Monday and Tuesday, the last two days before our trip were spent cleaning, running errands, moving stuff into the spare room.
A quick note on our apartment during our absence: we were able to sublet our apartment to an older Korean couple. They are the parents of a student here in the community. Either that student or their spouse, who is also a student, signed the lease, and so even though only students and their immediate family are supposed to live in the apartments, the chief bigwigs said that this would be okay because a student signed the lease. So basically this couple is renting two apartments and letting their parents stay in one of them. They were nice enough to su they would only use one room and let us store our stuff in the other, which was great, because we didn't have to move anything out except perishable food which we gave to a friend. We also took the opportunity to de clutter some, but not as much as probably would have if we were fully moving. On the downside, the parents are only here for two months, so we have to pay for a month of rent for an empty apartment. Not ideal, but pretty good for short notice.
Anyway, so we spent our last two pre-trips days getting ready for the trip and trying to spend some time with Cait's parents. We feel bad that what was supposed to be a vacation for them with Cait's dad recent return from a tour in Afghanistan turned into "help Cait and Tim move in extended weekend" but we didn't know about our trip when they were planning theirs. Oh well, it was still nice to have them in town and they were really helpful.
Atticus also had his last day of preschool, which deserves it's own tributory blog post.
So, a bunch of work, including a quick dentist appointment for Atticus led up to us leaving on Wednesday afternoon at 1pm. We did get out the door with a fairly minimal amount of stuff, which I am grateful for. I might write another post about some details of what we packed, but in the end, it was one 40" hiking backpack and one 40" baby backpack that had a fair amount of storage space and one shoulder bag. We cut down to about three sets of clothes each, swimming stuff (including a puddle jumper for Atticus which took up an obscene chunk of space), diapers, a decent stash of snacks, and minimal toiletries (including a healthy collection of sunscreen), iPad Kindle and two iPhones and probably a few other things I am forgetting. We saved a lot of space by doing on pair of shoes each and by only packing summer clothes and wearing some warmer stuff to the airport.
The big moment finally came at 1 p.m. on Wednesday. Our friend and Cait's visiting teacher Karen did us the huge favor of driving us to the Chicago airport where fares are much cheaper than in Madison. It was kind of surreal getting under way, as it always is with any big trip, but we started all the same.
The kids were good in the car, although Tallulah was grumpy after she slept for a while. We checked in for the flight, went through security and the corralled kids for a while until the flight started. We didn't get the baby cot that we were hoping for for Tallulah (an which they had erroneously said was first come first serve on a phone call), but with some finagling we were at least able to get some seats next to each other, because we got split up when we changed to this flight (mainly in hopes of getting a baby cot).
|A photo from the plane if you can't tell.|
The first flight, which started at 7pm Madison time and dropped us off at 7am London time, went about as well as could be expected. Atticus played endless hours of iPad occasionally emerging to breath and pee, and eventually dropped in exhaustion after a few hours to sleep the rest of the flight. The period between the invention of flight and the invention of the iPad will always be seen as a dark period in the history of humankind. Tallulah was a little more difficult, being at an age where all she wants to do is explore and is little fascinated by things such as iPads (although Atticus was fascinated by iPads already at this age). So we reached for pretty much anything at hand to distract her, which mainly consisted of the crappy headphones they gave us, snacks and breast milk. She fell asleep a few hours in and slept fitfully for the rest of the night. Neither I nor Cait slept much, but enough that we were functional the next day.
In summary, Day 1: Drive to Chicago, fly to London.