Monday, December 22, 2008

Home Sweet Home

Finally we are home, after a long and stressful journey my family and I can now look out our window's, seeing the mountains and landscape of the place we have missed and love so much! But, although we are peaceful now and enjoying our visits with family and friends, we had to travel 6,000 miles to get here, the journey was not always peaceful with negative and positive times through out....

The day before our plane set off we were going through the day packing our clothes and getting last minute authentic German Christmas presents for everyone back at home. The day had been going good so far, we had just taken Sophie on a long and beautiful walk and opened up presents from our "Germany Christmas", then suddenly my clumsiness strikes again! As I was making my way up the stairs my foot slipped, causing me to fall on my knee and elbow and spilling my drink everywhere! Usually, I fall down our stairs and not as I am going up them! Yes, this has happened twice before, once holding my computer and the other with a drink in hand too!

After my tragic and clumsy event we all went to bed with the excitement of going home the next morning.

Waking up was one of the easiest thing, along with getting ready to go with speed and excitement of finally making our way back home! All was going well, Sophie was picked up early to go to the "farm" and we were all ready with enough time to get the luggage out to the front porch before the Taxi came. The rain was pouring down hard and our joy went higher when a van taxi pulled down our driveway. We had 6 suitcases plus a ski bag and it all fit perfectly! Though our taxi driver only spoke German, my dad got along just fine, attempting to speak and understand him and while we slowly made our way out to the airport.

Finally we had made it to the airport, checked in all of our luggage, went through security, and made our way to our terminal, which didn't take long considering that the Bremen airport is so small that there are only around 5 terminals to choose from. Our flight had been delayed about 15 minutes, giving us time to relax while my mom found time to worry about the luggage, the dog, and house. Our plane was off and it took us only about 30 minutes to get us to the Frankfurt airport.

But, because of our delay in Bremen we had to rush through the Frankfurt airport, making it just on time with the worry of our luggage not making it on the plane racing through out all of our heads. After making it to our terminal, thinking we had actually made the flight we discovered that we didn't even have a plane yet, creating another delay, and making out layover in Chicago an even shorter time period. Once on the plane and in the air we all relaxed and rested, tried not to sleep so we could get adjusted with the time zones, and watched a lot of movies.

Landing was hectic...we got ready to sprint off the plane once the plane touched the ground! We were prepared to run as fast as we could to catch our flight to SLC. We had to go through customs, recheck all of our luggage in, go through security, go on a train to get close to our terminal, and sprint to the terminal in all of 20 minutes. We had No problem going through customs, we were one of the first people of the plane and didn't have to wait in a long line, but after customs is when the stress started to really build up! We then had to go get our luggage and then recheck it in. Problem #1: luggage from 2 planes were all going onto one carousel, causing massive luggage overflow where the workers (not sure if they even knew English to help anyone) had to climb onto the machine to organize the luggage so the carousel could keep moving...well, that didn't work to well because there were at least 5 or more time were we saw the workers climbing on the carousel to untangle the luggage overflows. Finally, we had our 6 suitcases and it was time to go fetch the ski bag and check everything back in again.... Problem #2: There was No ski bag to be found! It was still somewhere in Frankfurt and didn't make our flight to Chicago. Finding someone to help us in order to tell us this information took another 10 minutes out of our extremely minimal time limit.

Forgetting about the ski bag and taking the luggage we had we rechecked it all in...Problem #3: Long lines at the check in counter causing my inpatient and totally stressed out family to freak out! Leaving ALL of our luggage with some man walking around with a luggage scanner as he promised us he would check our luggage in for us, he did work there so we trusted him. This action was probably our biggest mistake, seeing that we didn't get our luggage for 3 days after we made it home! (But I'll get to that later!)

After we left our luggage with the "man with the luggage scanner" we ran to the train stop in the airport. As we came up to it the train drove away and we had to wait another 5 minutes for the next one. We got on the train and impatiently rode it to terminal F. Once there we then had to sprint through out the terminals trying to find ours. The signs led us through out the airport, up stairs, elevators, then down stairs, in long hallways, tunnels, and more exotic pathways and we finally made our way to the terminal we needed. As my mom and I were huffing away my dad begged the lady at the desk to let us on the plane. As she went to check with the pilot of the plane to see if we could board my mom worried about the luggage and we all asked our angles for help. She came back with bad news...we could NOT get on the plane! As we talked over what we would then do, she told us that there was another flight later on that we may be able to make. We were all starving from our long adventure of getting to our terminal so we decided to go get some dinner when an "airport guy" ran after us telling us that the pilot changed his mind, we could now get on the plane! (WAHOO!) But, there was one problem, the plane had already pulled away! So, we had to go down the ramp thing, go down some stairs to get us outside. When out side we had to walk to the plane, while it was snowing, and then go up the slippery stairs (Clumsy Katelyn Hazard) and finally onto the plane. When we were all settle on the plane we had to wait another 30 minutes before we could go because they had to "de-iced" the plane....

Attemption at sleep was ruined during the flight for my mom and I, do to an annoying father-daughter duo seated in front of us. As we leaned on our trays to try to get some sleep the two found it OK to lean back, squishing my mom and I in between their seats and ours. We would have leaned back away from the two sleep deprives in front of us but were unable to because we were seated in front of an Exit row. As we attempted to sleep while being constantly awoken by the restless people in front of us we were also excited to be on our final flight and actually be home!

As we landed we was nearly "attacked" by welcoming friends and family that came to greet us at the airport. We waited for our luggage to come out while we talked and caught up with the people we had missed so badly over the last couple of months. When we had been waiting for a little to long, everyone else from our flight had left and had their luggage and we didn't we came to the conclusion that our luggage had never made the flight from Chicago to SLC. Sadly we left the airport, having really no idea where our luggage was, and rethinking over our decision of leaving all of our stuff with the random "luggage scanner guy".

For about 3 days we were all wearing the same clothes, although we did take showers. We were worried about our luggage's, which were full of presents and all of our favorite clothes and shoes. We finally got a call that our luggage was all in the US, 3 of the suitcases were in Chicago, 2 in Denver, and the skies were on their way to San Fransisco! The next call we got from the airport was that our luggage had all arrived in SLC and that they could deliver them to my grandparents house, but we didn't want to wait any longer or take the risk of losing our luggage again, so my mom and dad drove down to the airport and got all of our suitcases, relaxing us all with the comfort of different clothes and making us happy that we would be able to give people their authentic German Christmas presents.

Now suitable to go out in public and not be seen where the same clothes once again we still had a lot to do for Christmas. We had to get more gifts for family and friends while wanting to see people too! Christmas was a blast and we had a really fun time visiting family and friends and seeing all the people that we missed so much.

When it was time to leave and go back to Germany we said our sad goodbye's to friends and family and spent almost 3 hours on New Years Eve trying to cram all the we had brought, bought, and had received in 6 suitcases, as the night went on we realized that that was not possible so we had to take one of my grandparents suitcases and tried to put as much as possible into it! All in all we had 7 suitcases, 1 ski bag, a boot bag, my mom and I had 2 carry-on's, and my dad had 1 computer bag, and we managed to fit it all in 1 car, unable to use seat belts because they were all crammed under luggage but we were all tightly seated in the car, using each other and all the stuff surrounding us as cushioning! We did manage to celebrate the New Year! We had a fun night with friends, played games, and barley were able to stay awake to bring in 2009! It was a fun night with people we love and miss and was a fantastic end to our wonderful visit back home.

Our journey back home was the totally opposite from the beginning! We did have some layovers but managed to make all of our flights with out having to run through out the whole airport. We also received all of our luggage at the airport this time, but 1 suitcases didn't make the flight in Frankfurt to Bremen but was delivered later on that night!

We all had a wonderful, fun, and exciting trip! Though some times were stressful we loved seeing all of our family and friends and had a fun time with all the people we missed so much!

Can't wait for the Next trip Home!



Frau said...

Love the new backround and t was a fun trip....hated running through Chicago airport though!

preppyplayer said...

Thanks for the update on your "doings" back home. Sounds like you made good use of time. Please come visit us too!

Karen Andre said...

HI Kate,
Glad that you enjoyed your trip back home. The airport and luggage experiences suck! Can't wait to visit you guys in Germany!
I am reading the 4th twighlight book and am about half into it and getting so frustrated!!! Everyone who has read it tells me "don't worry it will work out" I don't see how..... Love to all Aunt Karen

kLw said...

Hey Aunt Karen! The airport experience wasn't all that good but over all the trip was really fun! I love the Twilight books! They are my all time fav. :P But really, don't worry and keep reading! It will get better in an unexpected way! Have you seen the movie yet! Ahh...I love Edward! Hehe...

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