Thursday, August 14, 2008

On the Road Again

I honestly didn't mean to be so vague in my last post about our last vacation of the summer. My intention was to do a quick post about our upcoming trip, but as it always does, time flew by and before I knew it we were on the plane headed to Venezuela. Yep, we're in Venezuela, South America. For those who may not know, I'm an MK (missionaries' kid), and my parents are still in Venezuela. What prompted this trip was the fact that my parents are retiring next year, so we would not be able to come to Venezuela and have a free place to stay, plus it's been 10 years since I've been "home" and we still could fly one kid for "free"- with some minor fees.

I consider myself a seasoned traveler having flown since I was a toddler and made this treck from the States to Venezuela many, many times. What threw me for a loop and kept me packing and preparing franticly for an entire week (in addition to school shopping since both of my girls start school less than a week after we get home) was traveling with 3 small children. Thankfully I had a few friends who were able to give me tips for traveling with young kids, but what made my stomach do the most loops was 1.) that we were having to drive 7 hours to the airport- we saved a significant amount by doing that and 2.) that our flight was an overnight flight- we left at 1 a.m. and arrived in Caracas at 9:30 a.m.

We hit the road at 10 a.m. for JFK Int Airport in New York City. On our way there we did stop by and visit some dear friends of mine, the Schloneckers, who hosted us in their home for a few hours (broke up the long drive) and gave us a great route to JFK. We got to JFK just before 9 p.m., checked in with the airline, stood through a headache of a line for security and had about 1 1/2 hours to spare while waiting to board the plane. The kids were entertained by running around the terminal (we were always close by) and exhausted themselves before the flight. I had them change into their pj's and brushed their teeth shortly before we boarded. Fortunately just as they flight started to take off all three kids fell asleep. Unfortunately for whatever reason the flight attendants started handing out food at 2 a.m. and my husband woke me and the youngest two up by excitedly declaring that they were serving a meal. What can I say, men and their stomachs! I was thankful that we all fell back asleep, although since I was holding my son I didn't sleep quite as well.

We had a 1 1/2 hour layover in Bogota, Colombia, which seemed a little short to me, but our flights were on time. Our flight left at 7 a.m. and my son cried practically the entire hour and a half. This time I made my husband hold him. D was just tired and wanted to be done with this nonsense. Upon our arrival in Caracas we made it through customs and got our bags in record time. My parents were even caught by surprise since the arrival board said that our flight had not yet arrived.

Needless to say, we were thrilled to make it in one piece, luggage, kids and all. Our travels went smoother than I had expected, and even the long drive and odd flight hours worked in our favor. We have a week left here in Venezuela and at this point I can't even put into words how much fun we're having. I'll post pictures in the future, but no guarentee that I'll write before we return to the states.