Nervous

We have about a month now before we head over to the States.  To be honest, I’m a bit nervous about it.  What will it be like?  Will I experience some reverse culture shock?  Will I drive my parents and in-laws crazy when we stay with them?!

The answer to the last two questions is probably “Yes – a little” 🙂  We’ll be there for just a smidgen over 6 weeks.  That’s time enough to start adjusting.  Time enough to start feeling like America is home, when it’s not.  It’s just a vacation destination.

This is home.  Repeat, “this is home”.  Will I be in the US and long for home?  Miss our apartment and my friends and my work?

I’m sure that I will.  New Zealand is home right now.  Not sure that it always will be.  Being here means a lot of things.  Once Joe is older than 2, we would have to pay for his airfare (currently, we have to pay a $250 fee for him to fly with us).  Six plane tickets at $2,000 apiece… what if we have another child?  You could easily rack up $10,000 on airfare and baggage fees.  Yeesh.

You’ve got to consider stuff like that, and it’s no slight on New Zealand to say that travelingto and from here is expensive.  Living here long term would mean that there would be many of my relatives who we’d see only a handful of times.  We have a big family (I’ve got 5 sisters, 4 brothers, 2 brothers-in-law, 3 sisters-in-law, 3 nieces and 2 nephews… Chris has 3 brothers, a sister, 3 sisters-in-law, a brother-in-law, and 3 nieces and a nephew… plus we both have more neices and maybe a nephew on the way!).  That’s a lot of people, and living here and having to pay that kind of airfare?  Well, I’m guessing that we would see them at most once every other year.  So, about 10 times in a 20 year time-frame.  I’m not too happy about that, although I recognize that, for some people, moving this far away and being so distant from family is part of the appeal 😉

It’ll be interesting to see how I react to being Stateside.  I’ll probably be so thrilled at first – just being at the end of so many flights and layovers with a 5 month old will be worth celebrating.

Which brings me to another thing that I’m nervous about: what am I supposed to do with Joe for the trip out there and the trip back?  We’ll be traveling for just over 23 hours, 19 of which will be spent in airplanes.  The flight back is even longer.  What do you do with a 5 month old for that long?  How do you pack your carry-on for that?  Have any of you done it before?  Any tips?

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16 comments

  1. Jenny says:

    Hi Jenny!
    I just stumbled on your blog through Kiwi Mummy Blogs and have been browsing your posts… My name is Jenny too, I am a New Zealander living in the USA (Iowa) and I am a 29 year old first time mum just like you. I have been reading with interest about your impressions of NZ etc. You seem to write about all the same sorts of things that go through my mind about living in a different country! 🙂 I hope you have a wonderful trip home. We travelled to NZ earlier in the year when our daughter was 8 months old and she coped with the flying really well. To be honest I think it will be a lot harder next time now that our daughter is walking and doesn’t want to sit still! Enjoy your six week holiday, I will be checking back on your blog to hear how it all goes! Sorry I don’t have a blog (used to) but my email address is above.
    Take care!
    Jenny

  2. Diane Morgan says:

    We’re also heading home (US and UK!) next year and I am also excited and a little nervous. We wouldn’t have been home for nearly 4 years by then and I’m really interested to see how I feel and my perspective on things. I’m already anticipating some odd realizations — perhaps something related to humidity and lightning bugs.

    And you’re right, the tickets are super expensive…! And it eats up all your leave from work for the whole year! Meanwhile we don’t have a kid yet but it’s certainly something we are taking into consideration if we do decide to try for a baby. It’s tough being away from all those relatives who — even if sometimes annoying — you’d like to be able to see more than once in two years!

    Well good luck with the trip and have fun!! Will you be home for Thanksgiving?

  3. Jenny @ Practically Perfect... says:

    Thank you! I’m glad that Joe is still relatively happy being held – I’m sure that once he’s more mobile, it’s be a lot more, ahem, “interesting” on flights! And we are flying Air NZ, so that’s good to hear that they’ve been helpful in the past 🙂

  4. Jenny @ Practically Perfect... says:

    That is so crazy that there were people without babies sitting in the bassinet seats… I thought that those would be available only for parents. I’m glad that the other passengers were happy to switch with you, though. That was nice! I guess we will just try to check in early and get our seats!

  5. Jenny @ Practically Perfect... says:

    We have thought about offering to help pay for tickets to get family out here. We’ll see how that turns out! For the time being, we are just enjoying where we are at and not living as though our lives are still back in the States.

    We did take Joe on the plane to Welly and I was pleasantly surprised with how well things went. Hopefully, it’ll be the same thing en route to the US!

  6. Sarah says:

    I really empathize with you x

    Before we had children we’d go back once every two years for a great trip. I didn’t used to get home-sick then – but now I do 🙁

    My parents have been great and come out once every two years (we paid for my parents-in-law last Christmas as they couldn’t afford to come and we couldn’t afford the cost of flying us and 3 children to the UK). It is so expensive. It’s been 4 year’s since we last went to the UK. We hope to go in two year’s time.

    I haven’t seen my sister in 4 years! My father is one of 7 and I have so many wonderful aunts, uncles, cousins and friends in the UK. I miss them so much, but my life is here now. My children are so happy here, my husband’s business is here, our lives are settled.

    As for the flight – trust me when I say it will be okay x Expect the worse and you’ll be pleasantly surprised 🙂 Travelling with a non-mobile baby is much better than a crawling one (and bubs will still fit in the bassinette the air-lines provide). Unfortunately the bassinette things are sometimes positioned under the big screen so take a breathable blanket or something to shield bub’s eyes from the glare.

    If you’re breastfeeding then do so on landing & take-off – or have a bottle or sipper cup to hand.

    Take a change of clothes for you, as well as baby (nothing worse than having to fly long-haul with baby spew or spilled food on you).

    Take a few toys to distract when you have to be seat belted in x

    Good luck! xx

  7. Christine says:

    For the bassinet, we flew Air NZ and booked way in advance and requested a bassinet. We were told the same as you that it was first come basis, but that age also played a part. The younger the baby the more likely they are to get a bassinet. We made sure to ask at check-in and on both flights we were informed that there were more than 6 infants on the plane and we had missed out. Once we got on both flights we quickly realised that there were older couples sitting in the bassinet seats, no babies anywhere nearby! Luckily for us on both flights the couples were more than happy to swap with us…. and the air hostesses were fantastic. I think the check-in crew are not so great at giving bassinets to those who need them!

    The tray cover, here is my version http://www.meinasnap.com/2010/08/15/airplane-tray-cover/. I could probably even post it up to you cause we don’t need in the near future! Saves you making one 🙂

  8. Jane says:

    So one of my good friends has twin boys and they flew with them when they were about 4 months old. They were born in France and they were moving back to the states. They gave them both benedryl before the flight … and BOTH of them had paradoxical reactions and stayed awake the entire flight. Moral of the story: if you’re going to use any sort of medication, test it before you go! haha! 🙂

  9. Broot says:

    I did it but it was a few years back. Seems to me that my littlest wasn’t the problem – she was happy to sleep most of the time or just be entertained on our laps. It was the toddler that could walk and wasn’t happy just sitting. I remember pacing the aisles on the airplane to keep him occupied!! (And I’ve since seen other parents do it too, on other flights.) Not sure I can help except to say been there, done that, yes it can be difficult, but you will survive!!

    I do remember asking for (and receiving) a lot of help. If you’re flying Air New Zealand at all, they are extremely helpful and will even help you with your luggage at the destination terminal. I found that for the most part, if you approach airport staff and volunteers, they will help you or find you help quite readily. The only time I asked for help and didn’t get it was at the Honolulu airport. Airport staff were extremely unhelpful there.

  10. AmyB says:

    I’m so happy for you that you get to come home for a visit!! I hope you have a safe flight and an amazing time with your family!!

  11. Jenny @ Practically Perfect... says:

    First up – I love long comments!

    Now, what do you mean that you had to fight for the bassinet seats? We have requested one, but did you have to argue with them at the counter or with the flight attendants? How did that work? I was told that it’s on a first-come, first-served basis, and that if we bought our flights earlier and requested one, that we would be more likely to get one. Do they give the seats to people who don’t have babies?

    And I must hear more about this tray cover – what a great idea!

  12. Christine says:

    How exciting!! It will be nice to head back to the States for a while, you will have a fantastic time! Things will have changed, but it will still be great fun!
    We took Miss D to California when she was 13 months old… quite a bit older than Joe. But she did well. We had a special carry-on bag for her, lots of toys, a few changes of clothes and lots of food. The air hostesses were lovely, they were more than happy to warm her food up and get her bottles ready for us. Just make sure you fight for a bassinet on the plane, they don’t always give people with infants those seats… we had to work hard to get one on each flight!
    I made a tray cover for the flight as well, it has beads, velcro shapes and a few other things on it. We slid it over the tray and she could play with it while sitting on our laps!
    The thing we found the hardest was once we got to California she didn’t eat for the whole first week! She only had milk and a few banana’s. Not sure if it was the heat, jet lag or just that everything she knew had changed over night! Her first proper meal was fries!
    I think the thing to remember is that the flights will go better than you think, you know that there is an end point and the noise of the plane will cover most of the noise Joe may make! 🙂 Good luck!!!! (sorry for the length of my comment!) 🙂

  13. Becca says:

    One thing you can bank on– your large families are really really excited to see you and love you all to pieces! And no one will be driven crazy! LOL I understand the nervous feelings, though… For me the hardest part of coming “home” was seeing how much things had changed. When I was overseas I just always thought of home as a place frozen in time, but when I finally got to visit, I realized that things had gone on without me. I knew that in my head, but it was still hard to process when I got there. Praying that right now the excitement of the trip outweighs the anxious feelings and that during travel you have lots of really pleasant surprises and experiences of God’s provision, even on the plane ride. Love you and can’t wait to see you and meet J!

  14. Valerie says:

    If M&D get sick of you, you’re welcome to stay in my apartment! Well, so long as you don’t mind Joe sleeping in the tub! Okay, so I might be short on space, but the sentiment remains. 😀

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