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Visit to Michigan - Getting Home

Alas, our streak of good travel did not continue for the journey home. Let's start at the beginning.

For some reason, we decided that we knew how to get the airport from my parents house. So we were in lead the driving and we totally missed the exit. And of course, there wasn't another exit to get turned back around for another 11 miles. Thankfully, we had left my parents house a bit earlier than we needed too, so we arrived in time.

Check in went just fine. But, when we brought our checked bag to the counter it was 2 lbs over weight. When we travel to Michigan, we try to pack as lightly as possible. I always do laundry at my parents house, so I basically pack 3-4 outfits for each person and we just repeat through the week. So, all four of us had fit in 1 standard size suitcase and one backpack that we used for carry on. I was hopeful that the person at the desk would see this and let our overweight bag pass. But, no. We would have to pay a overweight baggage fee. Thankfully, I had packed a small duffle bag in the suitcase, so we took that out and the kids snow pants and then we were within the allowed weight. We just carried the duffle bag on the plane and made the back pack a bit less heavy.

While waiting at our gate, we noticed the Fire and Rescue truck was on the tarmac by the plane. This wasn't our plane, but the flight prior to ours. Eventually our of the jet way comes a woman in a wheelchair accompanied by paramedics. From we could tell, it looked like she was suffering from a huge nose bleed.. The plane took off and then they wheeled the lady back out to the jet way. Then a little while later more paramedics came up the terminal to the gate with a stretcher. The woman was helped on the stretcher and wheeled away to a waiting ambulance I would assume. It was a strange situation to witness.

Our flight from Grand Rapids to Chicago went very well. As we arrived in Chicago, the flight attendant started to give out connecting gate information. When we got off the plane, we double checked the screens in the terminal. Good thing we did because the gate information we had been given on the plane was for a later flight. We headed to the correct gate which happened to be closer to the gate we arrived at, so that was really nice.  The gate was packed. Just a case of too little seating for the size plane we were taking. It was a short layover, so we didn't have time to get anything to eat, but we had a long layover coming up in Philadelphia, so we thought we would get a good meal there.

We arrived in Philadelphia after a nice flight and expected to enjoy our leisurely lay over and meet up with Wilbert's brother and sister-in-law. We check the screens to find out what gate our last flight was at, only to see that it was cancelled! What!?! We decided to walk to gate our next flight was supposed to leave from and ask where to go to get rebooked. Thankfully, a flight was just boarding and after it left, the two agents at the desk worked on it for us. We could go to Boston and then catch and Air Canada flight from there to Halifax and only get in one hour later than our original flight. While the agents were working on it, they told us that we needed to move and get to the gate for our next flight. Of course, this gate was clear across the airport, so we had to hop on the shuttle.

We made it to the gate with time enough to grab some food since we still hadn't really eaten since breakfast. As we reached the gate, feeling super stressed and hoping this all worked out, a man dressed as Santa approached us and offered the kids a candy cane and asked us to sit for a picture. Mataya freaked out and started crying, but  Santa wouldn't leave until we took a we have a horrible picture of whole family with Santa where Mataya looks terrified. She didn't calm down until Santa was no longer in sight.

While we were snacking on our food, the agent at the gate announced our flight was on a mechanical delay and she would update us a time as soon as she new. But, less the 10 minutes later, we were boarding the flight, so it must have been an easy fix. The flight went well, but guess what? I got a bloody nose! Thankfully, mine stopped fairly quickly. We did not want to repeat what we had seen in Grand Rapids.

We arrived in Boston and looked up our final gate. We followed the signs and then came to a point where it looked like we had to leave the secure area to get to our gate. We asked the guard at the gate who informed us that, yes we did have to leave security to get to our gate because Air Canada has their own secure area. We still needed boarding passes for this flight, so we stopped at the check-in desk. The agent there was rather skeptical and informed us that check-in was closed for this flight. I asked him to just check because the agents in Philadelphia said they were going to check us in. After a few tense moments while he looked at his screen, he said, "oh yes, here you are" and printed our boarding passes. That went a bit better then the lady in the line next to us who learned the reason she couldn't check-in was because her flight was for the next day.

So we proceeded through Air Canada's security. The only really bad thing was Joash had picked out a drink in Philadelphia that he had not finished and we knew they would not allow through security. We told Joash we would look for another drink when we got through security and he calmed down. We got to the terminal only to discover it was a very small terminal  with just three gates. And the only place to get anything to eat or drink wasn't open. Jelly beans helped Joash feel better. We boarded our flight to Halifax. Our assigned seats were in the exit row, so we asked the flight attendant because we didn't think they would let us sit there with two kids. Thankfully people were very willing to trade seats with us, so everyone got settled. We commented several times how the atmosphere on this flight was much more jovial than our other flight. The flight attendant was hilarious, so I think that helped as well.

The flight was just fine and we arrived in Halifax around 10 pm. Customs was a breeze. We were certain that since we were rerouted there was no way our checked bag made it to Halifax. We had already told the kids, since most of their Christmas gifts from Michigan were in that bag. But, you have to go through baggage claim to leave the airport, so we went. And we knew we would have to speak to someone to get our bag to PEI. As we walked up to the baggage claim carousel, I said "Wilbert, is that our bag?" He ran over to looked and came back triumphant! Our bag had made it! We were so surprised by this and the kids were super excited. American Airlines, you rock!

We met up with Wilbert's sister at the airport and she hopped in our van to come to PEI for Christmas. We were on the road by 11. Wilbert's mom called to ask how the weather was at the airport and we said it was just fine. There was no snow on the ground or in the air. She told us it was snowing on PEI, so things were a bit slushy and slow going. She was on her way to Halifax as well to get Wilbert's brother and sister-in -law who were getting in  four hours after we did. So, we headed home and ran into the snow when we got to New Brunswick. It was slow going, but not impossible or extremely unsafe. We were very thankful that we had put new winter tires on our van before we had left to go to Michigan. We finally made it back home around 2 am in the morning.

What a day! But, did you see it? Did you see how God was working through every little thing to make what could have been a just terrible day turn out to be a not so bad day?

As we say farewell to 2015, I am thankful that this has been a year that I have really had my eyes open to all that God is doing and have been truly blessed by what I have seen. It is my prayer that this pattern will continue into 2016 and that you, too, will see how God is at work in everything.


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