(No date stamp on this one, because I wrote it today...from memory)
The morning of our flight, I'm a little concerned. We have not received Cohen's passport back from the courier that took it to Moscow to get the US visa stamped in it. Our coordinator was so calm, I'm guessing they cut it rather close often.
Our coordinator came and had breakfast at the hotel restaurant. Here is the only picture I have of her and Cohen together.
On our way to the airport, our coordinator gets a call that the courier has landed in Vladivostok and he's on his way to meet us. We actually met him on the side of the road in Vladivostok. We just pulled over, swapped paperwork, and kept on going to the airport. Seemed very official to me?
So our flight home. Wow. It was about 30 hours of travel time that all started at the lovely airport in Vladivostok, Russia. I wish we had pictures of this airport to show you, but we were so afraid to take out our cameras at the airports. The airport was very small. There are no terminals, the plane just lands near the building and they have big buses that come get the passengers and take them to the front door of the airport. Our coordinator stayed with us until we had to go through security. I must look so guilty going through airport security in Russia. I'm always so nervous I'm going to say the wrong thing and they are going to take me to some holding room in the back. Fear not, that did not happen!
After you get through security, you go to this small room upstairs and wait for the plane to be ready. Off of this room, there are a couple of little (ok...really really tiny) stores that sell cigarettes and perfume. I guess you could do a little last minute shopping. It was an odd setup, because this room was about the size of my living room and the stores were the size of my closet.
We receive word that they are loading our plane, so we get our stuff and make the walk to the bus waiting out front. We board the plane with no problems. This flight is only a couple of hours and they serve food, so it was not bad at all. Cohen did great. We just passed him back and forth between the two of us.
When we landed in South Korea, all I wanted was an American burger. I had eaten fried eggs and frozen pizza long enough! I think we ended up eating at McDonald's. It was the best burger ever!!
I don't know if I mentioned this before, but this airport is by far the nicest one we have ever seen. Near our terminal, there was a playground with a slide and soft areas for kids to play. Cohen loved it! It was also a great place to wear him out before we boarded a plane for 13 hours.
Here are a few pictures we took in South Korea.
Oh yes, we are those people...the ones that put their kid on a leash. I was not comfortable allowing my child to have free run of the airport. I was so scared someone might see my adorable child and take him from us...so I wanted to keep him very close to me.
After several hours of playtime in the airport, we boarded our plane for America! Yay.
Cohen was AMAZING on this flight. I was so scared that he would totally freak out and make us and everyone else on the flight miserable. I read the horror stories of the parents who walked the child up and down the aisle on the airplane for hours. I didn't want to do that for 13 hours.
This is what Cohen did for about 10 of the 13 hours. SLEEP!
The rest of the time we were watching movies, eating, reading books, or just playing. Overall, it was a great flight. The moment we landed in Los Angeles, Cohen became and official American citizen. I cried a little. And then I saw an American flag, and signs in English, and I cried a little more. I knew at this point, there was no way they were going to take him away. Up until we stepped foot on American soil, I kept thinking about how they were going to change their mind or something.
We had a long layover in Los Angeles, and I don't love that airport. We did our best to wear him out in LA, but at this point he was beyond grouchy. He threw several fits in the airport. We just kept giving him food. Jace and I would take turns walking him up and down the terminal, while the other person sat with the luggage and enjoyed the use of the iPhone. Remember....26 days in Russia with no iPhone!!!
When we boarded the plane for New Orleans, we were all exhausted. Cohen cried when we sat down. I'm pretty sure he figured he was in for another 13 hour flight. We tried to give him cookies, but he refused (for the first time ever). He finally dozed off when the plane was good and in the air. I was holding him, but I knew I couldn't hold him for 4 hours...we would both sweat to death and my arms would never make it. I had gotten good and transferring the sleeping baby from my arms to the seat on our previous flight, so I took a chance. He woke up when I tried to lay him down, and that was the end of that. He was up for the rest of the 4 hour flight.
While hundreds of others were trying to sleep, my child was screaming. Jace and I took turns walking him up and down the aisle. I actually took him to the back of the plane, where the flight attendants stay, and tried to play with him. He cried a lot. It was a rough 4 hours.
When we landed in New Orleans it was midnight. I was so tired from the traveling!! I don't think I've ever been that exhausted before in my life. I think everyone on the plane was so happy to get away from us. I didn't care, because we were home!!
Stay tuned....I think there may be one more post to this series.