29 hours of pure character building moments....
The lead up to the flight was probably some of the worst anxiety I have had in years. I would rather sit through another 7 demoralising performance rating reviews than do this again. I did however get all the packing done, collected all the documents I needed and pick you the money I needed to take away completed the day before. Essentially I just had to get through the working day.
With the working day now behind me, it was just the final packing (10th time) to do and to catch up with Madi for a cuddle and a good bye and a reassurance I was coming back NOT MARRIED. She was very adamant that she has to be at this wedding and said “don’t even think about doing the 2 wedding thing to try and trick me”. Would I do that? She arrived at my place with her dad for some dinner after her school disco. All dressed up and looking much older than the 12 years old she is. I am stunned every time I see her of late. She is just growing up so fast.
Anyway with goodbyes out of the way, I caught up briefly with Andy on Skype before I had to leave for my flight. It was hard to believe in about 40 hours I would be in his arms again. 5 months is such a long time to be parted from someone you love. It has been far too long.
I had to be at the airport at 12.30am, but at the airport parking station at midnight to catch the shuttle bus over to the airport. Timing seemed to be everything. I was 5 minutes late due to the fact the GPS doesn’t register the new motorways in and around the airport. I left in time to have 20 minutes to spare.
Bugger... my stress levels just ramped up a little higher.
I got to the airport with plenty of time up my sleeve and managed to catch up with Jelena, the girl from work who was flying out on the same flight to Dubai. I hung out with her and her family until we boarded the plane. Her kids were a great distraction. A Serbian family, so full of life and eah one an absolute character. They soon had me laughing and a lot more relaxed even though we were seated apart on the plane, different sections. I had the luck of having an aisle seat at the front of the section with plenty of leg room (but no arse room) and the added bonus of being sat next to a young Birmingham couple and their 9month old baby.
What could possibly go wrong?
The plane started to take off and this little man trapped in a baby’s body started to scream. That finally stopped 7.5 hours later when we landed in Singapore!!! His parents didn’t understand that if they had fed him on takeoff and landing that his little pressurised ears would equalise much faster. SO for the first leg of my flight there was no sleep. And keeping in mind I hadn’t slept since 5.30am the day before, I was now 28 hours without sleep.
At Singapore airport, I thought, yay, I have time to go stretch my legs, but no, they told us we only had 20 mins to be back at the gate for boarding. Essentially I only had time to go to the bathroom; the queue was 10 minutes long, then shuffle back to go through the whole boarding/screening process again. Passports and boarding passes to be presented once again and then back on board.
When I got back to my seat I noticed a lot of the people from the first sector had somehow managed to get their seats changed and moved sections and everyone in my sector apart from the newlyweds, the young Birmingham couple and I were the only familiar faces. The other passengers used their 20 mins at the airport to change their seats to move away from the screaming baby!!!!
BASTARDS!!! Why didn’t I think of that!!!!
When seated, I asked the young couple next to me if they were open to the idea of bottle feeding bub on takeoff to help his ears. No one had told them about this. So they tried this and we had a happy baby for about an hour. That was bliss until bubs teeth started hurting. Yep added bonus, bub was teething. The next 5.5 hours, I tried to drown him out with headphones plugged my head.
I WAS NOT SUCCESSFUL
Before we landed, I had to ask the question to the young Birmingham couple “where are you headed to now”, “we are off back to Birmingham” they chirped. I forgot being a parent you learn to tune out to the sound of your own children and can sleep quite soundly. My heart sunk. Not knowing that Birmingham had its own airport I thought they may have been on my next flight as well. The GOD’s hate me. “Yes our flight doesn’t leave for another 4 hours” “oh, you aren’t flying to Manchester then?” I asked, “oh no, Birmingham has its own airport”.
WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! I am saved!!!!
Dubai airport, was now the happiest place on earth for me. It could have been a total dive and I wouldn’t have noticed. I was 9 hours away from Andy, I was in pain, my back hadn’t liked the flights so far and I hadn’t slept in like 39 hours now. Even so, I only had enough time to walk from where my flight landed the 10 miles (LETS FACE IT, IT FELT LIKE IT) to my new departure gate that was already open for boarding by the time I finally got there. I never even made a loo break!!! AGAIN!!! Oh btw Dubai airport, is just amazing!!! I thought it may have been an assault on the senses but there was just an information overload with all the wonderful bright and shiny’s to be seen everywhere, unfortunately I just didn’t have time to stop and play.
The final leg now and I am closer to holding my Andy. Well that would be the case if some bugger hadn’t decided to board the plane and THEN have a medical emergency. Seriously, if you are that ill, what are you doing flying? We were delayed by an hour. I have another aisle seat and this time I am sat next to the 2 funniest guys I have met in a while. It’s quite interesting when a 20 something guy returning from Mumbai with his cousin hits on you and says he knows every page in the Karma Sutra because his people invented it. Seems this was going to be an interesting flight.
Thankfully though, he was asleep before takeoff. I thought the Kama Sutra required more stamina to be honest and I had taken 2 pain killers hoping they would kick in soon. I mean, I have no idea how I had made it through this long and still maintained a sense of humour. I put on a movie hoping to get bored and fall asleep. 3 movies later this still hadn’t happened and by now, young Romeo started getting personal with his questions again. My age was the first one. So I politely said “look, how about you guess, I have had no sleep since I left Australia, so be careful with your answer”. I got the standard safe answer, “you look 35”... nice try Romeo. In the interest of polite conversation, and not wanting to be removed from the flight by security, I mentioned how I was flying in to spend time with my fiancé and his family for a couple of weeks. Then I asked “what is the one thing I should do while in Manchester?” his answer... and I should have seen this coming... “ME” with a big grin on his face. Sighs.
Manchester, finally!!!! I will see Andy very soon. Oh crap, I look like hell; I need to brush my teeth. ARGH!!! Oh god, I have to get through customs. I have been warned by a number of friends that the UK customs are not so friendly and are on the lookout for people who may want to go “missing” while on holidays. SO I watched all the Indian’s, Arab’s and Chinese get grilled and finger-printed on the way in. I walked up, said “hi” and got a friendly smile and “welcome to Manchester”, and was let through without further ado, finger-printing or grilling. Way to go Manchester customs. You guys rock.
Ok, I am now at 48 hours without sleep and I didn’t realise how bloody heavy my bag was. I struggled to get it off the carousel and then struggled to drag it through the arrivals gate. But I kept walking until I finally saw Andy. Then I just dropped everything and kissed him and held him.
I was home and it was his time to break his back with my (10 times remember) overpacking.