Well, where did I leave off? After completely emptying our home the night before, my wife and I woke up early the next morning to handle a boatload of things. We first picked up a rental car, then I followed her to a dealership in that rental to sell her car. After selling her car we then came back home only to find to our surprise our new tenant and property manager in the driveway ready to do a walkthrough of our property. Needless to say we still had bags and luggage strewn throughout so we hustled to get it out of the house while the tenant and property manager toured the space. We were lucky to be able to store some luggage at a neighbor’s home as it all could not fit into our rented vehicle. Once finished with all of this, we then headed to my wife’s hometown to visit friends and family and initiate a week of goodbyes and “see you laters”. From that Saturday through Thursday, we were able to catch up with a variety of old friends, reminisce with close family and make lasting memories with all of our loved ones.
When Thursday evening came it was business time! We headed back to Atlanta to check into the hotel, drop off any baggage already in the car, pick up all eight remaining baggages from our neighbor who stored for us, returned to the hotel to unload, then finally returned the rental car to the airport and took the hotel shuttle back to the hotel… all with two small kids. Whew! After this, we did our best to catch sleep (never happened) knowing that we would begin our journey across the world early the next morning.
Bright and early at 5:15am we woke and gathered all of our eight checked bags, 4 carry ons, and 3 personal bags to place on a hotel cart (15 bags are difficult to fit). Clumsily we rolled that cart down the hotel hallways and elevators with our two kids trailing behind. Upon reaching the outside curb of the hotel I was greeted by the shuttle driver explaining we had “too much baggage” for him to carry and that he could only drop us off at the domestic terminal, leaving us to find our way of getting our luggage to international. Luckily he knew a limo driver who knew a private shuttle driver. BOOM. In 5 minutes a black Chevy Suburban was there to save the day. The gentleman quickly loaded our things and took us to the international terminal. We graciously tipped and checked those eight bags and attempted our hands at carrying the remaining seven bags with an airport cart. Unfortunately we were informed you cannot use these airport carts inside and we struggled to carry them ourselves whilst trying to keep children in line. Luckily a woman with TSA said, “Shuga, get yourself a wheelchair and help yourself out” or something to that effect. We balanced all seven bags on a wheelchair and attempted to make our way through security. We got a few dirty looks considering we had no one in need of a wheelchair but it saved the day. Once through security we made our way to the gate to depart to Toronto.
After arrival in Toronto, we had to go to the baggage claim and collect all checked bags to be rechecked and moved over to another belt to transfer them to our next flight (we flew from Delta to China Eastern Airlines). A nice gentleman aka a porter did all this work for us which was MUCH NEEDED and we tipped him graciously. Afterwards, we had a five hour layover. This gave us time to decompress and prepare for the LONGEST FLIGHT of my life aka a flight from Toronto to Shanghai (15 hours).
Once in Shanghai I we realized exactly how difficult the language barrier could be. We got off the plane in the middle of the tarmac not knowing where to go to catch of connection. We asked a few people who worked for China Eastern but could not get a straight answer due to the fact they did not understand our questions completely. We had our two kids and sever other bags to carry, as well as our two carseats. The people from China Eastern said they would transfer the carseats to the next plane for us. Awesome! We followed the movement of others and caught a bus on the tarmac that took us to the international arrivals gate. After a 3 hour layover we caught our last 4 hour flight to Bangkok.
Once in Bangkok we were able to gather all eight checked bags (hell yeah, nothing lost!) but could not find the carseats. This is an instance where I have realized the kindness of Thai people. A gentleman who worked with baggage claim search EVERYWHERE for our carseats and even took a picture of a picture I had on my phone to try to identify them. After nearly 30 minutes of his searching we told him we had to leave as we had someone waiting to pick us up from the airport. He led us to the airport offices and they took down our info so they could send them to us should they find them. He then carried our things all the way out of the airport and to the van that our driver arrived in. WOW! Over the top! Such kindness. And now here we are…. in Thailand. Something we have prepared for for months. It’s VERY REAL NOW.