Thursday, November 27, 2008

Travel back to Lithuania Part 2

The reality of what was before me sunk in fast. Sure we could take the free bus to the terminal we needed to go to, but the reatity was that we would still need two carts when we got to our destination. It cost 6 bucks already to get these carts and it wasn’t like I was rolling in the dough or anything. Plus, I would have to load 6 bags, 4 carry-ons and 2 children onto and off of the bus all by myself. I don’t think so.... The only real option was to walk. The woman said it was a 10 minute walk. Assuming it would be for any normal person so we would need at least half an hour. Who knows how many breaks a 4 year old with a split open chin might need and would the 6 year old be able to keep up the pushing.

We made our way out the door. I was determined to put out of my mind all the on lookers who were forming opinions about us and our vast baggage enterauge and the embarousing fact that we just spent the better part of an hour in the wrong line. This was not turning out to be our day, but for some odd reason I was in high spirits. I guess that was the adrenoline kicking in and the fact that I would do anything to keep a cry fest from happening. I wouldn’t be able to handle the emotional breakdown of two small children right now and I’ve had enough psychology to know that if mama’s okay the kids are good to go. So here we are on our adventure!

We push through the automatic doors and I see our first challenge. A downward sloping grade to the main sidewalk. If we don’t navigate this just right we will loose our carts to gravity. Deep breath, we begin. Hevenlee in front so I can see her and Sonshyne in back so I can catch her cart if I need to. As we just get started the top bag on Sonshyne’s cart falls to the ground........ok. How to secure my cart on the slope to not break free while I reorganize the bags on her cart to be more stable. Somehow, I get my cart in a good spot. I move the bags on the cart to support the top one and just as I lean down to lift the bag, some kind soul rushes over to help me lift the bag onto the top. As we lift I feel this ripping , burning pain in the tip of my right finger. I know immediatelly that my nail has just bent all the way back from grabbing the bag so quickly. Usually when that happens, it flipps back down after letting go of the bag, but with bag in place and a gracious thank you sent to the kind stranger i realize the pain is still there I look down and see that it has folded back well beyond the nail connecting point. Youch, I just fold it back to the way it is supposed to be and determine to attend to it later. There was no blood so it will keep for later.

We made it to the sidewalk with no further occurances. This should be the easy part right? I take a look down the long sidewalk before us. There are several obsticals in our path. Collumns, benches, people and their baggage. It won’t be easy but we can do this. I am just hoping the sidewalk is accessable the whole way through. I rattle off a few instructions to the girls. Hevenlee is to continue to lead or walk beside me pulling the computer bag. I will push my cart and pull Sonshyne’s cart and she is just to push until I say otherwise. We would form a train. Off we went, chugging along. So far so good. We soon pass the doors we entered upon arrival. Our 4th time past these doors today and last.

Boy were we a sight! I have never been more encouraging in all my life. I kept telling the girls how good they were doing and that I could see the number 4 terminal sign now. We were getting there and they were doing great. What troopers and wouldn’t daddy be so proud of them when we see him. A few ‘excuse me’s’ and ‘coming through’ and ‘would you mind moving your things’ and terminal 5 came into view. A bus load of business people began unloading from a bus onto the sidewalk before us. I shouted ahead if they would mind letting us through and they quickly and graciously complied. We wisked by them and I saw compassion on thier faces. That felt nice.

I was gettin hot in all the warm clothes I had on in order to free up space in our luggage and to be ready for the cold weather we would surely encounter upon our return to Lithuania. I could feel the heat under my shirt. I was wearing a poyester shirt and it was not breathing well. It would soon be drenched at this pace, but I was still enjoying the warm weather.

I announce that I could see terminal 6 in the distance. Just ahead was a place in the side walk that sloped down to the streets. We had to be very careful of these slopes not to catch a wheel on them or they would take our cart off the sidewalk and into the street. If we snugged to the right at these points there was just the right amount of room for our little train to make it through. There wasn’t much room for passing anyone here. Our momentum was good and it would not be easy to stop this train. I could see a woman coming with her luggage and I called ahead for her to please let us come through. We would emerge onto the sloping part of the sidewalk at the same time. She looked and I began to see she had no intention of stopping at all. I wasn’t going to stop at this point, we were commited. I was more than irritated with the woman for not noticing that pushing herself through at this point would be rude and could send us careaning into the street and I said so as we passed. It didn’t acure to me until later that the woman may not have understood English or known our customs. Maybe she didn’t know the polite thing to do would be to pause a moment after noticing our large load and let us pass through.

I have blown it culturally many times in Lithuania. Even just moments ago while writing this, the cleaning woman at the car repair shop where I am sitting stopped to give me a piece of her mind. I moved my legs off the couch assuming that is what was bothering her and told her that I didn’t understand Lithuanian. Sometimes it is nice not to be able to understand the goings on of someone elses verble vomit. She was not a happy woman. She went over to the reception woman around the corner to voice her complaint against me. She obviously needed someone to validate her state of mind.

As for myself. after giving the woman, that didn’t let us pass, a piece of my mind and seeing that she did not even give me the time of day I too looked around for someone to agree with me in this injustice. I found the face nearest us and imagined the look on it was in aggreement with me and I felt better. I am not much differant from the woman at the car repair shop.

A few minutes later turminal 7 came into view. We were almost there and I began to say so. The girls cheered and there was new life in our little train. We would soon have rest.

We came to our terminal and entered the automatic doors and began searching for the line we needed. Why can’t they make these lines more informative. Do i get in the e ticket line, self check or what? I don’t want to stand in the wrong line again but I don’t want to stand around trying to figure it out while people file past me. I just don’t travel enough to feel comfortable to pick a line. Besides it was only 2 hours ago that proved I wasn’t much of a picker and I was absolutely sure about that one! I couldn’t stand that I was already getting passed up by several travelors who seemed to be more sure of themselves than I, so I dragged us into the self check line. I sure hope this is the right one. Just as I was about to pull through the open space that would move us up an entire length of line an airline attendent closed the space and forced me to take all our luggage the long way around this miserable Disneyland line. He was rewarded with a “Hey, thanks!” from me. My cheerful demeaner and tolerance was quickly fading. A few people pushing past me and surveying our baggage mentioned under their breath that the airline was being a stickler on weight and luggage limits. That didn’t help.

As we pushed forward in the line I began to settle. The girls were still in good spirits. The middle aged business man behind me would soon regret giving me the information I asked for because since the silence was broken between us I felt compelled to give him the specifics of all we had just endure in the last 2 hours. He kindly listened. What else was he to do, he was stuck in line behind a crazy woman with too much luggage and 2 little girls and he was a gentlman after all.

I got to the self check screen and began the crazy process of doing the airlines work for them and not feeling jipped in any sense. After a few miss attempts i was able to get the hang of it and got us all checked in. We then waited for the man to come to our station and check our bags. This was the moment I was waiting for. Would all my maticulous weighing and rearanging of our bags the night before pay off now? I lined them up and one by one lifted them to the weighing station. 50 lbs, 50 lbs, 50 lbs, 50 lbs, 49.5 lbs, 50 lbs. “Alright!” I squeeled with delight. I tried not to think of how i could have sqeezed .5 more into one of the bags, but this success needed a high five and since my husband wasn’t around the baggage checker would have to do. He abliged me and gave me the high five I was looking be continued


Jeremy said...

No way... all of your bags weighed 300 lbs. total. I seriously would have been crying a long time ago. To be honest, I couldn't have done it at all or I would have begged some airport personnel to help me. Wow, I feel a woman of the year award coming for you, that is just amazing! What a story.

Christine said...

I am loving this story Sophi! Keep it coming, I have to know that you made it onto the airplane with no more bleeding, missing fingernails or tears. You are superwoman!

Anonymous said...

From your facebook page I was lead to your blog. I could imagine exactly what the experience you went through. God is good.