The Great Relocation

Kids,

I have to say, moving the family overseas was a very exciting experience that we really looked forward to accomplishing.  I can also say that the 24hrs of travel with the three of you was something that haunted me in my sleep.

As we mentioned in a previous post, we started out our adventure by flying down to Florida and spending time at Disney World and the 2017 CII Annual Conference at the JW Marriott Grand Lakes.

We woke up the morning of August 3rd with two goals for the day:  One, get to the airport and complete the interviews for Global Entry and Two, get all the luggage and bodies to the airport in time to catch our first leg of travel to Mumbai.

The first trip to the airport was uneventful because we weren’t traveling with all our luggage.  Once we reached the airport, we quickly found our way to the right place for the interview.  The Global Entry process was actually pretty smooth and the directions were great.

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Waiting for our interviews.

When scheduling the interviews they didn’t have 5 time slots available back to back, and the instructions said that everyone needed to have an appointment.  We worried about being able to get all the interviews done at the same time, and ended up waiting outside the door for the agent.  Once the agent came out they quickly helped us through the process and allowed us to complete the interviews as a family so we were in and out in maybe 20 minutes.  It was awesome.

With the interviews completed so quickly, we ended up having way more time than we thought.  We stuck around the airport for another 30 minutes before deciding that we needed to run off some energy back at the hotel before returning.

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Craft Time!

We had already checked out of our hotel room that morning, but lucky for us the hotel was awesome and had a lot of options for us to keep busy while we waited.  They had an area by the pool house that had a pool table, foosball table, and ping pong table.  They also happened to have a kids craft event going on which you were able to participate in.

After finishing the planters (the craft activity at that time) we made our way to the pool house for lunch.  The food was great, but the upcoming trip was really pre-occupying.

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Lunch at the Pool House

After lunch, we gathered our things and collected our bags, for the third time, and headed back to the airport to catch our flight to Boston.  Each time we moved all of our things the process got a little less overwhelming.

In my career I’ve traveled a lot, however most of my travels were on Southwest Airlines, although I had some experiences with United, American, and Delta.  On our flight to Boston we flew Spirit Airlines, and every airline has something different about their process and procedures.  We can say that checking in our bags was a pretty uneventful process.  It really helped that we showed up to the airport 4 hours before our flight.  Remember, never miss an international flight.  Rule #1 of international travel.

After making our way to the gate we had plenty of time, so we stopped by to have a nutritious snack before the flight, ice cream.  The flight departed around 4pm and we boarded with no complications.

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Preflight Ice Cream!

For the first time traveling we had a car seat, and it didn’t exactly work out as we had planned.  At only 1 year old, this entire process turned out to be very overwhelming for you Madelyn.  We had no trouble installing the seat in all the planes, but had a terrible time getting you to sit in the car seat without crying.

The layover at Boston was rather short so we really only had time to hit the bathrooms and walk down to the connected terminal to find our gate.  I will say that the Boston airport has a great setup for transferring from domestic to international flights.

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In Boston looking for our ‘Big Plane’

After arriving at the gate we learned that our seats were not fully reserved and they split one of us apart from the group.  We were not happy, but after talking with the gate agent we were able to move all of us to a new spot that would allow for us all to be together.

The plane got left a little later than planned, but we had a large enough layover in Doha that we weren’t worried.  Some time out of a plane was going to be a good thing for you three.  Johnathon and Christopher spent most of the time looking out the window for our plane and watching football and Madelyn crawled back and forth on the couches.

After boarding the plane we found our seats, got the carseat installed, and proceeded to show you how the entertainment system works.

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Spoiled….we know.

I know what you’re thinking, but most international flights these days have entertainment systems in the head rests to help make the long flights at least mildly bearable.  This flight was going to be 13hrs in the air so the plane had onflight entertainment in all classes of the flight.

As I mentioned earlier, the majority of my travels have been on Southwest.  I like the simplicity in their entire process.  There aren’t any assigned seats, no business class, and generally good pricing on tickets from the Kansas City Airport. So shifting to international flights was odd for me when all of a sudden I was flying business class.

We thought a lot about business class vs coach.  My company provides business class tickets for all international travel, and relocation of the family met the requirements.

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Madelyn just had to sit with us.

So back to the question…should we spoil you all for life when it comes to expectations of air travel?  Ok, we thought about it, but not for long.

Overall you boys did great, watching moves, coloring, and even sleeping on the flight over.  The 13hrs went much faster than I expected.  Madelyn on the other hand couldn’t have been in her seat for more than 30 minutes the entire flight.  She spent the flight playing with mom and sleeping next to dad.

We arrived in Doha the next day and proceeded to prepare ourselves for the 3hr layover.  Your mother and I have been in the Doha airport before and had a plan for our layover.  Step 1, get you three to one of the several playgrounds located throughout the airport.  They really have the traveling family taken care of.  Step 2, move everyone from the playground to the Business Lounge where they had family rooms and toy rooms out of the way from other business travelers.

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Giant Bear Sculpture in Doha International Airport

The lounge was really hit or miss, and who can blame you all.  The sleep you did get was probably not that great and we were all exhausted.  But we made it through and made it to our terminal in plenty of time to board the plane with our group.

The last leg of the trip was a 4hr flight from Doha to Mumbai.  We tried to get some sleep on this flight since the arrival time into Mumbai was 2:30am local time.  It was also hit or miss.

We landed in Mumbai and proceeded to make our way through customs.  After a small setback we were through and on our way to the baggage claim.  Back to handing all the luggage.  We found most of the bags within the first 5 minutes of looking, and the remaining bags seemed to be the very last bags off the plane.

We went through the second security check to exit the airport (security is a way of life here in India so lots of checkpoints) and found Nilam – the manager of the transportation company that we were using for our car and driver.  Our driver, up until that point, was unknown to us so Nilam made sure he was at the airport to be a familiar face.  Nilam directed us to the cars where we met Ajay, our driver, and Umesh, Burns & McDonnell’s driver.  We needed two cars to get all of us from the airport to the apartment and we used every last inch of space.

We reached the apartment around 4:30am and immediately put you kids down for a power nap.  When shifting almost 12 times zones, the best approach is to ease into the new time.  We slept from say 5am to around 11am when we woke everyone up to start the transition process.  We landed on a Saturday morning and the days that followed are a blur, but we got some good photos.

School started on the following Monday. 😳

Love,

Mom and Dad

 

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