Recent Posts

Friday, October 17, 2014

Grenada or Bust!

So this is it. The post you've all been waiting for... it's epic. As in looooooooonnnnnnngggg...

Um, actually, who am I kidding!? No one actually reads this ole' thing anyway. Here's to memories...

After years of research, months of preparation (including this), and weeks of packing...

...Adi and I set off on our Grenadian adventure on September 26th!

That day was a little cray-cray to begin with, but add a looming 4,000-mile trip, and it was insanity.

It started pretty early with my photo shoot at 8am in the morning, but it was soooo worth it when I saw Mar's handiwork. I'm pretty dang pleased with the outcome if I don't say so myself.  #vainmuch?

After photos, we ran some errands and did a little more packing before lunch. We hit up the Creamery on 9th for one last kids' cheeseburger meal with some of my favorite people (#ilovebyu) and I dropped Adi off with Chuy so I could go to the temple with Heidi

After getting home from the temple it was "go time." Here we gooooooo!

We had a late start, but after getting our three large Uhaul boxes, one large suitcase, two carry-ons, two backpacks, and the pillow in the car, we were late in the game, so we scurried North and met up with Adam, Erin, Tyler, and the kids in Lehi for a quick goodbye. 

I miss this sister. 

And Adi misses these cousins of hers. 

After our rendezvous at Wal-Greens, we headed up to Brad and Jennifer's for dinner. It was really nice to have our families get together, including grandpa!, and I really love my in-laws cooking, so that was fabulous too.  

Then, it was airport time. 

We all piled in two cars and headed for the big send off. (Let's be honest, it wasn't really for me, but rather, for a small human with long golden hair... 

On the way to the airport, it started raining and I was really worried about the boxes, but with a little prayer everything turned out okay. #stressedmuch 

That's when things became surreal. We were traveling, internationally, first class. 

First class. 

We pulled up to the Delta curb-side pickup and started getting checked in. 

Box #1, 70 lbs exactly. SCORE! 

Box #2, 70 lbs exactly. SCORE!

Box #3 and Bag #4 74 lbs... ouch! 

But with a little maneuvering, we had 4, 70-kb items, plus one car seat. Now that's what I call packing efficiency. 

We got our tickets, sent our bags on their ways, and said goodbye. 

"Caps, caps for sale! Fifty cents a cap!" (: 

Goodbye was hard for Adi and her grandparents who have become some of her best friends and it was hard for both of us saying goodbye to Grandpa, but in such a digital age, I felt like it was "I'll talk to you tomorrow" in a way. (Although that whole "talk to you tomorrow" thing has been hard with opposite schedules and the like.) 

Adi and I cried up the escalators and then put on our game faces. We made it through security without any snafus and headed to the gate. I was relieved when they said I could plane-side check my carryon which made life a heck of a lot easier. 

When it came time to board, a guy on our flight said, "hey are you McKenzie?", it was Bing, one of the St. George's students, who had been in the states for medical reasons; it was great to have a friend on the flight. 

Adi and I were the first on, and let's just say there's a reason you board first with kids. It was hectic to get everything squared away even without the extra carryon. But, with a little time, we got settled in our amazing first-class seats, had chilled water, blankets, and pillows and were ready for our 11:40pm take off. 

When we got in the air, Adi was. a. dream. She slept almost the entire time, and I got about three hours of continuous sleep before tossing and turning a bit. I did snap this though as we approached JFK. 

Seeing the sun rise from the air was incredible; the earth is really round (insert head slap here)! 

When we landed in JFK, we had about a 1/4 mile walk from our one gate to the other. It was during this walk that I realized that the blazer was missing. I resigned myself to the fact that it was gone forever, and was relieved when Bing was willing to watch Adi while I hightailed it back to the plane. 

The flight from JFK to Grenada was also pretty amazing. 

It started out with freshly squeezed orange juice and...

and a private tour of the cockpit.

#notgonnalie I was pretty dang excited too.

A first-class flight that's a red eye is great and all, but a first-class flight with food, now that was awesome. 

I should have taken more pictures of the food, but as you can see below, it was pretty good. Adi had cereal, yogurt, fruit, a bagel, and juice while I had an omelet, fruit, a bagel, and juice. 

(I'm actually ravenous right now, so that does sound rather divine.)

After eating, Adi slept. At one point (or actually, I'll admit 5 times) I got up to go to the bathroom while she was sleeping. I opened the door to find the flight attendant with my hysterical child. 

Soon enough we started our decent and we started to see azure waters and land ho! 

You know what the best thing about flying first class was? Being first off the plane and thus first to feel the warm, sticky climate and as we stepped into view of "Welcome to Grenada!" 

Then first through customs (five minutes), we headed to the baggage claim, where our friend, Bing was helping get our large-and-in-charge boxes off the conveyor. I had been worried about transporting all. of. our. luggage. from the secured area to where I would meet Ryan (and at this point my phone wasn't working and I didn't even have a number to call because I had Ryan's revived-by-apple phone), but a nice gentleman from the airport helped us get all of our bags and boxes onto two carts. 

Then we hit customs. 

I'd heard horror stories about going through customs and getting racked with charges, so I was skeptical. The man working customs wanted to start with the boxes, so we started the rigorous effort of opening them. 

I say rigorous because my parents had helped us double box, tape, and then re-tape with the special packing tape with extra lines in it we had purchased. It took us ten minutes to actually pop one open! I think the customs agent was disappointed with a pillow and clothes (why yes, of course he chose the box with my underwear on top!) and more clothes and random books and stuff.

Then, hoping for more discovery, he wanted to open a second. This time, it was a little easier to hack into a box, but still it took waaaaaayyyyy more effort than a zipper. (Insert: Adi was starting to get a little impatient at this point...) 

In this box there were even more secrets! A box within a box! (Ma'am, we'll need to open that.) 

Cut, cut, rip, pull, cut. 

Hummm... half-used bottles of sunscreen. Liquids. Hum.

At that point he asked if we had any electronics. To which I pulled my iPhone out of my pocket--that had been connected to my large, visible headphones and said, "I have my phone.?"

Closing the box in slight exasperation--there was another box and five more bags to go through, thank you Adi for being a little whiney at this point--he waved us on. 

Waved. Us. On. 

Did he care to ask if I had any other electronics? Or check the carry-on bags? 


What a relief! Blessed be traveling with a child! 

The man who helped us collect our luggage helped us return and fifteen steps later we were out of the airport and about five seconds after that I saw Ryan (instant relief) and my physical reaction (no thought, just reflex) was to run and give him a HUGE hug! I couldn't believe it! Eight weeks apart and we were finally together as a little family again!

It was great to see him and finally be 'home'. 

We paid the man who helped us--Bing had told us it was about $2 a bag, and I'm not sure if that was $2 USD or $2 ECD, but either way, I gave him all the ones I had in my wallet--which at that point was $14 USD. He was so incredibly helpful! 

Ryan took me to the car where our new friend, Lori, was waiting--it was so thoughtful and helpful for her to pick us up--it was a tight squeeze, and when putting Adi in I realized I'd forgotten her carseat, so I ran back into the airport--oh wait, something you wouldn't have been able to do in the states--and grabbed it from the conveyor. 

The crazy, Grenadian thing, is that we didn't even use it because there. was. no. room. 

We barely all made it in the car!

Once back settled in the car, we were off! 

The first thing we'd noticed when we stepped off the plane, was the August-in-Washington, hot and sticky air. But the best A/C is 2-40, two windows down, 40 mph, so the breeze was wonderful. 

Ryan had previously mentioned that he had been surprised by how underdeveloped St. George's was, so I had tried to manage my expectations effectively. 

You know that movie you've been waiting go see? The one that looks so. dang. good. (Let's say "Vantage Point" with Dennis Quaid circa 2008. I was soooo excited to see it. It was a bust.) Well, most of the time when your hopes are up, you're let disappointed. However, the opposite is true. If,for example, you don't know much about a movie or have low expectations (Let's say "Edge of Tomorrow" with Emily Blunt and Tom Cruise. It was awesome!) you're bound to be pleasantly surprised. 

I had prepared myself for this...

With a little of this...

and this...

And possibly some of this...

And you know what, I was pleasantly surprised. 

Ryan said the roads were really bad, so I assumed dirt roads with humongous potholes. What I actually got was paved roads with medium potholes. 

I had thought--perhaps it will be like Mexico City or Marrakesh, but really much of the island is more developed than that. Now, don't get me wrong, there are shanties. 

Lots of them. 

High on the cliffs and hills, with no electricity or running water. 

But for many of the people, and all of the expats, there are most of the modern conveniences that Americans are used to having. 

The biggest surprise was the hills.

Lori drove us home, and as we were going up and up and up this driveway that was pretty steep, I wasn't quite sure when we were be there. Come to find out, right as I started to panic a little about possibly rolling, we were there. 


We hauled our boxes and bags out of the car and made it into our little apartment. 

Now, you have to know that a few weeks before, someone said, "I hear it's pretty bad." 

Come to find out, no one had even seen it. They were basing it on Ryan's comments of "It's okay." Like a huge game of telephone from "It's okay" out of Ryan's mouth to "I hear it's pretty bad" to me in Utah, I had low expectations. 

But honestly it was the most surprising thing about the whole experience! It's a two-bedroom with a bathroom and a small living area. We have mango, soursop, sugar apples, avocados, passion fruit, and cocoanut here in our yard! We have a cleaning lady and a security guard, and an amazing landlady. 

It's perfect. We settled for about 20 minutes until we found our bathing suits and headed to the beach. 

Awwww. the beach. 

Grand Anse. 

We spent the afternoon there at the opening social for the SO organization.

Afterwards, we made it home--together--which was a great way to end a crazy eight weeks of being apart. 


Our Family

Our Family
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...