We’re in “The Republic of Texas.” It only took 19 hours to travel from our doorstep on Saba to Daniel and Lydia’s house in Texas, but hey, the whole family made it, including Paris and all her whining. Hannah was an excellent traveler and only had one melt down on the way. She was SICK AND TIRED of being buckled into her stroller, and being confined at all times. SHE JUST WANTED TO GO ON A DANG WALK, and meet new people, and say “hi!” to everyone, and dance, and shake her bum-bum, and ALL of the aforementioned activities are almost impossible to do when you are strapped down in a stroller, with parental supervision.
It was a very stress free day of travel. What a relief for us! David and I were both able to get on the same flight leaving Saba, and ALL of our luggage and both dogs were also on the same flight. THAT ALONE IS A MIRACLE. The airline that flies in and out of Saba only allows one pet per flight, and luckily for us, they made an exception. I’d like to think the favors given to us by the staff at the airport were because they liked us, or knew our names, not just our faces, but that probably isn’t the case. I think it’s because Hannah is a charmer. She always smiles, waves, and says “take care!” to the employees when we leave that tiny airport, and I think she is the reason they felt so compelled to give us a break. We weren’t charged for the dogs, or overweight luggage. I want to go back to Saba just to say, “Thank you” to them one more time, for making our trip that much easier.
Flying from Saba is always complicated in some way. Fortunately, the winds were favorable enough for the plane to land (they were projected to be unfavorable, making it impossible for us to leave the island) and we were at the Sint Maarten airport at 8:00. We had a WHOLE LOTTA TIME TO KILL with a toddler, two dogs, and four pieces of luggage. That’s right, our whole lives fit into FOUR pieces of luggage. In fact, we had extra room in the luggage, (which is just a shock really) and I was able to bring home my vegetable steamer. Which I love, to death. Honestly, I wasn’t concerned about my blow dryer fitting into the luggage, but the steamer, that was a priority. I couldn’t live without it before moving to Saba, and leaving Saba was no different. Initially, I had just planned to leave the steamer and buy another one when we returned to the states, but since there was room in the luggage, I just saved myself some money! Which could go toward something else I need . . . and I just can’t start naming other things that I “need” because after being on a glorified camping trip for two years, I “NEED” everything!
Being a toddler is BIG WORK and Hannah is happy to show you just how hard it is to hang out in a stroller, saying “hi!” to everyone, and dancing to the Caribbean beat. Since we had SIX HOURS to kill, she decided to take a little snooze at the airport.
Hannah requires four items to go to sleep. If one of the items is missing, then the delicate balance is ruined and she JUST CAN’T SLEEP. She has to have her Pooh Bear, soft tag blanket, her bear blanket (not shown) and her DANG BINKIE. She HAS to have her binkie to go to sleep. It is the only time she gets it, and every time she lies down for a nap she says, “BINKIE!” and every time she puts it into her mouth we tell her “You don’t need this DUMB thing!” but then we have to give it to her because we know she will fall asleep within minutes. And really, this is a battle not worth fighting right now.
Arriving early for our flight made check in a breeze, and American Airlines was so helpful. They didn’t charge us for the extra piece of luggage we checked, and they took dang good care of our dogs while they were out of our care.
During our LONG wait at the airport, we David took Hannah, and our girls for a walk. He was the designated walker, and I was the designated spectator photographer, sitting with the luggage, and the kennels.
If you want to know how hot it was, just check out the dogs’ tongues.
When we arrived at DFW airport, we were so excited to see Daniel and 8 1/2 months pregnant Lydia (who professed she would never have kids . . . Ha! Ha!) I got a second wind of energy. Our pups were excellent travelers, and I was so relived to have all our luggage, dogs, and family together, in one place. One piece of luggage went missing in Miami during customs, but it magically showed up on our doorstep this evening. We are very happy to be here, in one piece.
I can’t believe the time has finally come for us to move on from our life on Saba. I have seen so many friends and students move back to “reality” during our two year stay, and I am so happy our turn has come! Yesterday was full of bittersweet emotion as we left our house on Saba, but I do look forward to the next chapter in the “Adventures of our Family.” Whenever I think about the beautiful island life we left behind, I have to think, “I can buy grapes, bananas, milk, and ANYTHING I can imagine, ANY DAY of the week.” That thought alone will keep me going. 🙂