My predictions came mostly true: I only slept about four hours the night before we left Tucson. We had so much to do on the 14th. We had a list of about 10-15 tasks that HAD to be done that day and were thwarted several times in our attempts to complete them, but we did it! We worked really well together in planning our day, driving route, time management, and communication. We were proud of ourselves. We even fit in a dentist appointment to fix a filling that had an air bubble in it and was causing me pain. My dentist came in on her day off to fix it for free! She is the best. Our reservation for Valentine’s dinner was at 5:00, we barely got home from storage at 4:45. We did the fastest quick change ever, no shower, no makeup. I realized that it really didn’t matter to me whether we stunk or not, just that we got to be together and relax. Afterwards, we had to drop off dad’s truck that we had borrowed and deliver the Land Rover to its new owner. Then we did the “weighing game” with our suitcases. Weigh it, take something out, weigh it, take something, out, etc. and repeat! Finally we got them at just under 50 pounds.
We woke at about 5:00 a.m. for my dad to pick us up at 6:00. We showered and ran around putting last minute things into the shed that did not make it to storage. (And we still left things in the closet!! Aggravating). We left the house pretty messy, which was embarrassing to me- I would have stayed up all night cleaning if P had not made me stop. There was just not enough time…We got to the airport and it was pretty hard to say goodbye to my father. I didn’t let myself cry, or even now, because I might not stop for a long time. It is very hard dealing with competing emotions: feeling very sad about leaving our lives and family and friends, and being excited about our adventure.
Check-in went relatively smoothly, except that we found out we could have checked two bags, not just one each. I knew it, but had forgotten, and I depended on my husband, who had looked up all the luggage requirements, to know about such things… (enough said). The flight to Atlanta went smoothly and I got some good pictures- I love taking pictures from airplanes! We had over a six hour layover there, so we had a sit-down lunch and then used the last hours on our iPhones, e-mailing people, posting on Facebook, and calling loved ones one last time. I bought three overpriced reusable nylon bags (which has been totally worth it while traveling and here in CT) to help carry our jackets and magazines. We boarded our flight to Johannesburg (Joburg), which was a 15 hour flight. We were in the middle row, which had three seats. To our luck, the third person moved and we had the whole row to ourselves. We each had our own touchscreens with many, many movies and television shows to choose from. Then last time I travelled abroad, I did not have such choices- very liberating! Also, we did not need to listen to a book on tape together, as we had planned. We do that because we can share the same amusement while on planes that do not have in-flight entertainment. I watched several episodes of The Many States of Tara, which has a character with Dissociative Identity Disorder, a Drew Barrymore movie called Going the Distance, Due Date (this movie made Pedro really laugh, so I watched it and was not impressed…) and The Social Network (which I fell asleep and woke up to many times, the language was a little over my head!- all those smart Harvard people…). The flight felt like it was so slooow and lasted way longer than 15 hours! We got to Joburg and had about an hour layover after going through customs and re-checking our baggage. That airport is very confusing, CT’s seemed much more logical. We were picked up by a taxi guy with a sign; he was very friendly and explained a few things to us. We went to a faculty residence hall first to pick up our keys and lease, then arrived at midnight to our new home! When we were changing into our pajamas, I noticed that both of our legs were swollen and puffy! It is slowly going away. P slept fairly well, but sleep was elusive for myself. I woke up at 2:30 a.m. and stayed awake until 4:00, then woke again at 5:30 a.m. Luckily, I was awake when the dogs arrived at 7:00 a.m. In the next post I’ll speak of our experience so far in CT.