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  1. JennyVee

    Landing Story

    We've been in Canada for a week now, and still have to pinch ourselves when we realise that our four years of planning and persisting have paid off. Here's how the journey went for us: We left Cape Town at the end of October, and took a two-week trip in a camper van up to my folks in JHB. After another two weeks of blissful family time, my mom's church driver took us to the airport in a van. My dad followed in his own car to help us through baggage check, and my mom stayed at home. We agreed that it would be too much to say goodbye at the airport - this was a good move. We flew, with Lufthansa, out of OR Tambo at 8.30pm, and it was a bit crazy with the kiddos. They're usually asleep by 7pm, so they were both a little loopier than usual. The flight to Frankfurt was fine, but the tv screens were hazy and slow to respond which was a pain. I was pleasantly surprised at the legroom in the economy class, and we sat four across one of the middle row - my husband and I sandwiching the kids. In the end we gave them some Allergex and they slept a fair portion of the way. Frankfurt is a great airport for long layovers. We arrived at 6.30am and went through a hectic security check, then sat in a restaurant watching the sun rise, and contemplating our journey. When the kids could keep it together no longer we went to pick up some strollers (a free service at the airport) and headed to the showers. For 8 Euros we were able to freshen up in the spacious shower rooms (towels and soaps provided) and put our game faces on for the final leg of our trip. Next we found a spot in one of the many relaxation areas, and took turns pushing the kids to the various play areas around the airport. After a lunch of good beer and sausage, we boarded our flight to Calgary at 2.30pm. Flying for 9.5 hours and landing one hour later is hard, especially with kids. This time the Lufthansa flight was a code share on Canadian Air and the flight staff were the best. The airplane layout was different, so we sat three across next to the window, with my hubby across the aisle. We preferred this arrangement because our son had a window seat which was magic for him. The screens worked perfectly and we were comfortable all the way. Aside from our daughter screaming inconsolably for about three of the hours we were in the air, this flight was also fine. That being said, we're loathe to repeat the journey any time soon. Flying with small kids is pretty intense and we've aged in dog years since we left JHB. The flip side is that when you're trying to contain their tiny chaos, you don't have time to dwell on the massive life change you're undertaking. Our arrival in Calgary was uneventful, and actually a bit of an anticlimax. They processed us quickly, and were super friendly. There was no queue and the whole process took about 40 minutes. My mother-in-law and husband's aunt were there to meet us, so we were welcomed with cuddles and whisked off to our new temporary home in Chestermere. We feel incredibly grateful to land this way, and know that very few folks have the same comforts to step into. Our kids love the snow but are still adjusting to the time difference, so sleep is up and down. Fortunately Calgary is super sunny, which helps our circadian rhythms to recalibrate. The people we've met getting our health cards, SIN, and bank accounts sorted are all pathologically friendly and efficient. Chestermere has a busy community center, and we attended a drop-in kids playdate session this morning. We're feeling excited and overwhelmed. Heartbroken and optimistic. So just life, I guess. Thank you to those lovely forum peeps who have helped us on our way. If you're interested in the finer details of our journey, I've been blogging it here: http://unfoldingodyssey.com/.