Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Europe Trip Part 1 - Headed to London

May 30 - On our first flight - SLC to Dallas

We're on our way to London. It has been a long process over the past couple weeks (in the midst of end-of-school hoopla and some big Power of Moms projects) to plan our our itinerary and find decent deals on rental cars and train tickets and Airbnb places to stay (I get pretty caught up in finding just the right places to visit and stay - it's sort of like a treasure hunt for me and I'm afraid I get sucked in and spend way to long trying to find the most perfect thing). Then this past week, it has been a lot of work getting Power of Moms stuff tied up, laundry done, good walking shoes, hoodies and raincoats found or bought for everyone, travel-size toiletries bought, and everyone packed with all the right things (we hope we got all the right things - you never know about weather!). Then checking in at the airport involved a few more hoops since it turns out that Eliza's name was somehow spelled "Eliva" on her plane ticket - but it all worked out OK. Getting through security is always sort of a circus - getting everyone's shoes and toiletries and computers and phones and wallets and various carry on bags on that conveyer belt and gathering everything up and putting shoes back on afterwards.

But now here we are, on a plane to Dallas followed by a plane to London, and everyone is pleased as punch about it. So far we've only realized we left one thing behind - the neck pillows we will be wishing for on our overnight flight. But we'll survive just fine! Fingers crossed we can all get some sleep on the plane so that that first day (we get in at 9am) won't be too terrible as we try to stay up all day long. Jet lag is just hard no matter what you do but if we can stay up that first day, we should be in pretty good shape.

I am so incredibly excited to share some of my very favorite places in the world with some of my very favorite people - all the sites of London, the little town south of London where I lived when I was 6, 7 and 8 and again when I was 16, favorite castles, beautiful countryside, Paris, Switzerland, Germany.

My heart is so full of gratitude that we get to do this, that while so many things have been really hard over this past year and continue to be hard, this amazing deal on airfare popped up a couple months back ($500 round trip from SLC to London!) and gave us a chance to get away on this family trip that we need on so many levels.

Sometimes I get all "woe is me" when things I've worked so hard for and prayed so earnestly for just don't seem to come to fruition. But then I realize that where a door doesn't open, God helps open a window. I could make a long list of things that are really really tough in my life right now - but when I look at things with the right perspective, I can make an even longer list of the things that are wonderful. It's easier to notice the things we hoped for that didn't happen than it is to notice the great things that happen that we didn't even think to hope for or that we hoped for or imagined in a different way. But I've made a real point lately of looking for all those "serendipity" things that happen and celebrating them while learning to better accept that many of the things I want and work for may not be right or may not happen the way I'd hope or expect.

May 31 - on our second flight - almost to London

We all slept a fair amount on this packed plane - not an easy task! The young girl behind me kept knocking and seemingly kicking my seat to the point that I had to wonder if she had any idea that her actions could be affecting anyone else. I finally raised myself up in my seat and turned around and asked her to please try to keep from hitting into my seat. She seemed totally surprised that she was affecting anyone and apologized. Glad I mentioned something or that probably would have gone on all night! We are seated near the bathrooms and these two men decided to talk and laugh very loudly for quite some time right nearby - while a whole plane-ful of people tried to sleep. Sometimes people's lack of awareness is pretty confusing. But we all took melatonin and it brought on such pleasant sleepiness and while I kept waking up (like a night of camping), I could generally get back to sleep pretty quickly.

We are over Ireland right now. I loved watching the cloud-dotted Atlantic below give way to the green patchwork quilt of Ireland. We'll touch down in about a half an hour. Oh, how I love England! It's been great hearing all the British accents of the announcements and flight attendants on this British Airways flight - little things like "cheers mate" and "would you like some tea?" make me smile and make me feel like I'm home. England has such a "home" feeling to me - maybe because most of my earliest memories are there.

I like looking down this row of sleepy almost full-grown people eating the rather odd cream cheese filled pretzels they just handed us and feeling so glad they are mine and that we get to go on this trip together. I always dreamed of taking my family to my mission in Bulgaria and Jared's in Italy and we were so blessed to be able to do that 2 years ago and now I get to fulfill this dream I've had for so long of sharing England with my family.

Fingers crossed that the apartment I booked for tonight turns out to be just right (wow, is London ever expensive for accommodations! but i was so excited to finally find a flat that would fit us all and sort of fit our budget). Can't wait to meet up with Charity and Moses and hug that wonderful sister of mine and snuggle that adorable little Mo and have them take us on a walking tour of some of the most iconic spots in London. We'll be tired today and I'm sure things will feel pretty dream-like. But if we can stay awake all day, we should be able to get over jet lag pretty quickly.

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