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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Short Term Move to Japan Take IV

We have spent roughly 30 hours in flight between Japan and Washington State in 2014, which is broken down into 3 flights. In total, this was Christopher's 9th flight, my 7th, Gabriel's 5th and Brenik's first. That's a lot of travel on the same flight path. 

History has shown that Gabriel is a gold medalist flier. In flights past I have always been incredibly nervous and concerned with how Gabriel would do and time and time again he's proven that there was nothing to worry about. Sure enough going into this flight those concerns and worries began to creep up again but with a gentle reminded from Christopher on how well Gabriel always does my fears were quickly quieted and I went into this flight super positive. 

Gabriel was very adamant about handling this carry on all by himself through the airport.

The most chaotic part of the entire trip was the first 15 minutes after stepping onto the plane. When we boarded we realized we had a miscommunication with the airline and we were in regular economy instead of economy plus. When you're tall like Chris and I, every inch counts and economy plus gives you a few extra inches without breaking the bank paying for business class. Between the smaller seats, less leg room and two littles, I was feeling pretty claustrophobic. The bassinet I was so excited about, once installed meant I couldn't move my legs (not that I really could before) or stand up- none of this would have been an issue if we had a bassinet in economy plus... When the baby was in the bassinet you were required to strap down a net across his face which wasn't soothing in the slightest.

 Before the flight even took off Gabriel, Brenik and I were already crying. Gabriel didn't want to sit buckled in, was frustrated that we wouldn't let him play with all the buttons on the remote (each seat had a remote that controlled your TV, your overhead light and the call button, guess which one Gabriel found and liked?), and tired. Brenik at this point had been awake for several hours when he's never been awake for longer than about an hour ever, and I was just crazy overwhelmed between no room, the mix up with the airlines and the kids. I didn't know what to do other than ask Christopher to once again pray for us all and the travel.

Thankfully once we took off and the entire plane calmed down we were good to go. I immediately asked the flight attendant to remove the bassinet- it would have been nice to not hold Brenik the entire time but it just wasn't going to work for either of us. Unfortunately because Brenik is very much a BabyWise sleep trained baby, at this point he is a great sleeper ONLY if his sleeping environment is correct. On a plane, enclosed in netting, with florescent lighting doesn't quite cut it. He spent most of the flight awake in my arms only sleeping about 15-20 minutes a few times. Gabriel on the other hand took about a 3 hour nap thanks to being exhausted and melatonin. He spent the rest of the flight watchinC the same episode of curious George roughly 10 times. I had an entire backpack filled with activities but only wound up needing/using the cars and stickers. 

The boys didn't do nearly as well as Gabe has in the past or what I was expecting but we got many compliments on how well they were doing (only little kid and baby on the flight) which allowed me to calm down a bit about it all, give grace and see that my expectations were a tad high. Overall the flight was alright. Gabriel did fight sitting in his seat for the decent but once we pulled out the lollipops the fight was over. If you are ever flying with littles, suckers are seriously a life saver for getting your kiddos settled and quiet. 

Our hearts always sink when we see this upon boarding... 9:43 minutes until arrival. Yuck. 

Love the placement of my wine bottle in this photo... haha

We landed at Narita airport in Tokyo earlier than expected. In the past Chris and I had always turned in our train passes when leaving Japan to get back 500yen (about $5) but we didn't do this in May. Because we were traveling before the rest of Chris' co-workers, we knew what we were doing, and because we had our train cards we were able to go straight from immigration to a train without any wait at all. In the past between getting cards and waiting for everyone else to get what they needed we'd always miss the train waiting at the platform upon our arrival. It was still close though- the guy we had to check in with at the airport and a Japanese lady near the train caused us to only have a couple minutes to spare. Everyone was just trying to be helpful but we knew what we were doing and no one seemed to believe us when we expressed that.

For the kiddos, the 2.5 hour train ride was actually the easiest part. Gabriel was beyond excited to be on the train and that excitement lasted the entire trip. Because we were ahead of our typical schedule it was still daylight out which made the train ride that much more interesting to him. Brenik, like the plane, didn't sleep but the rocking of the train was more soothing than the flight (thankful the flight was smooth). I however between stress, dehydration, and who knows what else developed a migraine like headache and spent most of the trip with Gabriel's jacket over my face blocking the light. We packed Tylenol for this reason but of course couldn't find it.

Once we were three train stations away from our stop Chris started staging our three checked suitcases, backpacks, carryon luggage, and stroller so we could get everything off the train before the doors shut and the train took off. What this boils down to is about 30 seconds of complete unimaginable craziness. We strapped Brenik back into his carseat (which induced blood curdling screaming that lasted until we walked into our building) and the plan was to have me jump out and as quick as possible get Gabriel and Brenik a safe distance from the train then start grabbing what I can from Chris while he handed threw our stuff off the train. We weren't quite successful in getting everything out before the doors started closing so I was that annoying American holding the doors open and causing the chimes to sound delaying the train by a couple seconds so that Chris could make it off with the last of our stuff. It's hard not to have your heart drop as you watch the train take off, praying you managed to actually get everything. For the record, we did and always have.

We're in the same building as last year so the trip from the station to our build was about a 50 yard walk. The front desk staff remembered us from earlier this year and welcomed Gabriel by name. They were very excited to meet the new one since I was pregnant last time. I cannot express how wonderful it was to walk in those doors and be greeted like this. It took just a few minutes to check in and then we were helped to our room which was the exact same layout as earlier this year. Between the staff remembering us and the unit looking the same as before, we experienced a feeling similar of coming home and we praised God for that.

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  1. Glad you made it! Traveling with littles is always scary. It can be good or it can be bad! I can't imagine having long legs in a short seat with two kids and for 9 hours! I have long legs, too, and I hate that! But it is over and you are in your new places and everything is great! Yay!

  2. Thanks Chelsea, yes it's not for the faint of heart! Yes, we are getting there feeling more and more settled. How have things been going with 2? We've had some crazy moments but over all the littlest is the easy one. Have you been noticing that or has it been entirely different?

  3. I agree! Not only is she easier to handle right now, I think she is an easier baby than Little J was. And he was pretty good so that is saying something! And there have been some crazy moments for us, too. Yesterday at church our son hit heads super hard with our baby girl during a prayer. So that was exciting haha!


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