Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Trip to Pick up Karina---Dec 19-27, 2009

Ok, so I should have posted this a LONG time ago.  It is my hope that some time having passed is going to mellow the memories of this trip, and, honestly, there has been so much going on that I haven’t really had time to sit down and process all of what happened on our trip 3.   And then there is the whole not really much time to write it all down.  I’m afraid, however, that if I don’t do this soon, I’m going to forget important details, so I’m posting this in hopes that it will help me remember this amazing experience.

First of all, we were supposed to leave for Russia on Saturday, December 19.  This was the day that the first freakish blizzard hit the East Coast, but we were hopeful that we would get out before things shut down.  No such luck.  We were on the way to the airport in St Louis from home when we got the text message that our flight from StL to Philadelphia was cancelled.  We were supposed to connect in Philadelphia for a flight on Lufthansa to Frankfurt, Germany, and then head on to Moscow from there.  We called the travel agent, waited on hold for about 45 minutes, and then talked with him for about another 30 minutes (it was at this point that we stopped in Lebanon, MO for a break, and discovered that the Hardee’s there is quite the hopping place on a Saturday morning.)

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Our travel agent suggested that we go on to the airport, on the hopes that someone at the desk for our airline could make things happen that he couldn’t.  This turned out to be great advice.  We headed on to StL (after a short stop to see if the guys could help a pickup that had gone off the access road and flipped over onto the interstate). 

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At the airport, we got in line and waited.  And waited.  Finally we got to the desk and explained our situation.  (It was at this point that the flight we were supposed to have been on would have left if it could have left).  Luckily, we had a very sweet lady named Cheryl who helped us.  She checked all possible options for getting us to Frankfurt and then to Moscow, and finally (after nearly a hour or so) was able to get us on flights early Monday morning. 

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There was going to be NOTHING before then into Frankfurt that was open.

So---we had flights early on Monday morning.  That would put us there on Tuesday night, which was only 2 days later than it should have been, and was workable.  We headed out of the airport to get something to eat, and ended up at the Marriott across from the airport (because it was close!)  While we were there, I decided to call Lufthansa and make sure that our flights from Philly to Moscow were updated in their system (which Cheryl had suggested).  They weren’t.  I talked to some “nasty” guy at Lufthansa who told us that Cheryl hadn’t updated the flights correctly, and that we had to go back to the airport and have her do it right.  Great.

So, we headed back.  Thank goodness Cheryl was still there.  In order to get us on the Lufthansa flights on Monday, we had to be upgraded to business class, which were the only seats left.  Cheryl worked for nearly another 2 hours to get us approved for the upgrade, and to make sure that we had good tickets.  A call to Lufthansa told us that we were now ok. 

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With a huge amount of tired, but also thankfulness, we headed back to the Marriott.  My sis had agreed to just spend Saturday and Sunday night in StL, rather than make the 3 hour drive home and back.  We said goodbye to the guys, 

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and headed upstairs where we both crashed.  We went back downstairs to the same restaurant where we’d had lunch and had dessert for dinner, then headed back to the room and went to sleep.  What a day!

Sunday morning, Susan got up early to run.  (She’s a long-distance runner, and this was going to be her last chance to get in a good workout before the fight on Monday).  When she got back to the room, we called the Fox Theater and were able to get seats to see their live production of “Holiday Inn.”  We had talked about going to see it BEFORE the court date was scheduled, and had thought that it wasn’t going to work out---we were luckily surprised!  So, we headed out and used the MetroLink to go to brunch

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and then take us downtown to the Fox. 

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“Holiday Inn” was such fun (hey, what show isn’t fun where it snows inside the theater?) and it was perfect for getting me out of some of my “worries” about the trip.  Not that I wasn’t still worried, but it reminded me that I needed to “count my blessings instead of sheep” and to focus on the good things that had happened.  

After a stop at the Circle K for chocolate, Sus and I headed back to the Marriott.  After dinner AGAIN at the hotel restaurant (the waitress actually asked, “why are you still here?”)

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we headed upstairs, changed into our PJs, and went to the laundry room to wash our clothes so they’d all be clean for the next leg of the trip. 

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Again, we crashed early, knowing we had to get up early in the morning.  I’ll save Monday and Tuesday for the next post!