When we arrived at our Etihad gate, I changed the kids into their pajamas since it was 10pm in New York…and I wanted them to sleep on the flight…pajamas would make them think it was bed time.
The sound of a 13 hour flight doesn’t make anyone jump up and down with excitement…especially when flying with three children under 6. I had no idea what to expect with my kids. Would they stay in their seats? Would they cry the whole time? Would they run in the aisles? Scenarios just ran through my mind…none of them good. But if the warm welcome we got at the door for boarding was any indicator of the flight…we were in luck. Whey the flight attendants saw my girls, they got down to their level, and warmly welcomed them. The plane was very nice…a tv at every seat, seats that reclined more than the average seat, and head rests that curved around your head so you could sleep. We got the children settled into their seats, Ellison in her car seat which was KEY, allowed them each to choose a movie off of their tvs for when they woke up, and shortly after, they were all passed out.
Almost immediately, the catering began. Our fruit platters came for Jared and me, and the kids meals came for them…too bad they slept so long they never saw the cute pancakes. Over the next 12 hours came Klondike ice cream bars, caramel popcorn, drinks galore, a delicious warm pudding, and so much more…not to mention one more fruit platter and kids’ meals (this time chicken nuggets). I couldn’t believe the service, but I’ve only flown a long international flight once…to Spain…and it was NOTHING like this. As the food came and went, and the children continued sleeping, I enjoyed watching Friends, Notes From the Underbelly, and Date Night…all while in and out of sleep. The kids were ANGELS and I’m not exaggerating! ZERO melt-downs. They were totally content with the movies and game consoles…Eden watched the new Alice in Wonderland 3 times, Edward played games, and Ellison watched Dumbo. I was amazed at how well they had done, and so were people around us!
With a half hour to go, I changed the kids into their day two clothes, packed everything up we had taken out during the flight, and got ready for our new life. Surreal to watch the airplane flight path, and see it cross an ocean, countries I hope to visit some day, and finally approach our new home. The excitement was building and the nerves were kicking in. When we came off, we were greeted by the travel agency, given our visas, and taken to a line for an eye scan. Everything is VERY official here…dropping off copies of our passport and visa everywhere you go it seems. The eye scan was simple enough, just new to me. We got through the entry point with our UAE stamp (another thing you have to photocopy and show people when signing up for things here), and we were off to baggage claim. Happily, our luggage was already on two carts with two porters and we were whisked away by two gentlemen who followed/escorted us the entire way out of the airport to the bus.
The kids really enjoyed seeing Abu Dhabi all lit up at night for Ramadan. Edward commented that he thinks he’ll like it here, Eden asked where Jasmine lives, and Belly Bear just shrieked with excitement. Things are looking good. Even better, our bus pulled up to the Hotel Intercontinental! It is beautiful! And better yet? We got two adjoining rooms! The kids have a twin bed in one room, we have a King bed in another room, and Ellison is in a crib. The place is wonderful! BTW…all of the cleaning service is done by men…we haven’t seen one female doing it. The breakfast buffet we get every morning is even more amazing…ANYTHING you can want for breakfast is there, paid for, and so yummy. I think our stay will be a good one.
Next post…our first day adventures…the mall, doctor exam, orientation, night out with the group…it’s going to be a fun ride.
(A picture of the first morning…they were OUT! LOL!)