The Flight to Athens

(disclaimer: this entry and many of the ones that follow, were written almost two weeks ago. Finding the time and access to upload them has been difficult. But here we go.)

My eyes actually hurt as I strain to open them in response to Tina lightly brushing my leg. I am not sleeping. There will be no sleep for me during this almost 24 hours of this trip from Houston to Athens. We are off to a stunning adventure amongst history and natural beauty, but in this moment, it is hard to remember that. In this moment, all I can think about is how I miss being horizontal.
I have been on multiple international flights over the last few months on different airlines. I had set the kids expectations along the lines of what my experiences had been on each of the flights. Entertainment screens at every seat with movies, televison, video games and music…temperatures in the 60s in the cabin…snacks set up in the galleys…power outlets at the seats. We have none of this on this twelve hour flight to Athens. The kids and I peeled off jackets and still sweated as we tried in vain to sleep. Eventually, Haley did manage to eke out an hour’s rest. Grant and I have only been able to rest our eyes. I feel a little bratty complaining about this, but it has been a long 24 hours of travel and waiting in airports. And everything in the description of our flight led me to believe my expectations about the amenities were accurate. I think I’m due a little bratty.
The kids are being amazing, frankly. I am sitting between them now as they read their magazines, for the billiondth time. Tina and Ellie are two seats behind us, supplying the kids treats when they venture back there to check in. And i bless them everytime the kids come back with something delightful. Tina has offered to change seats with me, but it is really too late for sleep unfortunately. We will nap at the hotel.
Jesse and Meagan are several rows behind Ellie and Tina. We have not heard from them at all and I am hoping against hope that they have managed to sleep.
It is something of a miracle that we are sitting together like this. Our seats were all over the place when they were assigned. Twice, I elbowed my way past fairly aggressive people trying to jump my place in line to talk to beleagured gate agents accustomed to requests like ours. The joke in our little party was that I was going to go off on them when I got up there in order to get us sitting together. It wasn’t necessary. In fact, it is so rarely necessary to go off on people. Despite telling me that it was highly unlikely that we wouuld find ourselves sitting together, they managed to move people around to get us together. Others around us were not so lucky. I am not sure why this worked out for us, but I am grateful.
We are flying over Grenoble now. The kids are delighted at the information screen tracking our flight.
“Look! We are going to fly over Rome!”
“I wish we could fly over Copenhagen…I like the way that sounds.”
“It’s negative 63 degrees outside!”
I am reading an article in a magazine about a family who took their two kids out of school for a year to travel and learn. It is an overview of their travels in Peru, Africa and France…just a light touch in this brief article, and I intend to read more on their blog because I am fascinated. But right now, I am thinking now of this trip and how we can make this a more active learning experience.
More from Athens…

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