We have arrived in the USA

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Wow is probably the polite way of being overwhelmed with so many emotions.

I can say we survived the car trip, the train trip, and the plane trip.

We left on the 30th April and drove down to Newcastle to catch a train from Broadmeadow.  One of my lovely friends was very kind to drive us down and then she could look after the car while we are away.

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We arrived at the train station, now I looked up opal cards and I realised it was too late to organise for them to be sent to our house. I then looked up where we could by them.  My understanding we could buy them from the station. I was very misinformed or I didn’t understand what the webpage was saying. The closest place we could purchase the opal ticket was the 7 eleven. It was two blocks away.  We had no choice to buy the single use opal ticket.  $10 for adults and $5.00 for children VS. Opal card $2.50 per person all day for all transport on Sundays.

Now that we bought our ticket we then waited for the train. Thank goodness they come every 40mins or so, it wasn’t too much of a wait. We jump into the carriage with all our bags and Charlotte having a panic attack over getting on the train with the train leaving her behind. As you will see we didn’t leave her behind. Even if I thought about it a couple of times.

We tried to get ourselves organise and I notice on the wall about being quiet and respectful to others. I never thought anything of the signs just thought ok we need to get settle for this big train ride.

We discovered very quickly the carriage we were on was called a quiet carriage. This is a carriage where no one talks, no noise and you just sit there. Of course I was very unaware of this and two ladies were very happy to let us know that this was a quiet carriage.

We quickly got up, moved all our luggage, children and us; to the doors so we could find a carriage that suited our family.

Our bags were heavy and moving them plus the kids to find a carriage was very interesting exercise. We were able to get onto a carriage that was not quiet after two attempts. The kids wanted to go up stairs and I just wanted to sit. So I made them sit on the first seat with all our bags on the other seats. Once the family had settled down I fixed up all the bags so we were not hogging four extra seats because of our bags.

I posted on Facebook about quiet carriages vs normal. I received a great response from friends. I have learnt a lot about why they brought them in.

Thank goodness for mobile phones. We were planning to take a taxi from central to our motel. When one of my friends message me from Sydney offering to pick us up and take us to our Ibis Budget motel.

Though my timing was completely wrong on when we’re arriving in central, my friends husband came, picked us up and took us to our motel.

I loved how we could catch up and have some dinner before going to bed for the massive day ahead of us. Andrew wanted Krispy Kreme for dessert, he came back with donuts. It was like Jensen had never had a donut before. He loved them. I save two and put them in our little fridge for the morning.

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Our room at Ibis Budget. People who know me know I like anything with the number 7 🙂

We woke up at 03:30am to get ready for the trip to Melbourne.

I gave Jensen a donut to kick start his morning. More about that later on.

All went smoothly leaving the motel room. We order a taxi. Waiting, waiting and a little more waiting.  We were outside at 4am to be at domestic by 4:30 when departure would open.  Finally a taxi arrive at 04:40 to take us to the domestic terminal. First words after we asked for our destination, the taxi driver said “why you didn’t walk?” I was very impressed with my husband said to the driver “we have children and we needed to go via taxi”. Very awkward moment.  We arrived at domestic to check in on the auto check in computers.

What a stressful situation. Having to punch all the information on the touch screen for all the members of my family and to make sure all our documents were correct. Once we completed the section we then needed to go to the service desk to print out our tickets. That was a lot quicker. Normally I can check in 24 hours prior to do this in the comfort of my motel. This option was not available this time.

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Boarding the plane from Sydney to Melbourne

Off we went to go and find Gate 3 and seat to relax till we board the plane.

The kids were happy we were next to free Wi-Fi. Jensen could watch his Minecraft, Charlotte could listen to music, Andrew could watch his twitch and I just enjoyed reading.

We got on our plane no hiccups, no sore ears, and the kids were excited when the plane took off. Charlotte sat beside the window and I sat in the middle with Jensen on the other side. It worked out really well to keep the kids calm. Did I say no hiccups what was I thinking. This is not a Cronk holiday without a moment or two a day.

First moment Jensen started the white donuts he wanted us to buy. I had to let him know that when we get to Melbourne airport we will look out for the donut place to get another donut before we get on the next plane. He stopped repeating this over and over again.

Second moment. Charlotte said to me I am not feeling well and I think I am going to be sick. The first thing I pulled out was a paper bag from the back of the seat.

Sure enough as soon as I did that she started vomiting and I mean a good vomit. If people know me well enough I am not a great person to sit next to because I normally follow suite. This time I just kept it together and help her through the moment.

She was really hot and the plane was really warm which I think didn’t help the situation. Thank goodness I had large snap lock bags in my backpack. I was able to quickly put the bags she filled and close quickly to help reduce a mess happening or even the smell coming back to haunt me. Poor thing got her clothes as well. Our bags were going straight to the next plane. Which meant I needed to buy something at the airport.

Finally we arrived in Melbourne airport to change to international for our next leg of the flight. I found a shop I could buy some clothes for charlotte. Just a tee shirt and shorts. OMG it cost me $55.00 thank you for coming. Note to self about the spare clothes in carry on for the kids.

Andrew exchange money while we had a chance. We just happen to be near all the food. I didn’t notice the Krispy Kreme’s but Jensen did. There was a massive line and I knew we needed to be at the other terminal boarding at 09:15. I thought we could get through the whole situation off customs to find another donut place and a place we could eat some food.

We got through customs to discover the international side is having a Reno. I couldn’t see any donut place or any shop that sold donuts.

Jensen also worked that out as well. He then started about donuts and how would he get his donut now. I tried to distract him again about donuts by telling him that Americans love donuts and we should be able to see a donut place when we arrive at LAX.

We received news about our flight, the news was not so great and it would mean we would have to wait until Qantas could get an answer. This meant we would be waiting for our flight for an unknown time. How am I going to keep Jensen and Charlotte calm for the whole time?

 

The captain made the announcement our plane is missing some important bolts and screws.  All I could think of how we were going to fly without crashing and thank goodness they found it before we needed to fly out.

Our flight was supposed to board at 09:15 to flight 10:15. We finally boarded the place at 12:30 to fly out by 1pm.

 

Our seats were the second seats from the back of the plane. We were near the toilets. A bonus for Charlotte since she seems to go a lot in the night.

I thought of the positive of being at the back of the plane. I thought of what could happen if we are in the back of the plane. This all came after knowing the bolts and screws were missing.

I made sure I put the family in an order that would keep peace and harmony on the plane. Andrew on the outside, Jensen next to him, then me and Charlotte on the other outside.

By the time we left the plane Andrew was the only one in the same chair.

The food was nice and I knew that Charlotte would have problems with the food so I had to think of a smart way of looking at what she was going to eat. There was beef brisket with potatoes and corn salsa. I called it new version of nachos. Didn’t go down too well. Note to self pre order flight food on the way back for Charlotte to accommodate her taste buds. This nice lady gave my daughter some noodles. I thought it was a great idea and I never really got to thank her for being so kind. Charlotte thought she was in heaven once she got to eat Plain bland noodles. Something charlotte eats when she doesn’t like our meals we cook at home.

Jensen then took his turn for breakfast. He didn’t want anything for breakfast he didn’t like anything on the list. I order him eggs, sausage and hash brown. He looked at it and said nope not eating it.

Not easy to accommodate my children I feel.

Then I discover he had pizza through the night, he kindly told me the pizza was Yuck as well.

I can say this…Qantas knows how to feed people and I really enjoyed the service pity about the kids not appreciating the good service.

The problem with being right up the back of the plane people liked to talk near the toilets and I mean I could hear them and it was not helping me sleep at all. I am glad that charlotte could sleep through it but I really struggle.

I woke up to this crying and I thought it might have been one of the kids crying but in fact it was a lady having a panic attack on the plane. There was a nurse there and at that point I didn’t know that she was a nurse.  Flight attendant brought her prescription of Temazepam. She didn’t know if should could take any more because she had already taken 2 separately and it was like 9am in the morning in Melbourne. So I put my thoughts into the ring and said take 20mg put some mindfulness music like classical music on and you will be asleep in no time. (I might say this is the short version of what happen. )

When I finally got to sleep I slept for about 2 hours. Then I needed to get up for a drink and I saw the nurse that was looking after her. I found out the lady crash to sleep within 15mins and still asleep the whole time.  I was impressed that she finally got to sleep and it was a shame I didn’t see her just to see how she was once we got off the flight.

I found it interesting her GP gave Temazepam to help with her anxiety and panic attacks.  This is the experience I have had with my patients before they have surgery. Normally it is a similar drug but it helps with anxiety.

Well we finally arrive in LAX to be kindly asked if my children would love to see the cockpit. I took that as a massive yes as people know it is not something that happens every day. Only thought how lucky are my kids to have the opportunity to sit in the captain’s chair. They asked very sensible questions too. How do you know what buttons to press when you are flying? Jensen question

Charlotte asked how do you know what direction to fly?

We thanked all the staff on board and the captain. Two very impressed children to start there wonderful holiday.

I got out all the paperwork we needed we were heading to the custom special assistance line. Jensen by then started to get really restless and having multiple moments while we were walking to customs.

Thank goodness I learnt about the special assistant line. I had my two cards out for the children. The man at the line was unsure why we were here until I showed him the cards. It was smooth transition through customs. We had a lovely gentle Man get our passports and identifications information. We were set to the next stage of getting our luggage.

We arrive to pick up our luggage and I think Andrew was so tired that he forgot what our luggage looked like. Our pale pink bag went straight past him till I called out Andrew you missed out bag, there is our other bag. Lol I could tell he had hit the wall and was not coping with no sleep and lack of sleep.

I saw the special assistance line again and we went through to be checked over. We handed our paperwork we filled out and off we went to the next stage of our journey.

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Jensen waiting for the Mini Van

Finding the super shuttle bus service was interesting. The man was hiding behind a massive pylon I couldnt see him until we past. We check in for the next shuttle bus to Anaheim. We had to wait about 15 mins which was not long at all. We sat and just tried to keep Jensen amused while waiting. He was pretty restless at this point and wanting to jump over everybody.  The Minivan arrived, we got in the minivan with relief to be going to a place we could sleep. By the time we were halfway there I think Charlotte, Jensen and Andrew were nodding their heads. My head started to node closer to the destination.

Bang we were here at the Howard Johnston!

Finally we are at our motel thank goodness because we now need to just get to sleep and once we wake up we can then work out what the next adventure will bring.

Jensen and charlotte did not sleep at all. I passed out on the bed, Andrew then also fell asleep with many wake up moments from Jensen. I was lucky enough to have enough sleep that we could go for a walk so Jensen could finally had something to eat.

Guess where he wanted to go Golden Arches.

It was just a quick walk down the street and we were there. We order what he wanted and sat down.

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Gosh it brought back memories on how a Big Mac use to taste. Most of our food was cold not hot like Aus. Really it didn’t matter Jensen was getting his food and it meant he would calm down maybe we could go for a walk to see around.

Hah Calm down I must be kidding myself. We just wanted to walk 200 metres down the road and he just started having a meltdown. I thought going for the walk would be good for him and the family. I was totally wrong I was pushing his limits more than he can handle when he was so over tired.

We walked back to the room to give some medications to help calm him down. It got him so calm he was able to sleep which is what I needed him to do.

While I am writing this he has been asleep the whole time, we were a little peckish and wanted pizza but instead we went for pop chips and chocolate milk from the little main street shop.

Before I sign off the best thing about this place we are staying. The beds are so comfy which has just little extra help for me to sleep a little quicker.

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