Leigha and the Triplets

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

No Big Deal!

Last December/January, our family's lives were flipped upside down. Noe received a great job opportunity that took him to Japan for up to 18 months. Ten years ago that might not have been such a big deal, as we have been separated on tours before. However, when you throw 4 children and a full-time job into the picture, it IS a big deal. At least those were MY feelings on this matter.

Noe tends to live in a delusional world. His next delusional mistake was when he wanted us to come visit him in Japan. Sounds like fun, right? Heck, we traveled the world for years. We are used to it, right? For three summers in a row, I have driven from Vegas to North Carolina and back so that I didn't have to fly with my children or face all of the issues I would have without my vehicle. Doesn't this sound like a great opportunity to throw three 3 year olds and a 7 year old in an airplane and fly across the world? Noe thought so, a piece of cake!

WHAT WAS HE THINKING!? Even with his two daughters along to help me out, it was still a MESS! Maybe it wouldn't have been so bad if we had made this trip prior to 9/11.

On July 27th, we packed up two minivans and headed for the airport. My aunt and uncle were very smart- they left us at the curb. If I were them, I would have done the same thing. We looked like a three-ring circus. We had a great plan in place- grab a few luggage carts and get our stuff in to the check-in counters. Unfortunately, we still had too much stuff to carry. Once we checked in our 6 pieces of luggage, we were ready to head for the gate. There was only one problem, they don't let you take a luggage cart past the security. What can't they make acceptions for people traveling with a bunch of kids? Why can't they have someone help us out like they did years ago? I was livid. It wouldn't have been soooo bad if we hadn't had to take the kids out of the strollers, removing their shoes, etc.

Let me paint a picture of what we looked like:
Double stroller
Single stroller
6 backpacks
rolling carry-on suitcase
3 large car seats
7 year old
3 three year olds

It was a nightmare, but we made it to our gate!

Enough said?

Our first flight was delayed, making us very anxious. We only had 1.5 hrs for our layover in San Francisco and we knew we had to change to international terminal. We finally boarded the plane and we were off.

I was absolutely shocked at how well the kids did on that plane ride. I didn't deal with any tears or complaints. That didn't last long, once we arrived in San Francisco. We started experiencing the true hell we were going to have to go through. The whining started, and that was mostly from the adults! We were given no choice but to have to haul all of our stuff and kids down a few flights of stairs, on to a bus, and over to the international terminal. We were freaking out the entire time, as we had less than a half hour til our plane took off. If there had been an exit route to Corpus Christi, I am sure Adri and Val would have run. I don't think they quite understood what they were getting themselves into when I asked them if they wanted to help me out in Japan!

Talk about a spectacle. We were the last ones they were holding the plane for! Carrying car seats on top of our heads, trying to maneuver through the aisles, we were finally able to situate ourselves in our seats. I really thought the kids did an excellent job of flying! They were whiny a few times, but overall they were great!! I couldn't have hoped for better.

Unfortunately, even though they were great, we were still severely sleep deprived. When we arrived in Tokyo, we had to get all of our luggage again and maneuver our way through customs and immigration. We did find that there were benefits to traveling like a circus. We got to cut a few lines and go somewhere by ourselves.

When we finally made our way through customs, we found the drivers who would be taking us to Noe's apartment. We had to split up into two vehicles and take an hour drive. My brain was toast by this time. I had three kids sleeping behind me and I just wanted to join them. Unfortunately, I couldn't join them. I didn't feel comfortable falling asleep and I was also going through convulsions as I watched the taxi's meter climb. I knew the conversion rate, and I just sat there in disbelief. When we pulled up to his apartment, the taxi rides cost us about $450. That's hideous, but what made it worse was knowing we still had to go back to the airport!

I think Adri and Val were just happy to be out of the airport and didn't mind their trip in the taxi. They are actually smiling here!

Noe got off work early that day (an AMAZING feat)so that he could be there to greet us. I feel kind of bad that I wasn't more exciting, but I just wanted to drop dead. We got everything moved up to his apartment and we started taking showers in attempt to feel better. Noe was wonderful, he road his bike to the grocery store to get food to make us dinner. He even had to go back because he forgot something the girls wanted. We had a wonderful dinner and then we got the little ones to bed. I tried to stay up as long as possible with Noe, but we finally had to call it a night.

To be continued...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

this sounds all very familiar! narita is an efficient airport, i'll be interested to know if on the way back you used the kids playground...that's been a lifesaver for us!

waiting to read the rest of the story!

tess! "dim sum mum"