If anyone has traveled with children on transatlantic flights, you would be the first to agree that flexibility is the key to surviving travel. On the morning of our departure, we were attending Sunday church service, when Prof received a troublesome airline notification.
Our first itinerary was set for GRR to EWR, EWR to AMS, AMS to BUD. But thunderstorms in New Jersey meant that we would miss our connection in Amsterdam. Prof spent most of the morning working on a new itinerary set for the following day through Dulles Airport. After service was over, Prof informed our boys of the change. Linus was saddened by the news. Like a thoroughbred at the starting gate, Linus was pumped for the journey. Piano Man, on the hand, was thrilled to have one more day at home.
Come Monday morning, we were ready. R-e-a-d-y. Our friends from Nepal took us to the airport, and we arrived at the airport when United Airlines sent us another email notification. As the first bag was about to be tagged through Dulles, we were going to miss another connection due to the late arrival our first plane. Because of the email notification, the service rep at the ticket counter arranged a whole new itinerary (#3) to get us to Budapest.
I can’t remember much from the moment we entered the security checkpoint to baggage claim, except for a few key moments:
Chicago’s Interior Space
I never get tired looking at the high arches at Chicago O'Hare Airport. . . . . . #Chicago #chicagogram #ohareinternationalairport #ohare #ohareairport #chicagoohare #chicagoohareairport #architecture #arch #airportbound #enroute #layoverlife #layover #expat #onthemove #move #travelgram #travelblogger #traveling #travel #traveler #igtravel #igtravels #chooseohare @flyohare
The lady in row 26 who liked to leave the window open on our overnight flight, which meant little Linus slept three hours on the plane, while Piano Man slept nearly 6-7 hours with only a couple of motion sickness moments.
Rainy Day in Frankfurt
Layover #2. It's a rainy day in #Frankfurt #Germany. Survived an 8 hour overnighter. Whew… #frankfurtairport #iggermany #igtravel #airplane #airport #europe #traveler #traveling #onthemove #raindrops #rainydays #rain #layoverlife #layover #igtraveling #lufthansa #lufthansaairlines #germany🇩🇪 @Lufthansa
If I had to mention one snafu, it had to be the moment when another family picked up our luggage. Prof noticed a bag that looked like our’s sitting in someone else’s cart. I went to investigate. I casually walked by the conveyor belt, which read: ORD –> FRA –> BUD. Just to be sure, as I knelt down by the bag, then I said,
“I think you may have our bag.”
In disbelief, the passenger wanted to see the name on our luggage tag. (I recognized the luggage tag since I purchased it at Meijer.) Confirming our names, I said, “Costco, right?” When she saw her bag coming through, she breathed a sigh of relief. No mention of an oops or sorry. But it didn’t matter because Prof had eyes like a hawk. Everyone received their bags, and no one had to go empty handed for a week without clothes. (That was our Cyprus story.)
Our Hungarian contacts met us and helped us settle into our new apartment.
Now we were on our own.
By the time we arrived at the apartment, it was almost dinner time. However, no one had an appetite. Our first priority was to unpack. As the sun set, we walked around the neighborhood to get our bearings and grab some ready-to-eat meals at the local grocery store.
We managed to pick up some rotisserie chicken (in pieces, not whole like you usually see at a local grocery store in the States). Thankfully, it was one of the things Linus likes to eat.
First meal in #Hungary. It's not always so picturesque, glamorous, but protein sustains you through the night. Eat like #CaptainRex, and you too can get through your first night in a strange new city. #thisamericanexpat . . . . . #documentary #photography #livingabroad #expatlife #expat #korean #american #koreanamerican #budapest #budapest_hungary #budapeşte #abroadlife #overseaslife #overseas #photographerlife #citylife #chicken #expatkids #starwars #starwarsfan
I could barely keep my eyes open by 9pm (local time), and missed the last 15 minutes of my favorite latest Korean drama, “Doctors.”
The boys and I played card games to pass the time. During a game, Piano Man said, “It’s weird. It does not feel like we are in Hungary. It feels like we are home.”
I replied, “Why is that?”
“I don’t know.”
“Is it because we are doing all of the same things we are doing at home?” (wink, wink)
Later that morning, Linus made this statement:
“I miss my neighbors.”
Running off and sobbing in the corner of the bottom of his bunk bed, Linus and I had a heart-to-heart conversation.
“I miss home,” Linus replied.
Home implied all the comforts that come with a place – his LEGOs, his bed, and his community. For a child entering kindergarten, it’s a lot to take in.
I gave him a big hug, affirmed his feelings, and tried to give him some tips to help him adjust.
The rest of the day was filled by visiting the LEGO Store followed by a Happy Meal at McDonald’s.
I am sure we’ll experience more lows in the coming days and weeks ahead, but for now, we are going to take it slow.