The Paulsens head Stateside – Part 3 – Chicago to New Hampshire

The idea behind flying to Chicago and stopping for a day was to allow everyone to decompress after the long haul flight.  Chicago was a shock to our systems after the warm weather in Australia and New Zealand.  It was cold! We knew it would be and had our winter jackets, hats and gloves with us but the weather in Chicago is biting.  We decided to get buses and trains in to the city and go to the Children’s museum.  It was a great adventure for the kids on the way in but we soon discovered that we may have left it a bit too long to leave to get back to the hotel.  We looked into Uber and Lyft and all sorts of other options but without car seats, we were out of luck so began the nearly 2 hour haul back to the hotel.  It was dark, cold and we were hungry.  Eliot dropped us back at the hotel and then had to turn around and go to the store for milk for Monty while I ordered pizza to the room.  Super long day on top of jet lag and that rip through you cold.  So much for the decompression.

The next day we flew out to Boston.  Fortunately Eliot’s brother, Leighton was also due to fly in to Boston on the same day after being away on business.  We booked the flight to be right around nap time hoping that seeing as it would only be a short flight that Monty and maybe Gracie would sleep most of the way.  As per the other flights, we got there early to allow plenty of time to get all our luggage checked in.  We then found an area that allowed the kids to run free and burn off some energy before the flight.

However ‘the bestlaid plans of mice and men often go awry’.  Everything was going according to those plans, we were all seated.  Grace was having a snack and Monty was having his bottle about to drift off to sleep.  Then the announcement you never want to hear when you are on a plane with two small children.  ‘Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a maintenance issue which needs to be addressed, it should only delay us 15 minutes.  We will have you underway very soon. We apologise for any inconvenience. ‘ 15 minutes goes by, Monty is fast asleep, Grace is playing on the iPad and we are still not moving.  Another announcement.  We apologise but we are trying to acquire a part to resolve the issue…. it should only be another 25 minutes. ‘ 30 minutes goes by.  Monty is stirring from his nap.  Gracie is getting bored.  ‘Ladies and Gentlemen, this is taking longer than we anticipated, you may disembark if you prefer while we get this resolved…’ Eliot and I look at each other, do we get off or wait here? We have so much carry-on and no pram.  We decide to wait.  Monty is fully awake and terrorising the remaining passengers.  It was a nightmare.  Another hour goes by and the issue has finally been resolved, the passengers that were smart and got off the plane are now re-boarding.  Grace and Monty are both over it.  Eliot and I are at our wits end and now we have to restrain both the kids for take off.  I think I got about 10 new bruises and 100 new grey hairs on that flight.

Finally we landed in Boston. We made our way to collect our bags which for some reason had already been taken off the conveyor and put in the lost baggage area.  Leighton was waiting for us and was he a sight for sore eyes.  He was meant to have landed after us but with all the delays, had been sitting around waiting.  Having a familiar face to see after travelling across the world was amazing.  We lugged our bags and the kids on to the bus, schlepped up to Leighton’s truck and were on the road for 2.5 hours to New Hampshire.  It was so good to see some familiar places.

One of the things I neglected to mention was how we dealt with all the time changes.  In Chicago, all of us were awake at around the 2am mark.  We basically didn’t make a big deal out of it.  We kept the lights off, watched some TV, read books and went back to sleep after a couple of hours.  We also make sure that we got outside when the sun came up and had plenty of daylight.  Bed time routines were maintained as much as possible.  Sometimes that can be difficult when you are all in the same hotel room together but dinner, bath, book and bed were a consistent process as much as possible.  These things all contributed to the kids and us getting used to the new time zones pretty quickly.

Photo by my darling husband, always capturing my inner beauty…

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