Saturday, June 18, 2011

How It Went

After getting settled in the car and leaving metropolitan Nashville for the countryside surrounding it, my dad asked me if anything eventful happened on the flight. My reply was, "Oh, there's always some type of adventure on every flight!"
The three little ones I had with me fared very well. Sometimes I have to pinch myself when I think about what good little travelers I have. Flying 10,000 miles around the globe yearly with them makes me consider this often.
This year we had a different route which took us through Istanbul, then NYC, then on to Nashville. I'm sold on it, mainly because our first flight left at 8AM rather than the standard 6AM flight to Germany first. Being able to wake at 4:30AM was vastly better to me than the normal 2:30AM. It meant to me just losing one night's sleep instead of two.
Our first glitch came when we landed in Istanbul. They herded us off an exit at the back of the plane, sent us down a set of stairs, then put us on a people-mover bus to take us in to the airport. At that moment, I was counting backpacks and kids and totally forgot to get my stroller at the front of the plane. As soon as we got inside, I remembered. I went to the Lost and Found counter and gave them my luggage stub (thankfully it had been tagged). I got a very standard, Turkish "Five more minutes." about six times. Finally after about 25-30 minutes, I realized we might miss our connecting flight unless I just left the stroller. I began to be what I call a "nice pest" to the lady. She sort of jumped on my band wagon, got on her talkie, and got some action on the situation. Soon, it appeared. Whew.
Then we made our way through the Istanbul airport, arriving at our gate only about 25 minutes before takeoff. (Do you want all these details? I find the "airline recap" interesting, but perhaps not everyone does.) Somehow, someway, at this point, I was flagged as some type of security risk. Here I am laden with blankies, sippy cups, and webkinz, but must have somehow looked dangerous. Everyone was SUPER nice, but began putting little odd stickers on our passports and giving each other knowing looks. I proceeded through the metal detector, which I did not set off. (Big Ben thankfully did not pack his toy 9mm.) I was immediately pulled for a full body check. Then our bags were taken. I love knowing a bit of Turkish. They were saying things like, "It's just full of toys." ("Ha ha, take them," I thought, "Do you have any idea how many times I have already picked them up off the floor of the plane?") And then a second lady did a full body scan of me. Everyone was very nice, and I thanked them all for doing their job, perplexed as I was. Someone out there who understands this situation, tell me why. One of my bags had a sticker on it that it had been inspected. I can see was full of duffle bags to pack for the trip back to Turkey. We also had some little toy cars in one bag that have a tiny round magnet in them. Is that why?
The only other plausible reason I can give is that smack dab in front of me was someone who looked very much like he could have starred in one of those Osama Bin Laden training videos. Sorry to stereotype, but he did make me nervous. I wondered why he would choose to dress that way, flying into NYC, knowing the history of 911. Upon our arrival in NYC, I saw this man being escorted to the restroom by a police officer. I thought,"How nice, they are showing him where the bathroom is." Then I realized, they were preventing him from being alone in the restroom. As soon as his bags came off the belt, a group of policemen escorted him out for a special meeting. So, anyway, maybe because I happened to be his neighbor in the line, I was tagged so as not to make me feel left out!

We made our connections just fine. The kids were super. Turkish Airlines was super. (We each had our own screen with many movies from which to choose. Big Ben was real into getting to wear the headphones and press buttons.) Miss Middler got a bit sick, as she does anytime we fly for this long. Sweet Cheeks never uttered a complaint. Big Ben was fascinated by the entire thing...planes, suitcases being loaded on, takeoff, landing...I could go on and on.

And on the other side were two people who have loved me all my life, who go out of their way to welcome me each summer, and who think my kids are perfect. What more could I ask for?

I'm home! And by this time tomorrow, I'll have Campbell Clansman and my other two kiddos with me!


Deena said...

You are a travel hero! I'm always so impressed by you traveling alone with your kids.

This post unexpectedly made me cry - I was reading along and then the way you described your parents brought big tears to my eyes. I'm so glad you get to spend time with them each summer. Can't wait for your other 3 to make it here! Have a wonderful visit! Love ya friend!

Anonymous said...

I love the recaps also! I am so glad that you take time to write them. (What am I? A fan club? Ha.)

I enjoy the adventure. Sara . . . Who knows about the security thing. They did the same thing to Kathleen coming back into the US from France . . . She's like you and about as much of a security risk as my mother's apple pie. I mean, who looks more American than Kathleen?

Actually, they pulled her off because she did look like a farm girl and that was their concern with her - so they said . . . Anything on her shoes? Bringing any parasites, pests back? Also, in front of her was someone whom they did seem to suspect of something more serious and they were really giving the once over to in the same room they took Kathleen. They were tearing this woman's luggage apart, from what Kathleen said. So, I wonder if they pull you sweet innocent types in when you are close to someone they do suspect, just so they are not accused of stereo-typing??

As for stereo-typing . . . Pardon me, and you may disagree, but that is hogwash. I actually got into a "strong" discussion with the president of the ABA (Yes, that would be American Bar Assoc.) who was a woman. They have a man as president now. I won't go into the details on your blog but you can imagine.

You reminded me of that conversation. I was careful not to tell her I had a daughter in law school. Kathleen was thankful I didn't. Her exact words to me were, "Mom! How did you manage that???" :)

Anyway, glad you made it safely. I was all set not to read any blog news for a while. I totally relate to what you say about your mom and dad. So wonderful, isn't it? I know exactly what you're talking about.


Tara G. said...

We had the 3 a.m. wake up call for our flight on Tuesday- LONG day!!! We transferred at Schipol and ALL of us were patted down- seriously?! A 3 year old holding a diplomatic passport?!?!? We had a trip to the ER already. Wish TN was closer!!! Have a great time at home!

Kelley said...

aaahhh, welcome home. you are amazing! we're getting together this summer, right? find a time in your schedule and just tell me when ;) glad your trip was uneventful (overall) ~ k

NomadicOne said...

They do that on all flights to the US. Don't be alarmed their just doing their job. They are extra precautious on all flights straight to the US. Just because they have too.

The Niemeyer Nest said...

Welcome to TN! It sounds like a good trip although traveling with kids always has some stress. Hope the rest of your family had a good trip too.

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