Posted by: Vallere | January 28, 2011

On the way there!

This is my first chance to write about our trip from North Carolina to New Zealand, so hang on for the ride…this is going to be a LONG post!

On Saturday, January 22, we woke up at about 5:00 am, packed up the rest of the car, and were on our way to the Raleigh/Durham Airport – about a 2 hour drive from our house. My sisters followed behind us, and between our three cars we had 8 suitcases, 5 carry-ons, a stroller, 3 car seats, a laptop, a camera, Zollie’s medicine cooler, and an assortment of pillow pets and blankets. We *may* have overpacked.

We arrived at the airport at about 8am. Our flight was set to depart at 11:00. Most of our family was already there when we arrived, and the rest of them got there within about 10 minutes. We went ahead and checked in and checked our bags (I got ALL 8 bags under 50lbs!) and then spent some time with family, taking pictures and saying our goodbyes. We ended up having to check one of the carry-on backpacks, as it was too large, so that left us with 4 carry-ons, 3 car seats, the stroller, the laptop, the cooler, and the camera to head onboard the plane with. The kids also had their pillows and blankets, jackets, and stuffed animals – Zollie had two dogs and Ian had 2 turtles.

Around 9:30 we said our last goodbyes and went through security. It took a while, with all that stuff, but was fairly easy. They did take Zollie’s meds out and swabbed down everything in the cooler. I thought that was a bit excessive, but oh well!



We found our gate and waited till it was time to board, then made our way down the ramp. All along our trip we had plenty of helpful people from the airlines who helped us lug things around. It would have been impossible to carry all of those things onboard ourselves. We got all of the kids in their seats, things stowed away, and settled down for the first leg – RDU to Atlanta. At some point on the flight, an attendant brought us a bag to put all the blankets and stuffed animals in, which was much easier to carry, but would later prove to be a detriment.


Fast forward a couple of hours, and we’ve landed in Atlanta. Again, we got help to get off of the plane and over to the next gate. We checked in, got our boarding passes, and were on our way again. This time, headed to LA. Onboard, we asked the flight attendant to please put Zollie’s meds in the refrigerator, as our ice packs were starting to melt. I had called ahead to check on that, and was told it would be no problem. However, we were told there was no fridge, and the best they could do was give us a bag of ice. Ok, no problem. So bags of ice were stuck in the cooler with his meds. But…it was dry ice. And we later found out that his meds had frozen. So, first major expense of the trip – $1500 in meds down the drain. Otherwise, the flight was fine.

As we were making our descent to LA (local time – about 6:30 pm), I saw one of the most amazing (and to be honest, kind of horrifying) things I’ve ever seen. It was dark out, and when I looked out the windows on my side of the plane, there were city lights as far as I could see. Then I turned my head and looked out the other side of the plane, and saw the same…city lights to the horizon.  It was unreal.

The airport was just as overwhelming. It took us forever to find the right terminal (we were given wrong directions not once, but twice). While waiting in line to check in, a not-too-nice guy kept walking over and telling us our bags were too big and we were going to be charged an exorbitant amount to get them on board the plane (our carry-ons were never weighed there, and we had no issues getting them onboard). Zollie was tired and fussy, and constantly asking to go to the potty, which took up more time that we almost didn’t have. In the end, we had a 3 hour window in LA, and we still almost missed our plane. For anyone coming to visit us…You’ll need at LEAST 3 hours in LA. At least. And that will cut it close. I don’t like LAX.  

But on the upside, leaving LAX meant we were riding in Air Pacific (we had been on Delta up until then). Air Pacific is awesome. The people were super friendly and helpful, the meals onboard were fabulous, the coffee was to die for. The stewardesses were more than happy to put Zollie’s meds in the fridge for us. Each seat had a TV (the boys LOVED that!). We left LAX at 9:30pm local time (felt like midnight to us) and the boys quickly settled in and fell asleep. Sometime during the flight, I realized that Ceirdwyn felt hot. She got hotter and hotter throughout the flight and picked up a nasty sounding cough. At some point, I definitely decided that she was sick. Zollie and Ian had been coughing as well, and so we resigned ourselves to sick kids in Fiji.

 The flight lasted about 10.5 hours, and we lost Sunday completely as we went across the IDL. We arrived in Nadi, Fiji at 5:30am local time. The sun was just starting to peek over the mountains. When we got off the plane, we had walked about halfway to the terminal when I realized we didn’t have the bag with the blankets and lovies in it. The Doc ran back to the plane to look for it, and came back a few minutes later empty handed. He said 3 or 4 people had helped him look, but it was nowhere to be found. I’m a little devastated about losing those blankets that I crocheted for the kids. Ian has Blue, but Ceirdwyn and Zollie’s blankets are missing, probably forever. Ug.

And here I’ll end for today…I’ll put Fiji in its own post. The internet here is super slow, so I’ll upload some pictures in the next day or two.



  1. This makes me feel like you aren’t so far away! So sorry about all the misfortune on the way but glad that you all arrived safely. Hope the kids are feeling better!

  2. Ugh.. I hear you on the Internet. That’s the main thing that’s bugged me about living here instead of the states to be honest.. the super slow internet.

    that and starbucks.. they don’t have them here. 🙂

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