Saturday, November 5, 2011

We Made It!

As I typically do, I worked myself all up into a nervous frenzy about something that turned out to be fine. My stomach was in knots the few days before we left on the trip and it really could not have gone better. I mean, don't get me wrong, it was long and tiring and we are still dealing with jet lag.... but I can't believe how well Charlie did. I was really impressed with him!

At the last minute we had to switch flights from Tuesday night to Wednesday night in order to ensure we'd be in business class. I was relieved to have the extra day to get ready. We left Richmond around 8pm and flew to Chicago. That flight went fine; Charlie just watched his DVD player.

We had to walk quite a ways at O'hare to our next gate and during that time, Charlie fell asleep in his stroller. He stayed asleep until I had to take him out of his stroller at the end of the jet bridge. A very nice American gate attendant came over to where we were sitting in the waiting area, tagged our stroller and made sure we boarded first. I mean, how nice is that??

Once we were on the plane, there was a bit of fussing because Charlie was tired, but I got him in his pajamas and gave him his binky and he cheered up.

Business class was pretty much awesome. We sat down to a nice fluffy pillow, blanket and a menu to order our four course dinner off of. I know my son and told the flight attendant he'd cut straight to the ice cream sundae for dessert. I went ahead and enjoyed the rest, though. :)

During dinner, Charlie watched his DVD player and I put on Horrible Bosses, which was hilarious if you haven't seen it. Much funnier than I expected. They passed around Bose noise canceling headphones and even Charlie liked wearing them!

After dinner and lots of yummy wine, Charlie and I both fell asleep. The seats reclined all the way down and were so comfortable. I actually had to wake Charlie up about 15 minutes before landing. That's how well he slept.

After all the food the night before, there was no way I could do breakfast. The attendant very kindly packed Charlie up a breakfast to take with us. She was just so nice. Very kind to Charlie when I know others would probably not be a fan of a 2 year old in their section.

When we got off the plane I took him into a family changing station and dressed him for the day. Then we hoofed it to immigration, which was a ways off. That's about when I realized I'd left the hot pink envelope they gave me in business class to gain entry into the Fast Track lane. Doh!

I filled out a couple more forms and asked the lady guarding the Fast Track lane if I could show her our tickets or something to get through. The general line was VERY long. She told me to go ahead but then saw Charlie and waved to her coworker to open a barrier and let us through... to the FRONT of the line. I felt like I won the lottery. I thanked them both profusely.

Once we were through immigration it was on to baggage claim. At the advice of Brad's dad and step mom, I exchanged some dollars for pounds and hired a porter. That was truly excellent advice. He helped me locate our luggage in a sea of people just when I thought it hadn't made the flight. He loaded up our carry on bags and we schlepped it out to find the driver.

The driver was ALSO very nice and even pushed the stroller! Charlie wanted to be carried, but it wasn't far to the car park (how British am I?). I was so grateful everything went so seamlessly I tipped the both what was in retrospect a slightly insane amount. I have to remember these are pounds and not dollars I'm passing out here!

We hit a tad of traffic, but made good time to our apartment. Once at our apartment, the manager came out and helped us get the bags up to our unit, which is on the 4th floor and requires an elevator. At this point I am certain I have won some sort of travel lottery.

The apartment has been great, it is much larger than I was anticipating. We have a nice big kitchen and 2 bathrooms. The apartment manager bought Charlie a brand new wooden crib, which is very nice. We face the street, so we're still getting used to the sounds of the city out the window. Since our home in Richmond is perfectly silent at night, save the occasional cat or raccoon, I figured that would require some adjusting.

I really love the neighborhood we are in. It is just outside the very busy parts of the city and there are lots of schools and families and we can walk to all sorts of shops and restaurants and parks. We can walk to anything we need pretty much. In fact, Charlie and I spent most of Friday walking all over the place!

Our former neighbors from Richmond, the Fosters, moved here about a year and a half ago and we are staying just down the street from them. So far that has been a blast. It's so nice having a friend to do things with and show me the ropes. It's funny because when they left and we were all so sad to say good bye, I told them not to be surprised to see us move in next door in London! And here we are. I had no idea I could make such prophetic statements in my effort to make lame jokes.

And in a lucky twist of fate, my sister and her friend Gena are visiting for a few days! Gena is living in Paris for a little while and Meredith spent a week there with her. On Friday morning, they took the Eurostar and came to London! They've been such a big help with Charlie and so fun to have around. They even stayed with him last night so Brad and I could go grab dinner on our own.

Really the only challenging part of our trip has been getting Charlie used to the time change. I was hoping we could just stay up after we arrived Thursday and go to bed at night and wake up and be adjusted. File that under "Extremely Naive"because that ain't happening. When I put Charlie to bed at night, he thinks it's nap time and wakes up 3 hours later ready to have dinner!

The first night was particularly brutal - he went to bed at 8 or so and woke up at 1, stayed up until 4. Absolutely grueling for me after that overnight flight. Last night was a bit better, he went to bed around 11 and woke up briefly at 1:30. Both mornings I have been getting him up on time - 8:30, 9ish. Today he actually took a nap and I had high hopes he'd go to bed and be fine... but he talked in his crib until 11:45. So I guess we're taking baby steps back to a normal schedule.

And that's what's going on here! Mostly getting settled and getting rested up. Brad had a very tiring week last week with work, getting very little sleep, so we are all getting back on track. We had some fun with friends tonight for Guy Fawkes day, but I'll save that for another post.

Hoping to get out for some sightseeing with Brad and Charlie tomorrow if the weather allows. If we are going to successfully trek all over this city, we all need rain boots and the MacLaren stroller rain cover. So far it's warmer here than I expected (thanks Global Warming!) but it is most definitely rainy!

That's all for now! Good night!


Megan Willis said...

Sounds so fun! I can't wait to see pics! Give my love to everyone.

Soña said...

Super awesome - and I am super jealous. The flight and your travel experiences sound like a dream and just being in London will be so awesome. Looking forward to many updates and FB posts!

Jennifer W said...

So glad the traveling went great! Can't wait to hear about all your adventures in London.