We have arrived in Geneva safely. It took a really long time to get here, and I am still completely spun about the whole thing, but we are here, and that’s what really matters.
Traveling with a baby is not easy. Moving to a new continent with a baby – also not easy. Do you know how much stuff babies need? It’s effing crazy. This is our load we had to haul from Calgary to Geneva – not pretty, or fun, but happily it all made it.
One thing that made everything about a 1000% easier was traveling in business class. It’s certainly not how we normally get by, but having the opportunity to travel that way, just this one time, was a blessing. We got to hang out in lounges, where X could wander a little bit without us worrying and I could have free wine. Then, we get begin our nine-hour flight to Frankfurt and kicked back in our pods – pure bliss! And there’s something about those hot towels, they feel SO GOOD when you press them onto your chapped skin. Funny how something like that can make all the difference. X slept really well – fully stretched out in one pod, meaning Z and I had to take shifts sleeping and “sleeping” with X while trying not to wake or crush him. Little darling. Here he is getting comfortable on the plane. He can’t travel without his Winnie the Pooh bear, which is almost as big as him. Or, he probably can. I like to have it with him because I think it creates sympathy with other travellers who might otherwise be annoyed by him. X is pretty cute, but when he’s hugging his Pooh bear, he’s basically irresistible.
The whole thing started to hit me as we walked through the airport. We are moving to Europe – what? That’s just crazy. It was during the seven hour layover in Frankfurt that I remembered how different Europe was than North America. Even in an airport, which I generally consider to be without state or national identity, things were just a little bit different. Ooh, and I received my very first (and hopefully last) stern talking-to from the German police. How scary! Guns everywhere! I was put in my place, let me tell you. Apparently you’re not allowed to travel with freezer packs, which I was using to keep X’s milk cold over the 20-hour journey. Oops. Properly chastened, we hurried along with the freezer packs he graciously allowed me to keep.
One thing I noticed here is that people seem to be more touchy feely with other people’s babies. I was letting X run around the lounge we were staying in (that might be an asshole thing to do, but after keeping him cooped up for twelve hours, I was prepared to be an asshole). Most people would smile at him, but several tried to come up and give him hugs. This doesn’t really happen in Canada, it always made me stiffen, wondering if I’d have to intercede, but luckily X is an asshole too and would run away from the would-be hug givers. Sigh of relief. Is that a European thing, hugging other people’s babies? Just wondering. One of the attendants also kicked a woman out of the baby-changing room for me. They got into a screaming fight, in German, as I quietly slipped passed. I felt a bit like an asshole then too, but it seems having a baby needing the changing room took precedence over whatever it was the woman was doing in there. Also, there were showers and change rooms if that’s your pleasure, so whatever. I got over it quick. Still terrified by German screaming match.
At that point (or maybe the several times where I fell asleep sitting up in the lounge while waiting), I started to have reservations about the whole thing. What the fuck are we doing? We had a good thing in Calgary. Why the need to travel across the world?
But then it was a quick one-hour flight to Geneva, the last in a while, I hope. And as we dipped out of the clouds on our descent, we came out directly over Geneva. Despite the cloudy weather, the sun managed to find its way to glint directly off of the two rivers in sunset gold. The city looked perfect, and European, surrounded by green fields and edged with snow-capped mountains. That was when I took a deep breath – oh yeah. This just might be fun.
Now that we’re safely ensconced in our temporary apartment, we’ll see how things go. I always regret any kind of travel the first day I arrive. It just takes me a little bit of time to ease into things. And this is a bigger trip than most. For living in new places, I think it takes at least three months to get comfortable. So talk to me in three months about it – beginning of July, hot summer in Europe, yes I think I’ll be getting behind this then.