Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Switch - Part I

Tuesday, Jan 17, 2:30 a.m. (Eastern time), 40,000 feet

It's negative 75 degrees fahrenheit outside. But that's to be expected where we are. I woke just now and peered out the window to find an amazing night scene before me. The (waxing?) moon and stars blaze out of the black sky and thousands of feet below us there is a carpet. A thick cloud layer obscures any sight of the ground and sends a beautiful reflection of moonlight back up at me. It looks like a sea of silver.

This, I thought to myself, is worth waking up for.

My hubby in the seat beside me seems to have other priorities; he gives a polite look and nod before returning to sleep. And I can't blame him, it's been quite the day. Where did it start? Oh yes, late Sunday night when we were still up, surrounded by stuff to be packed, still trying to figure out where we would go the next day.

It looked like this pretty much all week. I like to call it the "staging area".
The plan, of course, was Australia. Not only is it not populated entirely by criminals, but is populated by some very dear friends, and wombats (super cute), and it's in the southern hemisphere (super cool). Clearly it would be silly not to go. But when we start looking at flight loads (number of passengers) we notice a distressing pattern. Sunday, 10 available seats, 25 people signed up. Monday, 7 available seats, 53(?!) available people signed up. Tuesday, less seats, more people.

It slowly began to dawn on us that we were not the only ones with this good idea. Whatever seats were left open on these planes were being scooped up by Delta peeps way up the priority list from us. And then finally it clicked, Australia = warm in January, The Midwest = cold. These folks were escaping January blues by heading south. In a way we couldn't blame them, we thought it was a grand idea ourselves. But with each passing hour it looked less and less likely that we'd make there at all.

At this point I must confess to going to bed in something of a funk. It was 1 a.m. and I had no idea how the first day of our vacation would turn out happily. But nine hours and a gracious husband do wonders; at 10 a.m. I finally awoke in a more hopeful frame of mind. After a leisurely shower, I waddled online again and began to wonder if there were other places we could go for a few days. I pulled up a couple of hopeful spots in Europe and finally found some flights that looked wide open.

10:48 a.m. I show Josh my hopefuls; other that noting that we'd need to catch a Indy-JFK flight that was quite soon, he thought they looked lovely.

10:53 a.m. We batted around pros and cons of doing such a switch til Josh finally asked,
"You wanna do this?"
"Yeah, let's do this."
"Ok, we need to leave, um... soon."

I started to work the math backwards: 1:30 flight - 1 hr to get through the airport - we need to be there at 12:30. It can take 1hr.15min. to drive there so we need to leave...
uh oh. Soon.

I'm not quite sure how we got our staging area into 2 bags, travel clothes onto 2 selves, and still walked out the door without leaving anything major. I think God was having mercy on two novice world travelers. Nevertheless, little more than an hour later found us at our gate for JFK, confirmed seat tickets in hand, and happy to start our adventure.

Tuesday, 2:40 a.m.
I look outside again. Earlier there was a streak of grey on the horizon so light that I thought it must be a reflection on the glass. Now it is most certainly the morning, a ribbon of blue wanting to turn orange. The flight attendants come around and serve breakfast and it's tough work getting my tummy not to revolt. After all, they only served us dinner 4 hours before. And anyways, where we are going it's already breakfast time for sure.

And where is that?

Ireland, of course.

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