Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Going International!

Thanks to Tulane's Executive MBA program, Jacob flew to Athens via Amsterdam on June 7th for an international course. The plan is for Cora and I to join him for two weeks of vacation while Jack has his own special adventures at "Grammy Camp" in SC.  Here's the run down on our adventures.

Day 0: Wednesday, June 12th

I can already tell that having Cora with us on this vacation is going to allow us an entirely different experience and perspective. She had me interacting way more with my fellow travelers than I would have on my own.

What happened: After spending a few days with my family, I left Jack for 12.5 days (!?!) in South Carolina at "Grammy Camp" (co-counselor: Big Papa), flew home to New Orleans, unpacked, repacked, ran errands, picked 68 blueberries off of our bush, and called Grammy Camp 3x to check in. Cora and I have just a one night NOLA stopover before our big flights tomorrow.

What was most memorable:

  • Saying goodbye to Jack, then leaving the security line and going to find him and my mom in the bathroom so I could say goodbye again (and get one more hug)
  • Travel Angel #1: My Myrtle Beach-Charlotte seat mate. At first glance, he didn't look like the most baby friendly guy, but he ended up spending his entire plane ride interacting with Cora and entertaining her.  And he even helped me realize she was about to throw up, allowing me to do a perfect catch in the barf bag.
  • Travel Angel #2: Charlotte-New Orleans US Airways flight attendant Greg Johnson - he plopped down beside me as we were getting settled to help settle Cora down and later came back by, took Cora on a walk and brought her back with a bag of cookies.

Day 1: Thursday, June 13th

What happened: Jacob and I had spent many hours searching for the “perfect” itinerary and had settled on me taking a one stop route through JFK to Athens, thus having as short an itinerary as possible since I’d be flying with Cora by myself. But we should have expected perfectly laid plans to not work out perfectly.  Due to delays, I was rerouted on a two stop itinerary through Atlanta and Rome.  In the end, it only added 3 hours to my trip, but it sent my luggage on a multi-day adventure.

What was most memorable: I almost need to thank Delta for the delays and rerouting because I don’t think there were better flight mates than the ones I ended up amongst. The only way Cora would go to sleep would be if I stood up and swayed with her in the Ergo. She’d nod off but then when I’d try to sit back down, she’d wake up and scream (because she was, after all, very tired.) For our 9 hour 18 minute flight, I didn’t get any sleep as Cora only slept for one 40 minute stretch and one fitful 1 hour stretch, most of which I was standing for. But it really wasn’t a bad trip because of the wonderful people around us.  Sitting beside us were a woman and her elderly mother on their way to Rome, who never got annoyed with Cora and kept remarking on how adorable her facial expressions were.  They would pick up things from my seat every time I approached, put up their trays for my cups, and talked to me.  Across the aisle were a retired military couple from Georgia and an older couple from Columbia, SC.  The men in these couples each took Cora on walks, let her hold their fingers, picked up things we dropped, gave her pretzels, and stood and talked with me while I was up with Cora. 

I was initially a little jealous of Jacob’s solo international flight.  The movies!  The reading!  The solitude! In 9 hours, I caught 20 minutes of a movie and read only 3 pages, but I also had the experience of interaction in a way I know I wouldn’t have if I’d been traveling alone.  I would have turned inward and Cora ensured I turned outward and we both got to see what lovely people our neighbors were.

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