Saturday, August 3, 2013

Inspiration from a Spectacle

What a sight: 2 backpacks, a stroller, a rolling suitcase, a violin, a 3-year-old and a 1-year-old, a child's backpack and a cat. And that was just the carry-ons.

I sometimes try to give myself "un peu de recul," in otherwords, to back up and see myself with a bit of perspective. It was fairly easy to see the circus we resembled during our 24-hour journey from France to the USA.

Normally, we don't travel like that. But this time, we were moving, actually leaving Europe and settling in the New World.

We had thought it'd be much more romantic, and possibly cheaper, to cross the Atlantic on a cargo ship like real immigrants. A friend said they always had a few berths for guests. However, the trip takes 2 weeks, is as expensive as airfare (especially since the ship doesn't make a stop in Kansas), and small children are not allowed. Goodbye, Ellis Island dream!

So we made a spectacle of ourselves on 3 flights. We really did try to diminish our problems. Like not bringing the cat. But she seen us through a lot, been sweet and gentle to rowdy toddlers and when we say we are going home, we always say, "We're going home to the cat." She had to come with us on our flights, otherwise it was a ticket worth its weight in diamonds. But she was in the special cargo hold room for all but the last flight. The violin coudn't ride in cargo or it would have cracked with cold and abuse. Apparently, the children couldn't ride down there either.
The other child was in a baby carrier on me!

Our blessed USA requires baggage to all be claimed and rechecked on arrival from international flights. We had made it through Customs and Immigration, and now found ourselves with all the above-mentioned carry-ons, plus 6 checked bags. We managed 2 luggage carts and were able to recheck the bags before introducing our son to McDonald's.

All we needed to do was our hotel's shuttle, get in, sleep, catch the shuttle back in the morning and get back on the airplane with the violin, cat, toddler act. It all went great, until our flight was overbooked. We spent the day exploring O'Hare airport, settling in at a Starbucks until we could finally, finally take the final plane to our final destination. Finally.

Through it all, what amazed and blessed me was the perspective of everyone around us. They saw our need and helped. They smiled at the tired children, peered at the cat, asked who played the violin, hoisted backpacks onto the security conveyor belts.

No one had a single unkind word for our craziness. I will remember this and pay it forward the next time I see someone making a hopeless spectacle of themselves.


  1. Usually we're just glad it's not us having to tow everything. I admire you guys for managing all that, especially the cat!

    Hope you like your new home. Good luck getting settled.

  2. Sounds like quite the marathon! Welcome back to the US!

  3. Sounds like one heck of a trip. Hope the settling in is going well. :-)