Yesterday was a day that I never want to relive, but I would never want to live without it, either. For those of you who just want to have an update, here it is in a nutshell... We're safe in San Francisco at our hotel. Everything worked out great, and we leave for Singapore (via Seoul, Korea) this afternoon.
For those of you who want to know the details, or at least the that ones that I haven't mentally blocked, here's the whole story. Last time I posted, Ryan and I had spent the entire night doing the last packing of the suitcases. We were in my parents' basement in Colorado carefully packing and weighing each one. Everyone of our bags (all 11 of them) is ounces away from the 50 pound weight limit, and I think our carry-ons are just as heavy! Anyway, the sun came up yesterday and we ate some breakfast, showered, left the kids with my parents, and set off to do a myriad of errands. Ryan needed to get one more immunization at the health department, so I made all sorts of phone calls to Nampa to doctors and dentists to cancel future appointments and finalize any last payments (why did I not do this earlier?). Then we drove across town to Target for last minute toiletries and crafts for the airplane. At the same time, Ryan ran over to the Verizon Store to check on canceling our cell phones. We thought we would have to pay a termination fee, but didn't have to - thank you Lord! By that time we only had about 45 minutes before we were supposed to leave for the airport, so we called my dad to pick up diapers for Addie since he was out getting last minute stuff for us at the local hardware store. My mom was at home with the kids, busily putting on the luggage tags that my dad had made for us earlier that morning. Once in the door we finished the last bit of laundry, made photocopies of all of our visas and passports, and finished loading the cars.
Well, we ended up leaving for the airport 45 minutes late, with more luggage than I have ever seen for a family of five. On the ride to the airport, Ryan and I feverishly worked on more last minute details, all the while trying to imagine how in the world we were going to get all of the luggage into the airport. When we arrived, a skycap helped us unload and check-in. He didn't charge us anything for our extra bags which was amazing! We said quick and tearful good-byes to my parents, and tried to say thank you for everything they have done for us (seemed so small when they have done more for us than we can ever repay). I'm sure it was quite a sight as we walked through the airport - all of us carrying more luggage than would seem humanly possible. We made it through Denver security without any problems - I had even forgotten to pull out my little bag of liquids, but they didn't seem to care. We reloaded our bags and headed for the gate. Luckily for our backs, our gate was the closest one! We unloaded everything, and let Addie run for awhile. As we were loading the plane, we were one of the first to board. Imagine this... 60 people standing around waiting to get on the plane as the Ketchum family walks up to the gate with 10 (or 11) big carry-ons and a baby being rolled in her carseat like one more piece of luggage. As odd as this seems, it was all okay until Lauren ran Addie's seat over Brenna's foot, and the carseat tipped over. So, now anyone who wasn't watching the Ketchum family freak show definitely was now! Luckily, Addie was fine and so were Lauren and Brenna (not even one tear!) The problem now was going to be getting down the aisle with all of the luggage! A really nice man helped Lauren with Addie's seat, and Ryan found the first empty row and stashed all of our stuff. The djembe was the only thing that didn't fit, so it had to be gate-checked. Once again, no extra charge. We had a good flight, and ended up stoping over in San Diego (we knew we had a stop, but didn't know where it would be). When we landed, I turned to Ryan and mentioned that he should call his friend, Rudy Cervantes, who works for Southwest in San Diego. As it turned out, Rudy had just finished unloading luggage off of our plane when Ryan called him, so he came up and gave us hugs and said a quick "Hi" and "Bye". Rudy and Ryan have been good friends for several years - Ryan collaborated with him on a CD project a couple of years ago, so it was really great to see him before our move! After that, we had great service on the plane - Rudy had told them that we were moving to India and that Ryan was a famous musician (to which Ryan denied profusely). It was classic.
Once in San Francisco, we had to get back off the plane but we had a lot of help from all of the flight attendants. When we went to pick up all of our bags, one of the Southwest guys who heard we were moving (but hadn't heard that Ryan was famous) offered help us take everything upstairs to the hotel shuttle - what would we have done without him?! When our hotel shuttle arrived, we were delighted to meet the really nice driver who was... Indian!! He said that he had been to Ooty three times before, and really loved it. We were able to get everything to the hotel in one trip, and when we arrived we found out that all of the front desk staff (an entire family) was Indian, too! They were very friendly and offered to let us store our luggage in a room downstairs so we didn't have to take it upstairs. At 10:00pm we ordered pizza, and tried not to fall asleep while we waited for it to be delivered. We were so exhausted, not only from a long day, but also from not getting any sleep the night before.
This morning we feel really refreshed and ready for an exciting (but long) day. Ryan is on his way to Target to get a heavy duty tub to replace the one that the airline demolished yesterday. The girls and I are relaxing in the hotel for now, but will soon be heading downstairs to send off some faxes and mail. Our shuttle leaves for the airport at 11:00am, so we should have plenty of time to get showered and repacked before setting off on our next adventure. Our next flight is to Seoul, and then immediately to Singapore. Luckily, we don't have to change planes in Seoul, but we will be able to deboard and run around in the airport for a little bit. I think the flight is about 14 hours, followed by a 4.5 hour flight to Singapore.
If you think of us today, please pray that God will protect us and help us to enjoy this journey. We are really excited about finally arriving in India, but we want to be sure to notice all of the little blessings along the way.