If ever a time to brush the dust off this old blog, this is probably it. On Sunday morning, we woke the kids at 4am PST, piled too many bags to count into a black car, and braved the airport. Our first leg of our journey was to New Jersey to see some extended family (there is an AWESOME flight from San Jose to Newark now, just $120 per person but at 6am on either United or Alaska if anyone is looking to go East and avoid SFO!)
The flight was actually great, the kids slept a little, ate, and indulged in a bit too much screen time - but hey - they were well behaved and quiet. We arrived in New Jersey while patting ourselves on the back a bit as we managed the two kids, a rental car, 4 checked bags, a stroller, 4 carry-ons and ourselves. We made our way down the shore to see my grandmother and aunts and uncle - enjoying a lovely dinner catching up before attempting to sleep (this was the beginning of the end) and the next morning spending time with my cousin Jen and her two little boys, hitting the boardwalk for some fun, and then making our way back to Newark for the next part of our journey.
...and this is where we unraveled.
When looking for flights from San Francisco area to Zurich, we couldn't really find anything for less than about $3k a person/economy and we really wanted Emery to have her own seat as she is so wrigly these days. Then, with a little Google Flight magic, we stumbled upon TAP Portugal Airlines Newark to Zurich (with a stop in Lisbon) for $212 -- always the budget traveler, we scooped these up, thinking that at worst, it would be like going into labor with a child- terribly painful but can only last 24 hours.
And turns out, that is exactly what it was. Excruciatingly painful as the armrests didn't go up fully between seats, making it awkward to provide our two exhausted toddlers with support to rest. Grant was up in business class so he took Emery for a bit which was extremely helpful since Grace was pretty annoyed that our seats didn't have working TV Screens. For an entire transatlantic flight. Fortunately we had loaded iPads, but Grace carries a serious case of FOMO (fear of missing out) which made seeing everyone else have a screen with fun movies a case for jealousy turned into rage. No seriously. Uncontrollable.
By the time we arrived in Portugal, Grace had slept a total of an hour, Emery maybe 3 and both girls were dead set on having french fries for some reason... but it was 6am. Fortunately there was a compassionate worker at the McDonald's in the terminal who fried some up - which gave us a bit of peace - but they were on the fast track to misery -- too tired to function. With just a 3 hour layover in Lisbon, we tried to enjoy the SAS lounge but alas, our children were a bit too unruly, living up to the "American Spoiled, Poorly Behaved Children" reputation. Poster children for it, really.
When we finally got on the last leg of our adventure - Lisbon to Zurich, I thought it would be fine. Clearly the children were exhausted - this short flight they were sure to sleep. Or not. They both screamed the entire time. I don't know how to properly explain it - but they actually screamed, and cried, and kicked and tantrumed the entire 3 hours. We were humiliated as people in a multitude of languages said things under their breath... and directly to us. We tried to apologize and settle them down, but it is the moment of parenting I'll always look back on just feeling like the ultimate failure. We couldn't settle them down - not with cuddles or bribes or screen time or anything. The stewardesses were mad - thank god they didnt start the tantrums until we were in the air or else they would have kicked us off the plane. It was bad. So bad. As we landed in Zurich, everyone in our family was in tears, exhausted.
On the car ride from the airport to our new home, we vowed to start anew. Having never been to Zurich before, I was excited by the green hills, clean streets, and endless possibilities of exploration. We arrived at our lovely new community and found a spacious 4 bedroom flat outfitted with toys for the kids and everything we need - providing me with a renewed sense of hope for this 3-month adventure after the 11th hour of an arduous journey.
We arrived on Tuesday afternoon, and I am now writing this during lunch/naptime on Thursday with little else to tell. The biggest news was that it snowed yesterday, at the end of April! It was Emerson's first time seeing snow, and Grace hadn't really seen snow since she was born in Washington, D.C. Our California baby (Emery) loves it, Grace not so much, which kept our adventures to a minimum. Aside from venturing out to meet Grant by his office yesterday for a nice late lunch at Cheyenne Oerlikon, we haven't done all that much due to the 9 hour time difference we are struggling with - up all night, weird naps, etc. Fortunately time is on our side - we have 11 more weeks to explore the city, getting ourselves back in the groove of things can take its sweet time - except for poor Grant who had to travel to Germany today -- please send some love his way -- our kids kept the whole place up all night, and he had to leave early early this morning for the airport for his flight to Hanover for the Automation Conference.
Stay tuned for updates that are hopefully a bit more exciting with details of our adventures abroad. Missing all of our family and friends back in the United States and hope to hear updates! Please keep us posted on your daily lives - can always email me kkennedyallen@Gmail.com
Broscht from Zurich!
The Swiss Family Allen :)