A word of caution: the following blog post is written by Julie, which means you’re in for a LOT of details, some drama, and many types of punctuation. I would also include a ridiculous number of emoticons if I knew how to do such things on Open Office, but I don’t. Anyway, welcome to my head space!
January 9, 2012
The airport was an adventure, as we expected! Checking our six huge suitcases – two of which we knew were overweight and ALL of which were filled to capacity – was quite a feat. We were so grateful to have the help of my parents and Brice’s parents! The Lufthansa employee in charge of weighing bags had to have us rearrange the contents of a few of our carry-ons, but we didn’t have to part with any of our belongings.
Tom & Bernice Speckhardt and Julia Cooke from Youth Compass came to the airport to see us off, as did my friend Alison and her precious daughters, Anja and Adah. The goodbyes were the hardest part, of course. We are grateful to have friends and family we love so much.
After grabbing a quick bite for lunch in the International terminal, we boarded the plane for Frankfurt. Will was SO excited and adorable! He watched “Puss in Boots” after take off, and then ate some of his dinner before we decided it was time to sleep. He resisted sleep for quite a while, but finally dozed off. He slept for a total of three hours. Brice thinks I slept a bit – I’m guessing it was twenty minutes, if that. A few babies were screaming their heads off (it wasn’t just crying; it was legit screaming), which made it difficult to sleep. Next time I’ll bring ear plugs and an eye mask! The breakfast was good, the in-flight video/audio malfunctioned and couldn’t be used for the last hour of the flight, and we only had one bout of absolutely terrifying turbulence.
After getting off of the plane, we boarded buses with the rest of the passengers from our flight and rode to the International Arrivals area. (This is one big airport, y’all.) Will loved riding a bus while standing up! Customs was no problem, but it did take us a long time to make it to the baggage area with our five carry-ons, giant car seat, and Will. I didn’t feel comfortable having Will go down an escalator without holding one of our hands (which weren’t free), so we had to find an elevator quite a few times. (Note to self: Have Will practice safely getting on and off of an escalator without holding our hands.)
Tim Schmidt, the Youth Compass Frankfurt Board Chair, was waiting for us in the baggage area. He and Brice piled our suitcases (and some of the carry-ons) on to rolling carts, and we made the journey to the parking garage. Brice almost killed some people along the way, but it was by accident. (Did I mention that I’m thankful for your prayers?) Here’s what happened: In order to get to the parking garage with a lot of luggage, you have to take the rolling luggage carts down an escalator – we watched Tom do it when we visited in October – but we hadn’t tried it ourselves. I guess there’s a little trick to it (I didn’t even try), and Brice will probably be really good at it next time! This time, however, Brice’s cart didn’t lock on to the escalator correctly, so the two HUGE suitcases (weighing anywhere from 50 – 75 pounds) on top of his cart tumbled down the escalator, buckling the knees of two men in lederhosen, just steps from making it off the escalator. OK, OK …they weren’t in lederhosen. Nor were they directly in front of him, which would have forced a reenactment of Indiana Jones trying to escape the huge boulder. (Could you imagine if there were small children in front of him?!? They would have been crushed.)
I didn’t think there was a chance in the world that we would fit all of our luggage in Tim’s car (a mid-size Mercedes wagon), but he had Will and I get in and they just filled every square inch of the car with stuff. I wish someone would have taken a picture! I didn’t really want them to bother with pictures at the time, though – I was stuffed into a pretty small space. I’m pretty sure it’s a method of torture in some circles. I didn’t have a panic attack, so thanks again for your prayers!
Arriving at the apartment was fun – Will was very excited to see our new place, and we brought out a surprise for his new room: a Lego Darth Vader alarm clock! Brice and Tim unpacked the car, I unpacked the suitcases, and then we determined that we waited way too long to get lunch. We were feeling pretty hungry and tired!
The easiest thing at that point was to go to a restaurant, so we went to a pizza place that Brice and I went to during our visit in October. We remembered how to get there and it wasn’t far, so Brice got his first opportunity to drive our car! We didn’t know the speed limit, but we made it there alive. After eating, we went to a nearby grocery store for some essentials. It was SILENT in the grocery store, which felt so awkward to me! Eek! We couldn’t find everything we were looking for and I was nowhere NEAR fast enough getting the groceries off the conveyor belt, but we survived.
We took a nap after our outing, but I don’t think I slept. I could hear the people in the apartment above us, which made me nervous about our relationship with the people who live in the apartment below us. (Remember how Will jumps/runs instead of walking and yells/shouts instead of talking?) I remember marveling at the fact that my body felt like lead and I couldn’t even move, but I wasn’t asleep. I wondered if I’d ever sleep again …
I unpacked, Brice made eggs and bacon, Will played with the toys that we brought in our bags, and then we had our first meal together in the apartment. Quite nice! I’m so glad we have all of the things we need and we’re on this adventure as a family. (Oh! Speaking of prayer requests, we need a dryer!) The rest of the night was kind of a blur … I remember organizing toiletries into our medicine cabinet (first time having a medicine cabinet – love it), telling Will to be quiet 5,412 times, and doing the dishes. Brice was also trying to work out some issues with Fed Ex, which will likely come up in subsequent posts. Turns out it isn’t easy to ship boxes internationally, especially if you’re trying to wheel ‘n’ deal for a reduced shipping rate.
The bummer of the night was Will not being able to fall asleep. I cannot tell you how disappointing this was, especially since I had Jack Bauer-ed myself to death by not sleeping for two days. I did some things Dr. Phil would never allow, such as turning on a movie to help Will fall asleep and letting him eat pizza and yogurt in bed. He fell asleep about 3:00 am Frankfurt time, I believe.
Welp, that takes us from Monday morning in Seattle to the wee hours of the morning on Wednesday in Oberursel. I’m sure there is some sort of blogging etiquette manual which forbids such long posts, but I haven’t read it. I’m sure my next blog post will be just as detailed! I gotta be me.
Auf Wiedersehen for now!
*Fünfunddreißig = Thirty five (the number of hours I was awake)