31 Jul - Flight to Boston

rani's picture

I woke up at 3am, anxious about the flight. I ran everything through over and over again, making sure that I didn't forget anything. I was all set to go at 4.30, but waited for Masindi to get prepared until 5.00. However, big stormy rain poured in at 4.50 and didn't stop until 5.15. I thought I was really destined to not go this time, considering all the hindrance and disruption that I have been experiencing, from ticketing problems and visa etc. Nevertheless, we decided to call a cab at 5.20 and braved ourselves through the rain. Once we were in taxi, the rain stopped! We were really cursed!

We arrived at Changi airport just in time for check in. We have to go through layers of security checks, like all the flights going to the US. So much of paranoia, that even affects mothers with babies (but then again, they argued that you could never profile terrorists). The security lady checked my luggage and asked me with ceremonial questions such as "do you pack your bags yourself?", then she checked our US visas, and ushered us to the check in counter.

The check in lady told us that we couldn't get bulkhead seats in the flights. Worse, we got middle seat in the 12-13 hours flight from Tokyo to Chicago. I just pray for miracle.

We then say goodbay to Indi, and enter the immigration checkpoint. From then on, I'm alone with Noe in unfamiliar places. Inside I was totally nervous. This was Noe's first time in long-haul flight, and my first time traveling with Noe and without Indi.

The first thing I needed to do is to buy sanitary pads in the airport pharmacy, but I was so nervous of letting Noe run around while I'm doing my thing, so I ended up throwing the money for payment to the pharmacist. Then I put Noe into the stroller and walked towards the Delifrance bakery before going into the boarding area.

In the boarding area, Noe was running around, excited with the new place. A very friendly pregnant lady responded to Noe with a smile. Then we boarded the plane.

WHEN YOU ENTER A PLANE WITH A TODDLER AT HAND, YOU COULD SEE MANY NERVOUS EYES LOOKING AT YOU, PRAYING THAT YOU WOULD NOT BE SEATED NEXT TO THEM.

From Singapore to Tokyo, we were lucky to get an aisle seat with an empty adjacent seat. A lady who was supposed to sit in the next seat across the aisle asked for a different seat, probably because she's afraid that Noe would make a lot of noise and disturb her beauty sleep. Good, more empty seats!

Turned out that Meng, my french classmate, was in the same flight as me, and she was seated behind me. It's so funny, because she also has a daughter of the same age as Noe.

Noe was really excited during the flight. I was also physically well prepared and not tired yet, so we really enjoyed being on board. We had spinach omelette for breakfast, then Noe spend the rest of the six hours on the plane roaming around the aisle and playing with the flight attendants. They were really friendly and playful with Noe. Most of them are Singaporeans or Malaysian.

 

At the end of the flight, people around me commented that Noe has been such a good baby. I felt so blessed.

Meng and we got off the plane in Narita. Since she has been to Japan several times, she told me that Japanese people are really baby-friendly. True enough, we managed to cut queue because of Noe, which is good, because our flight is just one hours away. Before reboarding into the flight to Chicago, we bought Japanese McDonalds, which was the only restaurant that was open. Noe and I had shrimp fillet-o-fish, while Meng had chicken teriyaki. The funny thing is that we had to mix our own ice lemon tea.

 

We rushed to the boarding gate for the Chicago flight, and met a bunch of American people and got into a short chat. At the end she said, "Your english is very good", hmm perhaps she hasn't met a lot of Asian people before. Also, the funny thing is that I realized that having lived in Singapore I became not used to stranger talking to me, so, initially it was awkward for me when a stranger breaks the ice, but then, I really enjoyed talking to those people.

The flight to Chicago was really really full because another flight was cancelled and those passengers were admitted to this flight. Additionally, I didn't get aisle seat or bulkhead! Worse, the person who was sitting in the aisle seat refused to budge to my desperate appeal to switch seats. At the end, I threw myself at the mercy of the flight attendants, who were kind enough to find me a person who was willing to switch her aisle seat. God bless that young lady's kindness. We were seated next to a Korean teenager with an American accent, who turned out to be a greencard holder. This Korean girl is really kind and understanding with my situation.

Just prior to take off, Noe roamed around the plane again and a flight attendant taught tap dancing to Noe. He really enjoyed the dance! During this flight, Noe spent his time mostly sleeping. However, I couldn't sleep because I kept trying to give Noe a comfortable position in such an awkward single seat. At the end I didn't sleep at all, and I acquired skills such as eating in-flight meals using one hand in a reclined position. Worse, the 747 fight does not have individual screen so I couldn't enjoy in-flight entertainment. It was totally really a tiring flight for me, although Noe slept relatively well.

This is me acquiring a skill of one-handed photography

We arrived in Chicago around afternoon, and had to go through immigration and customs. Unlike Japan, babies are no excuse for cutting queues. The immigration officer asked me why I brought my baby along if this was a business trip. I said to him, because he's still breastfeeding. He didn't question me any further. Good, I was too tired for any debate, and besides, I've told him the truth.

We had to re-check our luggage through customs (this is terrible, I didn't recall that we needed to re-check our luggage when we were transferring flights in Europe). Our luggage took more than one hour to show up! After clearing the customs, we had to re-check in our luggage, transfer to different terminal, and re-enter security check. It was totally hectic and crazy, especially for a mom with a toddler. Luckily Noe has been really understanding and patient.

The security check in American airport is really really really tight. Basically I had to strip myself bare, metaphorically speaking. Unlike in Japan, in the US Noe couldn't stay in the stroller during security check in, they had to scan the stroller too. Lucky I didn't bring laptop, else, they need to boot it to prove that it is a working laptop. Also I needed to open my sandals (not even shoes!). But then, double standard. Noe didn't have to open his shoes. Does that mean that toddler couldn't be a shoebomber? I thought they said, you couldn't profile a terrorist?

By the time I arrive at the boarding gate for the flight to Boston, I was the last passenger and they were about to close the gate. It was a tiny plane, and I was seated next to an Indian old couple who were visiting their daughters in Boston. There's no way you can get an empty seat next to you in US local flight, they're almost always full.

After about two hours of flight, we arrived in Boston. The first thing that I saw from the air was Ikea in Boston, the blue building and yellow fonts were clearly visible from the sky.

Many problems befell me upon landing. How do I get into the hostel? How come the luggage does not come out of the baggage claim? I needed to change my return date, how do I do that? I ended up going back and forth from the info counter, to baggage claim, and United ticketing office.

It turned out that my luggage got stuck in Chicago, and coming only in the next flight, so I had to wait for a few more hours. The United baggage claim officer said, "It happens when you connect flight" without any hints of remorse or apology. From that moment on, I told myself not to take UA anymore, except for the returning flight later the week.

The ticketing office was closed, so I had to return to the airport later on. Also, the info counter told me that it would cost me 30 USD to get a taxi to the Hemenway Hostel. Being a stingy person, I decided to take the T train to the hostel, lugging a suitcase, a stroller, a toddler, a baby bjorn carrier, and a backpack. Luckily most people are helpful. The train was quite comfortable.

 

However, the Hynes/ICA station was not equipped with elevator or escalator yet (not until next year). I had to drag the stroller and suitcase hundreds of staircases to the main street, and besides, I don't know where exactly the hostel location is, other than having the address, because I didn't have a map.

Luckily a girl named Sara, her mom, her dad, and her boyfriend offered to help me with my stuff. They even took my stuff up to the hostel reception. Sara knows the area well, because she lives around hemenway. She's a ballet dancer studying at Boston conservatory nearby. She and her family were really nice.

We checked into the hotel at around 9.30pm and immediately took a shower. I was too tired to look for a dinner place, so I only bought potato chips and microwaveable popcorn from the vending machine for Noe's dinner (so unhealthy and I felt guilty). We then had a long sleep.

Comments

Gileeee....

Perkasa buanget dirimu Raaaan! Hehehhee...

gile jugaaaaaa...

sampe ngos2an dan deg2an sendiri gue bacanya... top abeeeeessss....

salut :)

salut :)

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