Tuesday, March 20, 2012

An "Uneventful" Trip and Arrival

On the day of the flight, we got up and, immediately after getting ready, headed to the airport to check in.  Our flight was not until 7:30 pm, but we were checking 11 bags, plus a stroller and a carseat, so we wanted to check in very early.  I felt sorry for the American Airlines employee who had to help us as she struggled to figure out how to charge us for extra bags and overweight baggages (we had four seats, so we could only have eight bags, under 50 pounds each, for free).  Checking in took over an hour, so I am thankful that we did it that morning instead of waiting until two hours before the flight (thank you to Mark for insisting that we check in that morning!)

After checking ourselves in, we attempted to check Mia in for her flight (for that story, see my previous post).  Then, we spent a few hours resting in the hotel room before heading back to the airport.  In addition to the large number of bags that we checked, we also took 8 carry ons (2 each) and a carseat with us, so Mark and I had full hands navigating through the airport!

As we were preparing to move, one of the things that scared me the most was the prospect of flying to Zambia with two little children (our girls are 3 1/2 and 18 months).  The trip involved an almost 10-hour flight from Dallas to London, a 9-hour layover in London, and another 10-hour flight from London to Lusaka.  I had horrible fears that the girls would scream and yell for the 20 hours of flight time and that we would get kicked off the plane.  Luckily, that did not happen.  In fact, the trip can best be described as "uneventful".  Abigail (our oldest) slept for most of both flights.  Charlotte slept most of the first flight and struggled to sleep during the second flight; however, she happily played and cuddled quietly for the three hours that she was awake in the middle of the night.  We only received a few nasty looks from other passengers and a few people even commented on how good the girls were.  I cannot even begin to tell you how thankful I am that the flights went so well!

Our flight landed in Lusaka at about 6:45 yesterday (Monday morning).  After spending about thirty minutes in line, we got our visas and were officially allowed to enter the country.  Mark's work visa has not yet cleared, so we were only issued 28-day visitor visas for now.  

As soon as we left the visa area and headed to baggage claim, we were bombarded with "help" collecting and transporting our baggage.  By the time that all of our bags had been collected, there were 8 people helping us (which was twice as many as was necessary to push the 4 carts).  On our way out of the airport, we were stopped by customs and asked if we had anything to declare.  We said "no", but the lady was skeptical.  She asked why we had so much luggage and what was in our bags.  Our answer of "we are moving here" and "our luggage contains clothes, toys, household materials" did not satisfy her and she sent us for additional screening.  When we were told to open a bag for searching, I immediately thought that they were going to look at each of our suitcases (which would mean a LONG delay in leaving the airport), but they glanced into the one suitcase and then sent us on our way.

As soon as we got outside, the office manager from Mark's company and the company driver met us.  They took us to our temporary home where we spent a few hours resting before we began the process of getting settled into our new home.  Over the next few weeks, I will be posting about our new home and the experiences we are having as we settle into our life in Lusaka.

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