Sunday, December 02, 2007

We're back on American soil!

Well, our day hasn't gone quite as planned but we're in the US. The long flight is down and it won't be long until we're home.

We got up at 5:00 and Mom took Murphy out to the sitting area so I could finish packing. Our problem was that we didn't have enough clothes to wrap all of our purchases in. So Mom's carry-on is totally full of breakables. I had hoped to be ready by 6:30 to be able to eat breakfast before we left at 7:00 but that didn't happen. We were ready to go by 7:00 though. Maria and Juel and the Germans came out to say goodbye. We can't wait to spend time with the Willrett family back home. We all just got along so well. We'll miss seeing them every day! We left Murphy in her pajamas hoping she'd sleep for a while. We got to the airport with three suitcases, a laptop, two diaper bags, Mom's purse, the little sunhat from the Colombian outfit that we carried because we didn't want to squish it, her brown pull carry-on, and her little brown bag as another carry-on. And a baby strapped in. It was fine when Henry was there to help carry everything. Once we didn't have Henry it wasn't very fun. I paid $98 in exit taxes for Murphy and myself and Mom didn't have to pay anything. We got through the line and got checked in. We asked for better seats and he said he'd see what he could do and get our boarding passes to the gate. We headed off upstairs and realized we forgot the hat. So Mom ran back down to get it. When we got upstairs to get in line for emmigration, Henry said it was the longest line he'd ever seen. It was all the way across the airport. So as we were standing there, a lady came by and said since we had the baby we could bypass everyone! We had hoped that would happen! So she took us past everyone and up to the front of the line. We had to say goodbye to Henry at that point and it was really hard for me. I cried. He is just such a wonderful man and we'll miss him. So now we're carrying our carry-on bags ourselves. It would have been fine if we didn't have so many! We got up to the man and gave him Murphy's papers and I don't think he knew what to do. I'm not kidding when I say we waited there for a good 20 minutes. He kept trying to get someone's attention. When that didn't work he went and talked to someone else who worked there. Murphy was getting tired and hungry at this point so I held her up really close to the window hoping to guilt him into letting us through. FINALLY he must have decided we weren't stealing her and let us through. We went through security and hardly got checked at all. Not the water in the bottles, not Mom's knee, nothing. We got to the gate and were one of the first people there. So I went up and asked about boarding passes and found out we were in row five, in bulk head, right behind first class. By this time we only had about a half an hour before boarding. I changed her diaper and rearranged some stuff and on the plane we went. Mom was on one side of the plane and I was on the other so we were going to ask the people next to us if we could switch and they ended up having three people and a baby so they wanted to switch with us anyway! We sat next to a really nice man who lived in New Jersey. He was originally from Colombia and had gone home for his mother's birthday. Of the six hour flight, Murphy slept 4 1/2. Then we had a TV in front of us so she was perfectly content the other hour and a half. I needed to change her diaper and they wouldn't let us use first class so I walked to the very back of the plane and changed her. Then I decided that I had to go to and I didn't want to walk all the way back up to the front, hand her off, and walk all the way back, so I held her while I dropped my pants in this little tiny bathroom. Let me tell you, I'm good. We landed in Newark on time (4:00) and made it through immigration fine. Murphy became an American citizen when we landed! Yay!! So then we went to get our bags. Here is where is started to go downhill. Remember we landed at 4:00. Our flight to Minneapolis left at 5:33. Some bags came through the baggage claim. But not many. And definitely not ours. Ours finally came through at 5:20. By this time, I was in a panic. We ran through customs, who didn't even check our bags, and then were supposed to make it all the way up to the Northwest counter to get on our flight. We had to take our bags with because we were changing airlines. So a nice man who worked there helped us push the cart up to Northwest. I kept asking people if they would call and tell them we were there and no one would. By the time we got to Northwest, I knew we didn't make it. And the very nice lady told me it wasn't her problem and that we'd have to go back to Continental since they were the reason we missed the flight. Yeah, feeling really good about New Jersean's at this point. Had they called like I asked, we would have made the plane. So back down the elevator, back up another one, down another one, and back to Continental's resolution department. The guy left us at this point. And again, he was very nice. He must have been from New York or some other surrounding state! :) There were about five people speaking to reps and then about eight in front of us. We literally didn't move for almost a half an hour. I finally went over to the Elite line and asked if people with babies qualified for that line. They said no but they'd see what they could do. Now the people down there were very nice. We dealt with four women and all of them were nice. The first lady had Mom booked on Monday night's flight into Aberdeen at 10:36 but not me because I actually had two reservations: one into MSP and the second into ABR since my flight into Aberdeen was a late addition. The lady had to go so by this time Mom was at the front of the line. We went to another lady and the first lady explained everything she had done. I was really quite disappointed about not getting into Aberdeen until the next night so I asked if she had checked the other airlines. She hadn't but now she could get us on the 6:20 flight into MSP and then back to Aberdeen at 10:30. Book it! Except for that two reservation thing again. She ended up calling Northwest and got it taken care of. They also gave us a motel room, two vouches to eat at the motel, and two vouchers for breakfast. By this time it was about 8:30. So we had to go back up the elevator to the air train then back down to the shuttle bus area. And since we were changing airlines, we couldn't check any of our luggage so we had to carry it all with us. I called the motel and told them we needed a shuttle and he said he'd be there in about ten minutes. When he got there everyone else jumped in MY van and he drove off. I was mad. I told the lady working in that area "I'm the one who called for that van" and she said she'd make sure we got on the next one. So in the meantime, I tried to call Rob and my dad to tell them we weren't going to make it home. We finally got in the van and headed out and he told us the motel was 45 minutes away. Ugh. OK, whatever. It still could be worse. So although we were disappointed we weren't getting home, our spirits still weren't too bad. We finally got to the motel around 9:30, got checked in, took our bags upstairs, and tried to order room service. The man told me that we didn't qualify for room service with our voucher but we could eat at the buffet. Again, whatever. So we headed downstairs to eat. Remember the time. Buffets are usually ready around, what...6:00? You guessed it. Cold. It didn't matter. The only thing I really wanted was a Diet Coke. And believe me, it tasted SO GOOD! We took two bottles of water to make bottles and went upstairs to get our stuff out for the mornng. I also repacked a little. It's 10:45 and we're going to bed. The alarm is set for 3:45. I'm not looking forward to that but I can't wait to get home!!!

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