In a week and a half's time, our children experienced all three modes of transportation mentioned in the post title for the very first time. I doubt many can say that!
We woke up at 1:15 in the morning in Moscow to get ready to begin our loooooooong journey home. The morning of our flight home from the second trip was much different. Though we set our alarm, we slept past the buzzing and nearly missed being picked up by our driver at 3:30 in the morning. We rushed to get ready in 20 minutes and were out the door. With this last trip and with three checked luggage items (clothes for four for more than a week!), two children and all the food, snacks, toys and diapers that go along with them, we were sure we were up and not rushed. So, after about two and a half hours of sleep, our driver picked the four of us up and we are on our way home!
He drove us past Red Square. It was absolutely GORGEOUS in the winter night, all lit up. The Kremlin was very impressive and St. Basil's has a beauty the likes of which are not easy to come by. Unfortunately we don't have any photos from Moscow, but we'll make it back. Hopefully our kiddos will be better sleepers at that time and we can go stomach virus-free.
The Moscow airport is HUGE! Being originally from Chicago and having flown out of 'Hare countless times, I was expecting it to be large, but it surpassed even my imagination.
Our first leg was to Munich. Both kids were asleep for their first take-off, which eased my nerves a bit as I was worried about the change in air pressure giving them problems. Or second flight was the longest. Munich to D.C. The seats which we were originally assigned had us split up. Derek asked the wonderful Lufthansa (oh how I wish they flew domestic in the US!) employees and they worked their magic. Not only were we able to all sit together (D and B in the two seats by the window and me with C on my lap across the aisle), but they bumped us up to economy plus seating, which offers more leg room. Nice! Celia was particularly taken with the Ukrainian man sitting next to us. I think it was his mustache... Both kiddos slept about four of the eight hour flight. Mama and Papa were able to snooze a bit too. Using the changing "table" in the lavatories wasn't as much of a nightmare as I expected. I'd say the only negative part of the flight was when C spilled an entire can of ginger ale on me. Things could have been much worse, wouldn't you say? Sure, they both cried a little, but it didn't last long. They were great.
In D.C. we went through immigration, where our babies officially became US citizens! We handed over our sealed (but perhaps a tad bit chewed on by our teething little angel) envelope to the officer and she stamped away. We all cheered when the final stamps were made on their US Visas in their Russian passports, making it official. Yay!
Several security check points and elevator rides later, we were getting ready to finally board our plane home! Unfortunately, the service on this flight (United) was by far the worst. I actually wanted to file a complaint on our stewardess, but overheard her refuse to give her name to someone else who asked for it. The physically handicapped passenger who conversed with her later told me he was asking so that he could file a complaint as well. Oh well. I let the comments and her attitude get to me for a few minutes, calmly expressed my disappointment, and then focused on the excitement that was to come.
Our homecoming was truly amazing! Our most supportive friends and family were waiting at the airport with signs, smiles, cheers and hugs. My heart welled up even more than I thought it could. To sample just part of the love and excitement, check out our story that was featured on our local news station. My brother- and father-in-law I believe were behind getting the station there. Though I wasn't looking forward to being on TV after a 26 hour journey, I'm so glad we'll have this to share with our kiddos when they get older. I need to burn a CD!
I was also just informed that our beautiful story was featured on HLN and CNN. If anyone catches it, will you please let us know? The Hunters made national news!
Okay, so I'm a few days behind in blogging. I hope to catch up tomorrow or the next day. Our first day home was tiring but oh-so-wonderful. Today was tough. I suppose any day that includes a trip the emergency room isn't a day in the park...
More to come!