The Crossing

We actually had a small series of miracles. The first is that we had three people want to buy the van our last night at home. We sold it to the couple who showed up at 11PM and they agreed to take it the day after we left. The timing could not have been more perfect.

(Thanks to Woo's parents for picking up our van at the airport on their way home from Idaho and delivering it to the new owners!)

The second is that flights and navigating the airport were no big deal. I gave the kids some melatonin for the first (of two red-eye flights), but I honestly think it did nothing. Moses, Linus, Penelope and Archie fell asleep as soon as the airplane was in the air and Ruby and Herbie stayed up and watched football all night. (We couldn't all get seats together, otherwise that never would've happened.)

I honestly think everything would've been really quite pleasant... if JetBlue hadn't stopped our luggage at JFK for us to feed through ourselves to the next flight. The kids were tired and their bags were heavy. I'm not going to lie... there was A LOT of whining and complaining and some crying. Herbie, Archie and Linus were streaming founts of tears. Moses and Penelope were pretty calm, actually. But, Ruby was particularly belligerent (kind of like she always is the first 1/4 mile of a backpacking trip).

And then she and everyone else finally stopped and bucked up (kind of like they always do 1/4 mile into a backpacking trip.) Ruby even offered to carry Archie's bag.

Almost immediately after they'd calmed down, a father, wheeling all his family's luggage on a cart, turned to his own kids and said, "You see those kids carrying their own luggage? That's what you should be doing!" Sorry to appear perfect, other kids!

We had an 18 hour layover in New York so the plan was to store our luggage and go out and see the city, but the company storing luggage in Terminal 4 (which we'd already struggled painfully to reach) was so ridiculously inept and expensive, we actually opted to spend the entire layover in the airport. Herbie promptly fell asleep on the floor.

And then we had miracle three. Woo's good friend Geoff Tice also happened to be in NY that day. He and his brother, Brian, zipped over, threw all our luggage in Brian's car, zipped it back to his apartment and we were free! Luggage FREE!

We rode the subway to Central Park (the drummer and accordion player were especially eventful for the kids), ate lunch and splashed around in the splash pads waiting for Geoff. We didn't see much, just the temple (which was closed) and the library (which was air conditioned), before we were caught in pouring rain. We made our way back to the airport, where Brian met us at departures with our luggage and two pizzas. Awesome! Thanks!

Reunited with their luggage, the kids were once again whiney and complainy and tired. Plus, the checkin line for our flight to Lisbon was super long. Plus, it was past their bedtime. As soon as Archie was buckled into his seat, he fell asleep. Penelope and Linus were out seconds later. I think Woo's the only one who even knew they served dinner and breakfast on that flight. TAP asked me to fill out a survey, but I really had nothing to say, other than, I slept the whole time and we didn't crash.

The kids were pretty mad to see their luggage again, and they also thought they were starving at 5 AM our time. It was a rough 5-10 minutes getting Euros at an ATM and exiting the airport. Ruby and Linus broke down, but since there was nothing else to do but keep going, they did. The city bus we had to catch was a mile down the road, but we made it and got on the bus without tipping over or smacking anyone in the face with the back of a backpack (it was crowded), while we stood for 10-15 minutes on our ride to the bus headed for our city.

The fourth miracle was that I felt totally fine. It's been like I have no jet lag at all. I remember traveling to Europe being extremely uncomfortable, but I guess now I know how to function on several nights of little sleep, and carry heavy things for miles, and deal with tired irrational kids without losing it myself, and say way more prayers.

And the fifth miracle was that we made that bus just in time. Thank goodness Woo speaks Portuguese and handled all bus ticket transactions with ease! They had tons of storage for our luggage and super cushy seats. All kids fell asleep, and we were on our way!