Thursday, September 22, 2011

Across the Ocean We Go---Part 2

Well first off, if you haven't read Part 1 make sure to check it out. I'll start from where I left off last time.

We got breakfast at the hotel and headed back to our room. I let Kaylin play while I finished packing everything up from the night before and making sure we had everything. Kaylin watched Playhouse Disney for the last time as I grumbled about Handy Manny. (Mr. Lopart REALLY needs to learn to accept Manny's offer for help) Soon it was 9 am, the hotel room was packed and Kaylin and I sat watching tv waiting for Correna to come by. Not long after, 9 there was a knock on my door. I took a deep breath answered, knowing this was the last time I would see Baumholder. Yes, I was excited but at the same time I was sad.

We drove to the Shopette so I could get another cup of coffee and pulled out some Euro so that Kaylin and I could eat at the airport. Since airport food is ALWAYS expensive no matter what airport you're in. Off we went, we trecked the familiar roads to the airport. The autobahn's I'd driven many times over the last 2 years. But instead of dropping someone off, I was the one going on the airplane.

Now here's where the story gets interesting. I don't have a huge fear of flying, but not being in control really bothers me. I started to think more and more about how this plane could crash over the ocean and all that. I took a deep breath and remember that God is in control. Also it helped that the only other person in the world that meant everything to me was going on the plane with me. If something did happen to the plane, the chances were good that she wouldn't have to live without me. (Yes I know, silly fear but its true) We get to the airport with a few hours to spare but not quite enough to eat with Correna and the boys. Saying "see ya later" to them was so completely hard. I depended on them so much without them even realizing it. In a way I was thankful to have to rush, it was the band aid effect again. But I would have loved to sit and have lunch with them, to smile and laugh and the kids one last time. Though we both knew what had to be done.

We hugged, attempted not to cry and I pushed Kaylin, her diaper bag, our carry on, and her car seat through the gate where they check passports. It really hit me then. We were leaving. Not visiting the States and coming back, but leaving. Not coming back, not planning on being there in the foreseeable future. I hand our passports to the guy sitting high up and have flashbacks of doing this 2 years ago to get into the country. He scans my passport and hands it back to me. Next comes Kaylin's passport, I tell ya..with me it is always something.

"Where is the SOFA stamp?" The man sitting in the booth asks me with his heavy German accent.

"I don't know, that's how it came from the US Embassy." I replied. Great, he's not going to let us past this point. We're screwed. All because the stupid Embassy didn't stamp her passport. WTF!! I swear, it is always something. Can't stuff just go easy ONCE? I thought as the adrenaline coursed through my body, I felt my heartbeat become faster, my palms began to sweat. He sort of glanced at me weird, closed Kaylin's passport and motioned for us to go through. Thank you GOD. That could have been much worse. We book it through the airport, trying to keep everything from falling off the stroller.

We manage to make it to the security check and I realize that I have to take out everything to get to my laptop which I had buried in our carry on. *Note to self, next time we travel take a backpack instead of of my cheer bag.* I do have this to say about the people at the airport in Frankfurt, they were extremely nice and accommodating. Through all of my traveling experience, the Frankfurt airport crew were definitely the nicest. (And I've been through that airport a few times) I head to get in one of the many long lines to go through security, when one of the ladies waves at me. She motions to go through the express lane, that hand barely anyone in there. Thank you Lord for opening that door for me! At this point I was starving, food was just on the other side of those metal detectors. I grabbed a few of those ugly gray trays removed my jacket, shoes, wallet and any other small items and placed them in one tray. I took a second and loaded Kaylin's diaper bag and lovey into it. The third was for my cheer bag carry on, however I had removed my laptop and placed that in tray number four. Finally I grabbed Kaylin out, set her on the floor and put her stroller up on the belt by itself. I picked her up, carried her through the metal detector. Thankfully we didn't set it off and as our stuff came out of the x-ray one by one, I was starting to breathe a sigh of relief. Once everything came out of the x-ray, I got Kaylin back into her stroller and packed everything back up. We found the gate, and I went in search for food. Though I learned quickly that there is not fast food once you pass into security. So I ended up getting a sandwich and some stuff for Kaylin. I fed her, figuring if all else failed I could eat my sandwich on the plane. Well she ate fast enough and I ended up managing to down half my spicy chicken sandwich before Kaylin started to fuss.

Thankfully a gate worker had heard Kaylin crying and came over and offered to get us boarded on the plane before the majority of the people. I thanked him as he carried the car seat for me as I lugged Kaylin, lovey, the diaper bag and over packed carry on bag down to the plane. I got Kaylin all buckled into her car seat on the plane, and I got myself settled and looked out the window. I looked out over Frankfurt and pointed out the window, "Kaylin wave bye-bye. Say bye-bye to Germany, we're going to America." She did her little princess wave and I just chuckled.

We were seated next to a lady who used to work as a flight attendant for military flights. She was the nicest lady I have honestly, ever met on a plane. However, I can't for the life of me remember her name. *blush* Anyways, the flight attendants on the plane were so nice! They had baby food ready for Kaylin and everything. Kaylin watched a few cartoons and drifted off to sleep after a quick bottle and I watched a few movies and couldn't sleep. I took some pictures of Greenland, because flying over that was neat and about an hour and a half before landing Kaylin woke up. She'd been asleep for most of the plane ride so we took a walk around the plane and let her stay up and watch some more cartoons. She did great on the plane, didn't scream and throw a huge fit at all. She was fussy when she got tired but that was about it. Honestly, I was surprised and grateful.

Once we landed in Denver the stress hit me. We landed around 4 pm, so it was midnight in Germany, I hadn't slept yet and I was exhausted. Our flight for Colorado Springs was to depart at 6 ish and board at 5:30. So I had an hour and a half to get through customs (which had a HUGE line), get our bags, do any declarations, go BACK through security and get to a different terminal. All in an hour and a half. So there I go, pushing an over tired, sick of sitting, fussy 1 year old around and around at the customs gate. We are about half way through the line at customs when one of the TSA officers asks if anyone has a connecting flight. I raise my hand and she comes over to talk to me.

"When does your flight leave?"

"Well it boards in about an hour..." I said pushing the stroller back and forth, anxiously. She looks at the line of people still in front of me, looks back at me and replies, "Well you'll have plenty of time." EXCUSE ME?! At this point I wasn't even aware I was going to have to go back through the security gate, and I was still panicked. My flight boards in about an hour, and I still have to stand in this line? You have got to be kidding me. I shook my head and finished waiting in line. I finally got to the guy to hand over my passport, he swiped them, made small chit chat and off we went.

Finally on the other side I see bags already out on the line. I find the nice lady that was sitting next to Kaylin, who has found me a cart and a nice TSA officer to help me navigate my bags to re-check them in. I grabbed our 2 checked bags from the belt, tossed them on the cart and the guy asked me if I had anything to declare. I remembered the check list they had given us on the flight. "No, I don't think so." He asked me about the baby food, but I told him that it was just the pasta that was on the flight back. So we skipped the declarations line and headed to re-check the bags. After the bags were rechecked, the TSA officer left, and I headed back to go through security. At this point I had 45 minutes before the flight was going to board. We barely made it through to the screening process and I remembered I had water in Kaylin's sippy cup. I chugged the water quick, and began to unpack all of our stuff again to go back through the x-ray. I was massively annoyed at this point. 3 people looked at our tickets and not one of them offered to get us through the gates any faster. I unloaded everything onto the belt, walked through the metal detector once again with Kaylin in my arms. Of course there was baby food in my diaper bag and naturally TSA wanted to test it.

I groaned, he wanted to open 2 of the baby food jars. And as many of you know, once you open baby food you've got a small window to either use it, refrigerate it, or throw it out. Thankfully he was nice enough to stick his little piece of paper in the 2 jars I had opened before the plane in Germany to begin with. Another TSA officer came up and offered to help me get everything situated again and once Kaylin was packed up I headed for an elevator go to down to the shuttles...

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