The adventures of a born-and-raised-in-Michigan girl (OK, woman) who's moved to Bavaria with her husband, kids, and dog.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

My 34 Pound "Lap Infant"

Well, we arrived November 30th at 8:20 a.m. Despite the pre-flight fears of how horrible the whole flight *could* have gone, we all came through it with flying colors.

As expected, Nicholas was the fussiest passenger of the four of us (we had the "bassinet" row, right behind the bulkhead, and Stephanie slept shortly after takeoff through the entire flight; she woke up five minutes before the bassinet needed to be stored for landing). But even Nicholas had big eyes at the gate for the plane and baggage "choo-choos" before we boarded. He was very interested in all the sights (lights) and sounds during takeoff, and then was entertained by the food, drink, and great set of new books that Grandma thought to buy for the trip. Let me tell you, I was pretty sick of that Thomas the Train book, and Elmo's Ducky Day, but it kept him plenty quiet so it was all worth it.

Since Stephanie was sleeping like a log in the bassinet, Nicholas discovered that my lap was a much better place to sleep than his seat. So my 34-pound "lap infant" got four hours of sleep to my three hours.

All in all, I can't imagine it going better, actually. Several people stopped on their way off the plane to compliment me on how good the kids had been during the flight, so that felt good.

Both at O'Hare and Munich, we got gate transport service on a fluke (two flukes, technically). The reservations hotline had told me that was reserved for disabled passengers only these days... gone are the days of special requests, I guess. So I was really happy that we got so lucky. And Nicholas got to ride on the little cars, so that added to the experience.

Bella flew Lufthansa Cargo, and did just great. The cargo guys took good care of her at the dropoff point, and were very reassuring. Since we arrived at the gate quiet early, we could see them load her crate onto the conveyor and into the belly of the plane. They were so gentle with her, and I cried when I saw her moving onto the plane... it was such a relief to see her just sitting there, looking around (i.e. being Bella), that I knew I had one less worry to deal with that day.

The biggest headache with the whole experience was the paperwork for Bella. Getting it prepped in the U.S. was bad enough (it involved a trip to Lansing and back one day, just before Thanksgiving, to get a bunch of stuff stamped by the U.S.D.A.). In doing the research for her customs requirements, we discovered that she needed to have a personality and behavior evaluation done, to be registered properly here (not really for customs). So being the thorough person I am, I had Martin roughly translate the law to determine what the personality evaluation covered, then created a form and had our vet in Canton complete it and mail it to me in Grand Rapids. Turns out the evaluation is required for Customs as well, and no U.S. vets are certified to perform the evaluation. Are you following this? We needed to have an evaluation done before bringing Bella into the country, except our country of residence was not certified to perform the necessary evaluation. Hmmmm...

Well, after a closed observation session and some testing of her training -- as well as some smooth talking from Martin -- Customs agreed to release Bella into our hands on the condition that we would get her tested here ASAP. Whew!

Anyway, that is the flight story, in a nutshell. Still no Internet access at home, it was promised for this week but now looks like it will take another two or three weeks. So you will have to wait for the super duper long posting about the house, with a million pictures. :)

Everything else is going fine, we are still wading through boxes of course but a huge amount was accomplished in this first week so it feels good to be this settled so soon.


Blogger pjs said...

Yay. A new post. Keep em comin.

3:35 PM


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