Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Returning to Astana - Our Flight

Returning to Astana - Our Flight
Tues - Wed, 18 - 19 August 2010

I think I've figured out how to fly internationally with Sophia: Have her well-rested before the first flight. Rather than wake her up early the day of the flight, in hopes that she will sleep on the plane--she will not--let her sleep in, so that if she doesn't sleep on the plane, she will not be excessively cranky or get sick (as she has in previous flights).

Although we landed in Frankfurt, Germany (flying from Atlanta, Georgia) at 3:00 in the morning South Carolina time, Sophia had not slept on the plane and was neither sick nor cranky. She fell fast asleep in the Frankfurt airport, so much so that she fell back asleep on the bus to the airplane and then slept sound the entire flight. And so she was in a good mood when we finally arrived in Astana.

I do not like the Frankfurt airport. I have been there numerous times now, and the best I can say for it is that perhaps it is still under construction? It is different every time I fly through, it is confusing, and has way too few elevators. And I always seem to have to go to a gate that's as far as possible from where I came in. This time it was Gate 61, so far out and in what seemed like a make-shift building. From there, we had to take quite a long bus-ride to the plane. Maybe Astana is not important, but the flight from the gate next to us was a super-crowded flight to Toronto. Even if Astana is unimportant enough to be relegated to the boondocks, Toronto shouldn't be.

But we made it, safe & sound, to Astana. Waiting in line at passport control, we ran into a nun from our church, and in line near us we saw the wife & children of our new principal. Sophia played with the principal's wife daughter while we gathered our luggage. I had been proud to not go over my limit: 4 large suitcases plus 3 carry-ons. My dad and brother had wondered how I was going to get this luggage from my hotel in Atlanta (where we spent the night before the flight) to the Atlanta airport and then to check-in. (Answer: shuttle to the airport then an overpriced luggage cart at the airport, with plenty of help from Sophia plus stops along the way to take a breath). The principal's wife had 14 pieces of luggage. Wow. Most of it was school stuff, of course, which later on I would be very grateful to have. (Things such as decorations that you don't think about until suddenly you realize that a bunch of small children are going to be coming soon and you want your room and the school hallway to look welcoming).

The welcoming crew was large: the principal, the school secretary, my Kazakh friend and her daughter, and possibly others (I was a bit tired and not paying too much attention). The secretary gave me my house key, we squeezed my luggage into my friend's tiny car, and off we went.

To my new home.

Hooray :)

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