lag!
But wait! If you order now, you'll also find out how much ice cream and yummy yogurt we've eaten over the past week, as well as how we've been able to communicate without knowing Romanian!
Act now, before it's too late!