Sunday, April 3, 2011

Catching Up - Flying Home

Thank you to all of you who have asked for updates and for me to continue our story, I too want to record our adventure to help me remember in the years to come.

Denis and I stayed in Almaty for 3 days. They were fun and stressful days.

On Saturday, February 19th at 1 am the driver returned to the hotel to collect Denis and I. I'd put Denis down to sleep at the usual time, but I couldn't sleep as I was so anxious that I would over sleep or that the driver wouldn't come and I'd have no way to contact him. But when I was in the lobby settling my account the driver arrived, I was so happy to see him. I was also intrigued to see the couples paying for their rooms at 1 am, sort of wondered how many hours they planned to use the room (wink, wink).

We drove through the vibrant Almaty to the airport. As we drove I tried to absorb as much as possible to remember so I could tell Denis in the future .My flight wasn't until 3:40 am and I'd planned to be at the airport 2 hours early, but when we arrived we had to wait in the general area as they were not ready to take passengers. I used the money exchange in the airport to change the left over Tenge I had back into US dollars. It wouldn't have been the best rate, but it was convenient, and it isn't like I could do it once I got home.

Finally we were able to go into the check in area. There was a small problem as Denis didn't have an assigned seat for the second flight, but I knew that so they calmed down. Then it was time to go through passport control. I'd been so worried about it, but it was totally simple. A few moments and a second set of security we were in the waiting room. I spent the last of my Tenge to purchase a juice for Denis and then we had a couple of hours to wait for boarding.

In the waiting room I met a new mom from Georgia who was returning home with her infant daughter. It was nice to chat a bit and exchange stories of our experiences.

The feeling of getting on to the Lufthansa airplane for the flight for Frankfurt is hard to describe. All the fears and anxiety of the past 3 months and truly many years were relieved as we buckled in for the beginning of the journey home.

The flight was 6 and 1/2 hours long. I measured it in the things spilt on me (juice, water, tea etc). I'd brought a change of clothes for Denis, I never thought to bring a change for myself. Denis had a blast on the flight and the air crew couldn't have been nicer.

Then it was our 4 hours in Frankfurt airport. We played on the teeny tiny climber, had french fries at McD's, and tried to find as many things as we could to pass the time. Denis actually fell asleep in the airport about 40 minutes before our flight was due to board. I cried when I saw the Air Canada plane, it was so nice to see a sign of home. It actually was our plane for home.

The final flight was the hardest. Denis was tired of flying and I was plain old tired. I have few memories of that flight, only that I was working on keeping Denis quiet and happy. At one point 2 hours into the flight Denis put on his hoody and boots and said "come on" to me to leave the plane, oh how I wish we could have gotten off that plane.

We actually had great tail winds and arrived in Toronto 40 minutes early and then breezed through customs and immigration. Then we waited for friends and family to come and meet us.

Thanks to Diane, Ciera, Tienna, Loretta, Aline, Christine, Alex and my brother and sister who came out to meet us. And to Anna, Rosemary and Julia who just must have missed us.

Denis and Alex had a great time playing with toy cars that Aline bought for them, you'd never think we were in the arrivals area.

Finally it was time to go home.


Julian and Sara said...

Isn't that release of pressure and tension so immense and profound when the wheels leave the ground in Almaty? At that point, there is (virtually) nothing in the Kazakh process that can screw you around any longer. You, and YOUR child, are suddenly "free". And then to finally arrive on home soil - joy and relief. Because you are home. After all those years of waiting and processing. Welcome to Canada Denis. And congratulations, again, Michele. Great to seen you both at the Nauryz gathering.

JBM said...

Hey, great to hear that you're back in Canada.

Nicole said...

I'm so excited for you Michele and Denis!!!!! I'm looking forward to talking with and learning from you!!!!