Thursday, June 21, 2007

Home from the Land of the Poles

Chris, Caleb, and I finally made it home yesterday around noon from our wonderful trip to Poland. I will be writing much, much more about our experiences as time goes on and I'll even post lots of pictures. I just have to formulate my thoughts and put these posts together in some organized manner. I am still in a fog of jet lag and trying to get all our unpacking and laundry done. Keep checking back. But, let me tell you about our trip home to get you started.

We left for Warsaw, Poland from a smaller airport in Rsesow. I am amazed that my little family, including Chris' sister, Alicja, were able to navigate these airports with our very limited Polish. Granted, most people in the airports speak English. Our plane left Warsaw for Chicago an hour late due to weather. We were very happy for our four hour layover in Chicago after that. It was a very LONG 9 hour flight in a completely booked plane. We sat right next to a group of middle-aged people who were returning from a long trip. The amazing thing was that they never seemed to get tired. They talked and talked the whole flight. They would get up and visit each other and my seat seemed to be the most popular meeting point. I was exhausted and taking care of an exhausted 11-month old and then had these people always congregating by my seat. Thankfully, Caleb was an angel. He pretty much slept or played. He hardly fussed at all. We were even complemented for how good he was. Thanks, Buddy!

We landed in Chicago thankful that the big flight was over. We just had to get through passport control, customs, get our boarding passes, clear security and then we could eat dinner and relax. Home was just a few hours away. That's how it was supposed to happen, at least. The line in Passport control was insane. I was thrilled when a security guy came right to us and said we could go through the handicapped line because of Caleb in his stroller. It was much shorter. Thanks again, Buddy! We officially entered the country. We got our luggage and even cleared customs. Everything was going pretty well. (I've become a pro at collapsing a stroller, emptying my pockets and bags, and taking off my shoes all at once.)

We proceeded to the line for our boarding passes for the last leg of the trip. While waiting we saw that our flight to Savannah was CANCELLED due to weather. WHAT?! What are we going to do?! We came up all kinds of options. Could we fly to Jacksonville or Charleston and then have Alicja's husband pick us up? We even considered staying the night in a hotel if we could get an early morning flight. We get to the table and find out there are no flights to Jacksonville or Charleston and all flights to Savannah were booked till Thursday. This was Tuesday night. We asked about Atlanta and there was an 8:45 pm flight we could grab. While Chris and Alicja took care of that I got on my cell phone and called my sister who lives in Norcross. After three calls I got my brother-in-law. I fought back the exhausted tears and asked if they could pick us up. "Of Course!" he said. They secured a car seat for Caleb and even bought diapers for us. I kept thanking him profusely and he said, "Sarah, that is what Family is for." You are so right, Corey. Alicja called her husband and he got in the car and started driving to Norcross. He was to meet us at my sister's house and we would all stay the night and leave first thing in the morning. Okay, everything was settled. We could finally eat and relax. Right?!

We headed to security and Alicja goes through no problem. Chris, Caleb, and I were "randomly selected for special security screening." Our boarding passes were confiscated and were sent to a special line. We did the usual security stuff and went through the metal detectors. Then they frisked us all. Yes, they frisked 11-month old Caleb. Can you believe it?! By this point I was beyond exhausted and couldn't look down without feeling dizzy. Caleb continued to be cheerful. I have the bestest boy in the world.

We ate dinner and boarded the plane. Caleb was zonked in my arms. I had to get Chris to put my seat belt on me. I put my head back and quickly fell asleep. I was so gone that I completely missed take off. I am usually a bundle of nerves during take off and landing. That should give you an idea how tired I was. The flight was very comfortable and easy. Thank goodness!

We land in Atlanta and quickly went to baggage claim. Corey was waiting on us. He has never looked so good. Chris and Alicja go to get our baggage and slowly bring suitcases to us. To top off our adventure we discovered the airline LOST Caleb's suitcase along with Alicja's. I was almost in tears because that suitcase held about three-quarters of Caleb's wardrobe. He would be wearing pajamas if we didn't get that back. Chris goes to the lost luggage office and files a claim. He was told we should get it back by today (Thursday). We head home to my sister's house.

My sister and Alicja's husband were waiting for us. We went straight to bed. I am so thankful that I thought to pack clean clothes for Caleb in our carry on along with underwear for Chris and me. I also had our toothbrushes. I borrowed a t-shirt from my sister and we went to bed. You see our suitcases were full of nothing but dirty clothes and those were protecting souvenirs. Those bags went from Corey's van to our van without ever entering the house. We got up in the morning put on our already filthy travel clothes, brushed our teeth, ate breakfast and drove home. We slept probably 4 hours in two days.

Chris, Caleb, and I are home and happy. We all took baths and went to bed around 6:30 last night. Due to the jet lag Chris and I were wide awake at 3 am but we stayed in bed till 6 am. (Note: Poland is six hours of us in Eastern Standard Time.) Chris has gone to work and I am tackling the laundry and getting our house in order again. I am so happy to be home.

Poland is such a beautiful, wonderful country. I can't wait to tell you all about our time there. Keep coming back to learn of our adventures. I'll see you soon.

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TravelinMom said...

I'm planning a trip to Poland myself so I was so excited to find your blog this morning :) I'm using Global Bag Tags but I hadn't thought about packing 1 set of clothes and underwear for the kids and me. Thank you for sharing that tip!