These are not our lucky lottery numbers, they are how much we thought our bags weighed. By the time we got to the airport they must have put on a few pounds, because they were slightly heavier at the ticket counter. Fortunately, the airline added up everything and considered them as one lot instead of individually.
Time flew by very quickly in Pennsylvania. It all started when I was picked up by my Dad, Gail, and Kelsie. After waiting for me to arrive my flight finally landed. They actually saw my plane landing. I called to say I finally made it through customs, but I had to wait, they were being good Samaritans, jump starting a car in the parking lot. Eventually they made their way to the terminal and we were off. We stopped for dinner, wow a bacon cheese burger never tasted so good. It was wonderful to sit in the back of the car next to my beautiful wife and talk and joke with everyone.
Grandparents were helping to watch the kids so Kelsie and I could spend our first night alone without the children. My mom got to spend the night with Emery, she said “he is a busy boy”. Yes, yes he is. And Grandma Becky got to spend the night with Myka. Myka had a wonderful time playing all her friends at Becky’s daycare. Thank you both very much for that.
We got to see many people and missed seeing many more..
After 6 short, wonderful days in Central Pennsylvania we were off to our new home.
Dad & Gail borrowed a minivan we loaded ourselves in. 4 adults, 2 children, 2 car seats, 5 suitcases inside, 2 suitcases on top, and 4 carryon bags. When we arrived at the airport we found a skycap who loaded all our bags on a cart and we stood in line. There were about 150 people in front of us in line to check in for the “economy” section, so I took a gamble. There was no waiting in the “business” section line so I went right up to the counter. What’s the worst they could do? Tell me to go stand in the other line? Nope, they checked us in just fine. I’ve learned to be a little pushy in these 3 months of living abroad.
Time to say “good-bye” and head for security. I am sure Grandma and Grandpa cried after we gave lots of hugs and kisses, but we didn’t see it. Thank you for that. This trip was bitter sweet for me. I was gaining my wonderful wife and children to join me in this new world, but all the grandparents we losing two of the sweetest kids I know. Three months of living with Grandpa Sands and Grandma Gail, weekly trips to see Grandma Becky, sleepovers at Grandma Bonnie and Grandpa Ty’s house… It was tough to do that to these wonderful people I love.
We quickly moved through security. They tested and inspected the baby bottles and waved us on through.
Families with children get to board the plane first… This means you get to wait FOREVER for everyone else to board. J
We all got settled in and waited and waited and waited. The plane took off late, must have been lots of traffic on the Dulles runways. About as soon as we were in the air Emery fell asleep in my arms. Man, it’s great to be a dad. But that boy is big, too big to hold for long and too small to sleep sitting up in his seat.
Over the next 12 hours we all rotated seats and positions and stages of being awake and being happy and being asleep and being grumpy.
After circling the airport in Doha a couple times, we landed. Our 2 hour layover disappeared. We had just enough time to get off the plane, ride the bus to the terminal, go through security, find our gate, get back on a bus to the plane, and get on the plane.
Finally, on our way to Saudi Arabia. 40 minute flight.
Once we landed in Damman we had the joy of going through passport control. This is one of the most arduous parts of the journey. I have a multiple entry/exit visa so I could have gone through a line rather quickly, but with the family arriving in country for the first time, we all waited in the “first timers” line. But there was no one at that counter. We waited along with the 100+ other people entering for the first time. After an hour, I had had enough. I went to the only employee working and knocked on his window.
“When is someone coming?” I asked.
“Soon” he replied.
“unacceptable, when is someone coming?”
“it’s already been an hour, when will they be here, I have kids that need to go to the bathroom and need diapers changed”
He tried going back to work and ignoring me, I wasn’t going anywhere until I got an answer. Someone arrived in minutes, we went straight to the front of the line and were processed through quickly.
After finding our luggage and getting the kids to the bathroom, we headed outside.
This last bit is a little daunting. You get your luggage then walk down a small hallway where 200+ taxi drivers and people are holding signs with names on them waiting for their fare. We passed them all and found my wonderful coworkers who had been waiting hours to pick us up. Soon we were loaded in our 2 SUVs and were headed to our villa.
We arrived at home at 1230am Saturday morning. After getting some food to eat we tried to get the kids to bed. No luck… We didn’t get them to sleep until 5am. So much for going to work Saturday. I texted my ride to work and said I wasn’t going to make it.
We all slept in then spent our first day together. It was wonderful.