Thursday, October 5, 2017

Away We Go: Indonesia, part 1

A few days before my birthday, my sister and I got on a plane to fly to Indonesia.  Our oldest brother, Peter, was going to get married to Alia.  Michelle, my sister, and I were so very, very excited.  Nervous.  Possibly a bit trepidatious.  (That's a real word.) Of course we were also sad to leave behind our little families:

 Saying goodbye to my people in the hotel room
(so I can fly off to see my other people on the other side of the world).
 I love those faces so very much.

My family ate dinner with me in the hotel room.  Then I hugged them all and said goodbye, walked them down to the car and told myself over and over that they would be fine, and I would be fine, and I would see them again in a week.  After they left, I had a couple blissful hours all to myself before my sister would show up and the journey would truly, truly, truly begin.  What did I do when I found myself alone in a hotel room for the first and only time in my life?  Well, I watched Netflix, in my underwear.  Because I was started to get sick, and clothes just weren't working for me anymore.  I thought about dressing myself again when I knew my sister would be coming soon, but you know what? I just didn't.  Sisters are cool like that.

We got to the airport at 6 am, which was early, but felt even earlier because of not actually sleeping at all the night before.

That first flight was to Dallas, and it was delayed for half an hour which was nice for us because we had found ourselves the night before acting much like children who exasperate parents, as in were had been unable to stop talking.  At one point in the late hours, my sister Mimi said, "We are being so irresponsible!"

And I said, "yes, maybe, but we haven't seen each other without children or husbands in ... how long has it even been?!" So on we went, talking and laughing and sharing things that only sisters can share, and only in the very dark stillness of a place that is home to neither.

These are the faces of, "Are we really doing this?!" and "Yeah, we are really doing this!!!"
We finally boarded our first flight, and we were on our way to Dallas. We were so fresh and innocent then, had no idea what was really in store for us on this adventure.

We landed in Dallas and quickly boarded our flight to Tokyo. I did have time to snag myself a super cute Texas sweatshirt because I was cold, and because I packed in a minimalist style which is fantastic on the shoulders, not always so great in all the details of reality that hit sometimes. In addition to the purchase of my sweatshirt, we quickly grabbed some water, and a turkey or something wrap for my sister to eat for dinner. I decided to gamble on what they would feed us on the airplane. That's me, a wild risk taker.
The flight to Tokyo was 13 hours. We slept some, and watched movie after movie after movie. Literally - we watched three movies in a row. About halfway through the flight, Mimi looked up on the map screen how much traveling we still had left to do. As she was maneuvering to the screen that would show the map, she was exclaiming, "I think we only have just a couple of hours left!" But, once the screen loaded and she saw our fate, she grimly announced, "We still have 16 hours of travel before we are done." (not counting our layover in Tokyo... sigh.)

Looking out the window as the plane began to make its descent.  
Someday I need to go to Japan, just for the sake of being and spending time in Japan.

When we landed in Tokyo, we did a bit of shopping as one does. In particular I purchased some gorgeous little wallets and Hello Kitty merchandise to bring home to my daughters. How can you not? But eventually, the rush of not being on an airplane began to wear off and we were left with a bone deep weariness. The airport was shockingly empty, in almost a creepy way - (Where are all the people? What time is it here? Is it the middle of the day? I think so. Is the sun shining? It seems like it is? Where are all the people then? - Questions that never got answered.) but we managed to shake it off, lay down on one of the many empty rows of chairs to rest and maybe sleep.

Mimi woke up an hour or so later. She looked at the clock and saw that we had overslept and missed our flight, and all panic ensued. When she woke me up in full throttle "What are we going to do?" mode, I was still too groggy and disoriented to fully grasp the depths of our situation.

"We are stuck in Tokyo!" she tried telling me, but I couldn't understand those words. They had no meaning for me. "We?" "Stuck?" "Tokyo?" What are you trying to say? Tell it to me straight!

I looked at the clock. I tried to read it through my now panicking but still sleep deprived brain, and kept asking her what time our flight was supposed to leave. Finally, we all breathed slowly enough to realize that she had read the clock wrong, and that we still had a good hour or more before our plane would even be at the terminal. Rare are the moments where I have been more relieved than I was in that one.

We boarded the plane for Jakarta, yes at last, Jakarta. Double extra special bonus we win at life, we discovered that our seats were the very front row, and that meant: we enjoyed five feet of empty space where our legs could stretch luxuriously, we were not sitting by any strangers, AND we were right by the bathroom. It was the best way to spend (how long was this flight? 6 hours? 5?) of our lives.

This was, of course, our last bit of travel to do, but we were by then so exhausted (because turns out that a shocking burst of adrenaline immediately upon waking from a semi-slumber on a chair in a foreign country's airport is not conducive to actually being restful) that we both fell asleep on the plane before it had even taken off. You can imagine my surprise when I woke up, looked out the window, and discovered that our plane was not in the air as I may have supposed it would be, but sitting on the ground! I thought - hardly daring to hope, but hoping nonetheless - that maybe we had already arrived and I had just slept, really, really well?

But no, it had been an hour long nap during some kind of delay. It would in the end be a 2 hour delay before we actually took to the skies, but we didn't really mind too much - we just fell asleep again.
 On our flight from Tokyo to Jakarta, and we are living the high life of economy class!

When we awoke the second time, we were high in the air and the stewardesses were serving our meals. I had no idea what day it was, much less what time of day but I think the meal they served would have been called "dinner." We watched more movies (so! many! movies!) listened to music- my amazingly super packer sister brought a headphone sharing thingy mahooper so we could listen to the same songs! Life is so good! We colored in coloring books (we have been moms for a loooooong time now, it's true, but let's be real - we probably would have colored anyway. We are who we are, and we make few apologies for it. And only when strictly necessary.) Of course, we took a few more catnaps - flying around the world takes a long time and is, as you may know, tiring.

We landed, found our bags, and found Peter. If I made that sound super simple and easy, it sort of was, and sort of was also filled with minute by minute panic attacks. What if we don't have our bags? What if we don't find Peter? What if we smile at the wrong person at the wrong time and it communicates the wrong message and we don't even know what's happening and suddenly we are in the movie, "The Man with the Red Shoe." (Is that what that movie is even called? I don't even know, that's how scared and confusing this whole thing felt) But as I said, none of that happened and we did find our bags, customs officers passed us through, we found Peter, we got money changed, we found Alia, we found our Uber, we found our apartment, we found our beds, we found sleep.

This epic story will continue in Exploring Jakarta: Indonesia, Part 2


  1. So many movies!!
    We really did stay up too late. Ha. We just had too much to say!

  2. Traveling = mood swings between joy and panic; sounds like you travelled fully