Friday, September 16, 2016

America the Beautiful

The trip home.

Home.

It's such an interesting word.  It can mean so many different things.  But it always has one thing in common.  Familiar.  And after 5 weeks of the unknown, familiar is about the most glorious thing you can imagine.

Prague is awesome for one more really important reason: getting to the international airport using public transportation is SUPER easy and cheap.  I love Prague.

The trip home.  Well of course there had to be drama with the stroller and car seat.  There had to be.  We flew from Prague to Copenhagen, Denmark with a lay over to LAX.  I knew there was going to be drama with the car seat and stroller I just knew it.  Jason thought I was crazy, the poor couple with 3 kids from LA thought I was crazy but I just felt it.  So from the start I asked every single person I could where our car seat and stroller would be when we landed in Copenhagen.  Would it be at the gate?  Would it go to baggage claim?  Would it be taken directly to our connecting flight?  Everyone looked at me silly.... or like I was crazy.  Of course it would just be taken to the connecting flight.  I laughed.  When we landed in Copenhagen once again I asked multiple people to be sure.  And yes they all looked at me like I was crazy.  "Of course it will be taken directly to your connecting flight." "That would be stupid to send it to baggage claim if your final destination isn't Copenhagen." I. Know.

After I was reassured by every worker in the Copenhagen airport,  I figured I should relax and enjoy this sleek, modern, and beautiful airport that looked like an IKEA.  Oh and I should mention insanely clean.  Like I had no problem letting Brad roll around on the sparkling clean tile at the gate.  OH if all the world could be Scandinavian....... well besides the prices and socialism of course.
Once I could relax I figured we should explore.  I was happy to find this replica. 

And of course it wouldn't be Denmark without some Danishes..... even if they were from the 7-11 in the airport.

And the Norwegian uniforms.... so so classy.

I don't know the solution to flying from Europe back to the States.  It seems no matter what you follow the sun and it's awful.  Jason nor I slept a wink of the flight.  OH and...... we didn't purchase the onflight meals.  Bad bad mistake. You see when we were booking our flights I was SO SICK of spending money I thought we could just bring a bunch of food with us.  By the time we got to Europe I knew that was a terrible idea.  But I thought they would give us complimentary meals and we had just not upgraded our meals....so when we were on the plan and realized we weren't getting meals I figured we could just purchase them on the plane.  Nope.  We could purchase "snacks" but not a meal.  So we both got a "snack" that was super expensive, tiny, and we were still starved. I know that was a winded explanation... but it is very important to document because we were so hungry the entire flight.  We went over 24 hours without a real meal... But luckily our baby was once again the best baby in the entire world.










Yes..... obviously I got bored.... but seriously best baby ever.

When we finally landed in LAX we were starving beyond belief.  We were exhausted beyond belief.  And Aunt Raine warned us going through customs in LAX would take over an hour.  I thought that couldn't be true.  And then we got to customs.  First off, we went straight from Europe to Asia in one short flight.  Everyone was Asian.  Somehow we missed America.  And of course we still didn't have our stroller so we had to carry Brad through everything plus the backpack and the parachute.

It was at this point that I started to get really nervous.  You see, it costs a ridiculous amount of money to change your name on your passport, like possibly the same as getting a new one!  So..... as far as my passport was concerned on this entire trip, I was Kristin Parson.  All my plane tickets were book as Kristin Parson and it hadn't been a problem.  (I felt okay doing it because when I got Brad's passport it asked for my maiden name so in Brad's passport it says his mom is Kristin Parson.  And really that was my own concern, as long as they knew Brad was mine)  But still..... as we stood in this line I started to sweat.  What if they wouldn't let me back in America.  Customs as of recently is kinda nuts.  Like you have to walk up to a computer take a picture of yourself  and print it out and hand it to security.  Even Brad had to get his picture taken.... and of course the poor baby was asleep so we had to wake him up.  Anyway, I was afraid when they scanned my passport somehow there would be a problem with my name...

First wonderful thing: there wasn't a shorter "line" for families but there was a security lady that walked around and pulled families out of the customs line and took them directly to the front.  So we skipped at least 45 minutes worth of the line.  Second wonderful thing: the security guy was super nice, joked with us and sent us on our way.  No questioning about why Braithwaite wasn't on my passport.

But then came the disaster........ remember we had be traveling for a solid 20 hours with no sleep...... no meal..... and we got to the baggage claim.  We got our suitcase, we got our stroller......... but no car seat.  Yep.  Lost.

Seriously.

Oh and I got an email from the rental car company we were using that they had over booked and we didn't have a car.  So I was frantically trying to find a car to rent that wasn't a bizillion dollars.  Sp we spent an extra hour trying to find out car seat then reporting our car seat as lost.  Meanwhile I am trying to book a new rental car.  Still no food.  Still no sleep.

Finally we made it out of the circus of an airport called LAX.

Finally we made it to the super shady with terrible reviews rental car place.

And of course they didn't have a car seat we could rent.  And of course our rental car had a huge dent in it that they didn't "know" about.  Shady......... terrible reviews.......... but the rental car agent was SUPER nice and told us to not fill the car up with gas because of the problems.  So we got a free tank of gas for our 30 hours in LA!

Still hadn't eaten or slept.

It was now 6 PM on a Friday in LA and we had 30 miles to travel across the valley........

And we drove to Target and bought the first car seat we could find and ate a delicious sandwich in the Target......

and finally after 2 hours of traffic..... so traveling for over 30 hours...... we made it to Raine's house.

The familiarity of the Sunshine Room has never felt so good.

Home.

What a wonderful place to be.

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