Monday, November 12, 2001

Monday, November 12, 2001

Despite the fact that I am looking at a clock that says 8:30am, my body knows that it’s only 2:30am and I SHOULD BE SLEEPING!! I tried to sleep, here at gate 50 in the Frankfurt airport, but I couldn’t. Using jeans as a pillow and my blazer as a blanket just wasn’t the same. Corey wouldn’t even try to sleep, so hopefully we will get some sleep on the plane. Earlier, we went upstairs and walked around the shops. We had donuts and I had coffee, which I had to drink all at once because it is GROSS!! The donut didn’t taste the same as in the US but it was good. It was $8.00 for coffee, 2 donuts and a croissant. The airport is nice—very modern with many signs in English. Many of the people who work at the airport speak English. In the shops, all of the prices were in Deutch marks or English pounds. It was our first experience during this trip with being surrounded by things that we didn’t understand--strange.

In my next life, I need to be wealthy because I’m pretty certain that is the only way that an eight-hour flight can be comfortable—in first class. Holy cow!! Turns out that we were so tired it almost doesn’t matter. Corey was sleeping sitting straight up and I slept with my head on the fold out tray. We slept for much of the flight, on and off. There was a little girl in front of us who wanted to play peek a boo but I just couldn’t do it. I was actually entertaining thoughts of taping her mouth closed because she yelled A LOT. Luckily for her, I was off to dreamland and forgot about my plan. God will probably punish me for that and on the way home from our next trip, it will be Kara who will be yelling!!

We arrived in Moscow and when we got off the plane, we could see our breath. We went into the airport, which is really dark and dreary. We waited with about 200 people for 45 minutes to get through the passport checkpoint. I was really nervous at this point—what if we didn’t have the right papers or what if we were missing something, despite the fact that I had gone over my list a billion times. I leaned over to Corey and said, “Just to update you on my current situation, I’m so nervous I could pass out!!” He looked at me with that “my honey is so pitiful" smile and said that I was nuts and there was nothing to worry about!! This is why I love him so—moral support. Turns out, he was right. The people who work there really take their time and part of me wondered if they enjoyed tormenting nervous travelers like me. We continued through the airport and picked up our luggage with no problem. Next, we went through customs, also with no problem. We were approaching the exit to the airport, my panic increasing with each step and the first person we saw there was Lala, holding a Wide Horizons sign!! I could have kissed her, but I controlled myself. We also met Julia, a single woman from Michigan, who was very nice. We went straight to the car and our driver, Michael, took our bags. We got into a large minivan type vehicle. It was 5:00pm in Moscow—rush hour.

Drivers in Moscow have nothing on NYC drivers—they are maniacs!! Downtown Moscow looks just like a big city in America—bright lights, nice buildings and lots of advertisements. It was strange to see all of the billboards and have no idea what they said. We arrived at our hotel and checked in. The lobby was very fancy and our room was nice. The style was different from the US but it was clean and the furniture looked new. The elevators are very small, four people could fit if they were snuggling.

Once we were settled, we called home. Panic again set in. Calling the US was very difficult and all of the sudden I felt very cut off and far away from our families and I was trying not to freak out. Fortunately, I got through to my parents. I could hear the relief in their voices and despite the fact that we had just left the day before, it was so nice to hear their voices-it always gives me a safe feeling. Corey’s parents were at a funeral so my parents called them and our families to let them know we were safe. Then we went downstairs to pick up our visas at the desk and buy some bottled water. While we were there, we also got a cup a boiling hot water so I could make an instant cup of soup (which didn’t actually work out).

We laid down at about 8:00pm and we could sleep until 10:00pm. We were laying there thinking how comfortable the lumpy bed and pillows were when we discovered that the blanket was not as wide as the bed. So in order to both have enough blanket, we had to lay cheek to cheek. Corey said, “I don’t know if I am going to be able to sleep.” And literally within seconds, I could hear his deep breathing, followed by snoring, which he only does when he is really tired.

I, on the other had, didn’t sleep a wink. I blame my sister for this because I was afraid that our alarm clock wouldn’t wake us up!! I got up at 9:30 and took a shower, which was very messy. The shower was so strong that when I turned the water on, the water sprayed against the wall and came flooding out of the tub all over the floor!! Oops!! Corey got up at 10:00 and took a shower and then went downstairs to get me more boiling water, so I could make some instant oatmeal. My lack of sleep and food was starting to get to me and I wasn’t feeling well. I forgot to ask him to get me two cups—one for oatmeal and another for coffee. Another family had suggested that we bring instant soup and oatmeal and coffee for times that food was not available. I was afraid that I would get a caffeine headache if I didn’t have coffee, so I put a teaspoon of coffee in my mouth and drank water to wash it down---so gross—but I didn’t get a headache!!

Corey came back with the water but forgot a spoon so I ate instant oatmeal using my toothbrush holder as an utensil—very messy. At 11:00pm, we went downstairs to meet the other families and Lala. This is when we found out about the plane crash at JFK airport. Tom and Janet, from NJ, were watching the BBC channel and there was tons of news coverage on it. Obviously, the plane crash was just horrible and our hearts went out to the families affected. But honestly, the first thought that came to mind was, “WE ARE GOING TO BE STUCK HERE FOREVER.” I know that was completely irrational but this trip confirmed what I had suspected all along—God did not mean for me to be a world traveler and I am a really big wimp (I think that Corey knew both of these before I did!!).

Normally, with Corey by my side, I am not nervous about much, but he doesn’t speak Russian and things are very different here, so I was feeling a little vulnerable. I am really going to try to soak in as much of this as I can to share with Kara when she is older, but all I can think about now is going home. We left the hotel and Michael drove us to a different airport in Moscow. We brought a change of clothes and all of our important papers with us, but left our luggage in our room. This airport was even darker than the last one. We sat and talked with Tom, Janet and Julia and got to know them some more. We were waiting for our flight to be called but we had a little problem. They didn’t speak English!! So we found someone going to Ufa and when he stood up to board, so did we!!

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