8.10.2009

prepping for a 33-hour day of travel

When people wish for more hours in a day, I don't think they really understand what they would be getting themselves into. But that's getting ahead of myself.

Sunday after mass, we had a final Daez family reunion. We met at C2, a nice restaurant with classic Filipino cuisine. After a filling dinner, we went to Tito Nilo's condo for desserts and "bonding bonding." We had prepped the one bedroom condo by putting our luggage and bedding in his hidden storage area. However, cramming 30+ people was still very cozy — good thing we're all family!

the table
the little ones
caleb, zach & nathan
siblings

It's hard leaving just as we start to get to know our family better. Thankfully, the internet and social networking will help us stay connected.

Monday we relaxed and packed a bit before heading to dinner with Lola Turing, Mom's colorful godmother, and her daughter, Susie. We had lots of fun spending the evening with them, and it was fascinating to hear about all the places they've traveled.

Tuesday we completed our "lasts" and finished packing. We got our final super-cheap pedicures, manicures and haircuts. We stepped on and off the scale with and without the luggage to make sure nothing was over the 50-pound maximum (without extra fees). Of the six suitcases, four were right on the nose, and two were one pound under. We did good! After triple-checking we had everything packed and all of our passports and ticket info ready, we turned in early so we could get up bright and early for our long day.

Which brings me back to the realization that no one would really want extra hours in a day. Wednesday, we were up at 4 a.m. to get ready, loaded up, and leave in time to make it through the busy airport and several security checkpoints for our 8:10 a.m. flight. Some airports you know security will take less than the recommended 2 hours (3 for international). At NAIA, however, it would be too risky.

Our four-hour flight to Japan was uneventful, and we enjoyed their fancy bathrooms, luxurious passenger lounge, and beautiful origami.

oragami city @ tokyo narita

We were also impressed, once again, with how courteous and accommodating their security was. The inspectors said thank you after every request they made. One guy even tucked in a little girl's baby doll before putting it through the x-ray machine.

Next up was our almost 10-hour flight to Salt Lake City. We had planned on napping for most of this flight, but we got distracted by the individual screens and large movie selection. Each passenger could individually watch movies or play games at leisure, instead of set in-flight programming. With several movies on our must-see list free and at our fingertips, we ended up staying awake the entire flight. This was perhaps not a good choice.

We arrived in Salt Lake City and instead of a wonderful "ahh, we're home" experience, we were tired, grubby, and not impressed with American security's less than pleasant demeanor, especially in comparison to Japan's airport. They were gruff and impatient with some of the foreign travelers trying to figure out how to go through customs, and even with us. During our long 8-hour layover, we also were amazed at how EVERYTHING is bigger back in the States. Fast food meals, walkways, people, you name it. As many things as I missed, I feel I'm much more aware of some of the shortcomings in our culture.

During the next eight hours, we passed the time with naps and card games. Everyone had embarrassing naps moments, but unfortunately Ian's and Dad's weren't captured in photos.

caleb won
kris & anna
caleb
nathan

As I sat and involuntarily slept, countless girls, dolled up with perfect makeup, ungreasy hair, and cute outfits arrived and departed on planes. I wanted to make a sign that said "I'm gross because I was halfway around the world less than 24 hours ago."

After watching the population of the terminal roll over several times, we boarded. Our departure time came and went.

"folks there's going to be a little delay"

I think all of us fell asleep before we took off. Ian woke up just in time for the snack, only to discover he had a drool spot the size of an olympic medal on his chest. I got cookies, but couldn't stay awake long enough to eat them. We woke up as the plane touched down in Denver. A short wait for luggage, a quick shuttle ride, and we were at the hotel. Another hour for dinner, and we were finished with our 33 hours of travel. Midnight to midnight, we experienced a 38-hour day. Trust me, it's not pleasant.

And neither is the jetlag! After 5 days, we're back to almost normal. We've been going nonstop since our return, with a quick trip to visit Ian's grandmas and attend a wedding reception, and a Cubs/Rockies baseball game in Denver. We're excited now, though, to spend some quality time with Ian's family as we wait for a job opportunity to come through for Ian. Patiently — we know God has a plan and we'll be where we need to be in His time. In the meantime, we're enjoying free cable and internet, a great shower, a fun cat, and best of all, great family time!
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