Hey, everyone! We made it! We’ve been here in Japan for about a week and we’re fairly adjusted to the massive time change. We’re starting to get our bearings in other ways, too (although it’s going to take a while for me to get used to driving on the left).
We moved out of our old house (WHICH, by the way, we have not sold…anyone house-shopping in the area please contact me for my realtor’s number…) at the end of January and spent two monotonous weeks in the temporary housing in Texas before our trip. A combination living room/kitchenette starts to get reeeeally small after a few days, even if you do have cable. That base isn’t really set up for long-term stays in Temporary Lodging…we had to get special permission to stay more than ten days. Fortunately time marches on and the day arrived for us to fly out.
We got up at 4 am and crammed two adults, two kids, two carseats and more luggage than even Greg, the Ultimate Packer, believed possible (we overpacked a smidge, but I don’t think that was an unforeseeable result of telling us to pack ‘everything all of you are going to need for a month…or two…plus an international plane trip and two opposite climates’) into a rented Dodge Avenger (“full size,” yeah right) and drove up to the airport. I was very, very concerned about getting our massive pile of luggage through the airport. Apparently, though, they have people you can pay to do that for you! Who knew? We paid several people a lot of money to take care of that for us. I don’t even know how much, and really? I don’t care. We had enough trouble getting the boys and four pieces of carryon luggage (plus two carseats, don’t forget) through security without just collapsing.
Max did not like the security check, at all. He was crying before we got to the point where we had to take our shoes off, and when we surrendered all of our baggage and sent it away on a conveyor belt he had an absolute breakdown. I could see him just crumble when the suitcases went away. He had really latched onto them; they were the only things that we kept when they took everything from our house, we took them with us to the TLF, we took them with us in the rental car, and on the shuttle bus, and in the airport…and suddenly they were gone. In the press we didn’t even have much time to reassure him. Greg picked him up to carry him through the metal detector – and they set it off. They came back, he checked his pockets, they went back through – and he set it off again. You only get two tries, I guess, so he and Max were rushed into a little clear-walled room right behind the metal detector to wait for further screening while they let more people thorugh the detector. Charlie and I went through without incident but I wasn’t allowed to wait with them, even though Max was bawling and struggling to get to me. I started moving our belongings from the conveyor belt to the large bench beside it while Greg and Max were moved about 15 feet away to get checked with a wand. (It’s a good thing I did, too – while I was moving things someone else’s laptop got pitched out of its container, off of the conveyor belt, and hit the floor. A security person walking by stopped, picked it up, brushed it off, and then tossed it back in its container with a shrug. Just to clarify, it didn’t fall out because I was moving things. I still kind of can’t believe that happened.) Anyway, as it turned out, Greg had one of Max’s toy cars in the pocket of his hoodie, which he’d forgotten to check. Also, for anyone concerned about air travel – I didn’t know when to take out the fluids and put them in a bag; they never asked me to, so I never did. So much for security.
After a very, very long walk from there to our terminal, we sat down with the kids and revived their spirits with some hot wheels and a nutri-grain bar and watched the airplanes out the window.
This gripping saga will be continued another day…possibly with photos!