Wednesday, January 16, 2013

International Travel with Anika

I am going to start off my New Zealand posts with our travel.

Our plane was scheduled to leave Monday,  December, 17th at 10 AM.
We were flying out of Boston, so we had to be there at 8 AM. We live in NH, 2 hours north, so we had to leave home at 6 AM, but my mom was driving us and she was worried about city traffic, so she wanted to leave at 5 AM.
That was the plan.
Then, Sunday happened. It was snowing and freezing rain. It was supposed to last through the night and into Monday.
I did NOT want to head down Sunday night, but by midday Sunday,  we decided that was the safest bet. I had SOO much to get done at home, but Andrew just said "tell me what you want" and we just worked together as a team to get it all done. Actually, It was quite nice :)
I have to say, we were a total team through all the travel on the way there, so that made it all so much easier.
On the way back, we had a few spats. ha, but we were sad the holiday was over, so maybe we were no longer happy and excited and that is why?

On Sunday, My parents and my niece picked us up at 3/4 PM at our house and we all crammed into my mum's truck. And, ALl of our luggage :)  Oh, and Piri too. My parents didn't want to come back to our house later that night in bad weather to get Piri, so she went along for the ride too.
It was a LONG ride in bad weather.  And Andrew got car sick. And Anika fussed and cried. And my dad said "can you get her to be quiet?"
So, that was fun.
We got to our hotel near Boston (10 minutes from the airport) and got situated and said our goodbyes.
We ordered some dinner and ate around 8 PM ...
 Anika's makeshift table and chair.  We slept that night ok- Anika was OK. but up early of course.  

Before my parents left my dad took his hook off. He has had it since his first trip to NZ.  HE handed it to Anika and said "Grampa wants you to wear this because it is special,  and it is going to keep you safe on your travels"
And I was thinking, aww, that's sweet (because my dad isn't usually mushy) and then he continued ..
"and can you guys get a new rope for it, because the one on it is broken" he had motives.
On Monday morning we got a shuttle from the hotel to airport.
We checked in at United.  We got our boarding passes and were NOT sitting together!
We had 2 adult tickets and an infant seat. Infant means she sits on our laps.
She can do that until she is 2.
Yes, having her in her own seat with a car seat is safer, but flying to NZ around Christmas is NOT cheap. Our tickets were quite a big chunk of money and we still had to pay $300 for her and that was just a small percentage of ours.
United people were ...well, assholes.
When we got on the plane, Andrew told the attendant we weren't even together and the guy said to figure it out. There was another family with their 5 year old and they had the 5 year old away from BOTH parents. Luckily, the other passengers traded spots with us.
Add on top of that, they give NO snacks on the flight from Boston to San Francisco.
That flight was, well Long.
We bought an Ipad a couple weeks before and put shows on it. and a few aps.
I had a small suitcase of books, toys, new toys she had never seen wrapped up, coloring, snacks, you  name it.
The Ipad was the big hit.
She didn't nap on that 6 hour flight. Andrew and I just took turns with her. He actually did most of the entertaining...the whole trip :) ha.
Oh, and she was pulling at her ears and wanted to nurse of course.
So, we did. I had a blanket and Andrew kept putting it on us and Anika kept pulling it off, and she finally snapped at him and said "NO daddy. NO blanket" and tossed it at him.
We had a few hours in San Francisco. It was when we were taking off from Boston,  I realized CRAP, I forgot to rearrange some of our bags at the hotel in Boston and I only had FOUR nappies with me in my bags! Our other bags were checked to NEW Zealand. I had 4 nappies to last me 24 hours.
I panicked. I have never bought a disposable, but I have never seen any in the airport!

I texted some friends and nope- they hadn't seen them either.
I texted a friend who lives in SF and asked if she has seen them at that airport and how far to the closest store. We thought one of us could get in a cab and go to a store, but Andrew was nervous about that and getting back in time.

As soon as we landed in SF, I asked an airport worker if there was a store that sold them...she said she didn't know, but then came back and said she called her friend and yes- there was ONE pharmacy in the airport that sold them.
I found the pharmacy and they sold them singly. Pampers. I picked up 4 and guess how much ONE diaper was ? $3.99.
I had no choice- I bought MY FIRST disposable diapers because I effed up and packed all of ours in the bag that was checked through to NZ.
And, if you are wondering- I NEVER even needed them!  She ended needing one change when we got to SF, did her poop on the potty, then one change right before we boarded the flight from SF to Auckland, NZ,  and then slept too much of the 13  hour international flight, so only got one change on that plane.  So, I used our cloth.

Then, I got the rest of her diapers in Auckland.

Having a snack in SF.
That teddy is a travel teddy. It came with a little purse. Inside the purse, there was a little passport, a little journal and a little world map. Guess what country was missing from the "word" map??

My mom gave her the bear when she dropped us off at the hotel. I was like, great one more thing to carry, but it provided a lot of, Anika trying to put on the bear's jacket (above).
you can see the nose of the plane behind her above.
Waiting to board in SF. She actually at this point had been awake since 5 AM Eastern time and it was 10 PM eastern time in this pic. ANd, she took a huge run around right before we boarded- tons of energy.  I also had to call Verizon when we were sitting there and get service turned over to an old blackberry because the Verizon Iphone 4's do not work in other countries. I turned off all the data, but wanted to have a phone working in case people at home texted or my mom needed to get in touch with me right away, etc.  I think I made 2 phone calls on it, but its $2 a minute so just short calls. And of course no email or internet- that would have cost THOUASANDS a day.

We were NOT guaranteed the bassinet seat, but we asked for it when we got to SF. It is only guaranteed to babies 8 months and younger.
The weight limit is 26 pounds and she weighed 23.

 When we were told we could have it, I was SOO excited. WE NEEDED this. She wont sleep in my arms.  These seats also have more leg room and no seats in front of them. When Anika accidentally kicks seats in front of us, it makes me nervous she is pissing off the people in front of her, and it just makes it hard for me to be calm. I do NOT want her to bother others.

United does NOT have family boarding on planes- rude. Air NZ does. Nice.
We were walking to our seats and this pretty nice flight attendant saw Anika and asked if she was the weight for the bassinet and I said yes and she said great. I was getting into the row and I heard her voice say "Andrew?" and I turned around and it was someone Andrew knew!!

An old friend of his! SO, um, from there on out- the flight rocked. She treated us like royalty. She also tried very hard to get the couple sitting next to us to move so we could have the whole row, but I guess they had paid extra for the bassinet seats since they have more leg room.  She was just wonderful. She saw that I was "feeding" and brought me tons of extra water to keep me hydrated.  Well, I really just cant say enough about her. But, not just her...on every NZ flight, the flight attendants are so amazingly nice. Even, the people on those flights- you can see a HUGE difference after getting off a US domestic flight. People are so much friendlier.
On the US domestic flights they just have us hold babies in our laps- NO belts for takeoff and landing.
On Air NZ, they had us strap her to us for takeoff and landing.
She fell asleep in my arms soon after takeoff, and I placed her in the bassinet...and she slept for NINE HOURS STRAIGHT!! NINE.

I ate the dinner they served and drank the complimentary wine, obviously and then I slept myself.
I slept about 7 hours.
Then I woke up, watched some tv on my personal Tv.
 You can see her sleeping in there.
 Then, she woke up and had some breakfast with us. Then watched some Ipad in her bed.
yes, she was watching Caillou and we have decided that show is NEVER allowed again.
What a whiny little kid. We swear she picked up some whining from him. Her behavior changed after we let her watch that show.

We got to Auckland in one piece and I felt good because I had slept. Andrew never can sleep.
We got our bags in customs and then had to recheck them, so we were rearranging a few things. The flight from Auckland to Christchurch is only 1.5 hours.
When I was getting bags rearranged, Anika plopped herself down and started coloring. 

The last flight was quick and easy...
And this is long, so I will continue in another post. I am also really tired. ha
Oh, but guess what I did get?
My ray ban glasses...see below :) 



  1. Wow, what an adventure. I'm glad she slept. I don't know what Hadley would do. She doesn't like to sleep in strange places but maybe eventually she would.

  2. I had no idea they had those bassinets. So cool. When I flew to Germany I was first sat next to parents with a 4 month old. Shoot me. Thank goodness I got to move seats!!!

  3. She is a travelling pro! And 9 straight hours - AMAZING! I wish I could sleep like that on a plane...