The screens dotted around me glow softly. There aren’t many. Around the darkened cabin I can see that most people are asleep. Most are in an awkward contorted position. Some are snoring gently, others not so gently. Our kids are patiently lying in the dark. After a long day with an early start we are all waiting for sleep to come to them. I have no idea if it will or not.
So far I’ve watched 3 movies, eaten a meal, had a snack and attempted to get on the onboard WiFi approximately 1,436 times. I look at the flight map and realise we are only 7 and a half hours in to the 15 hour flight.
The events of the last couple of days are catching up with me. The class parties, teacher gifts and leavers presents. The running around organising last minute Christmas presents. Much against my MO, I had started packing days but inevitably we were still up until 11 last night getting everything ready. And still forgot stuff. It has been a long term for all of us and we are all exhausted.
I’m excited for the 2 weeks ahead, if apprehensive. The idea of hanging out with 2 exhausted, jet lagged kids isn’t exactly fIlling me with joy. They’re shattered from a heavily term, as am I. Turns out Type A personalities aren’t very good at saying no to requests for bake sales, costume days, parent councils, class parent duties and school fair obligations. Mr Wanderlust is on a plane more than he’s not, it seems., so it’s not like he has escaped the exhaustion. The Things behaviour has been stressing me out and that only ends one way – in a vicious cycle. I know that tired and out of their routines and comfort zones they will act out even more.
When I talked to family and friends about this trip it wasn’t with a variety of reactions. “I couldn’t do that” and “you’re mad” from most. over the course of this flight, I’ve wondered several times if the definition of madness might include voluntarily sitting in a tin can for 16 straight hours with 2 kids. I’m justifying it by remembering we did it almost 2 years ago and at least the Things are bigger now. And hoping with every fiber of my being that I’m right and that this makes it easier.
The thing is, this is expat life. We literally think nothing of flying for 7 hours to get home for a wedding. Living where we do, any trip involves going to the airport and jumping in a plane. I don’t even remember there being a debate about us taking this trip or not.
It was a given.
Time with friends
Some of you will know that just 10 days ago 2 of Mr Wanderlust’s bestest friends showed up to surprise him for his birthday. We were high as kites all weekend, thrilled to be spending time with people who we have known for many, many years. These boys have known me for almost 16 years and Mr Wanderlust for pushing 30. When we go home now we’re lucky if we get to spend an afternoon or an evening with them. It’s the same with all our friends. An afternoon or an evening just isn’t enough. But it has to be.
So to be spending 2 weeks including Christmas and New Year in the US is nothing short of a magnificent treat. We will spend quality time with some of our most favourite people in the world. We will catch up with extended family who I haven’t seen in a long long time. We will relax and hang out with our little family, freed from the touristic demands that usually structure our holidays.
As I write this I realise I got it the wrong way around at the beginning of this post. I’m apprehensive about the 2 weeks ahead, but very very excited. Yes, it’s a long way but my goodness it will be worth it.
Halfway there. Halfway to go.
It will be worth it.