The last two and a half weeks have been glorious, exhausting, adventurous, exciting, mind-boggling, and absolutely fantastic.
I have been to the Netherlands and back.
I can barely believe it myself. I feel like I've only been gone for a few days, and yet I feel as if I've been gone for months. So much has happened!
And now, through blogging, I can re-live the adventure while sharing it with you!!
Sunday, April 1st 2012
8:00 a.m. Wake up for church.
10:15 a.m. Sneak out of church early to get ready for the trip.
11:15 a.m. Our ride arrives. Thanks, guys!!
11:45 a.m. Arrive at airport. Suitcases rumbling behind us, the automatic doors whoosh open. This is it! The beginning of our big adventure.
1:09 p.m. The flight to Minneapolis begins! The plane begins jouncing on the runway, taxiing out. We turn a corner, and speed up! I’m pushed back into my seat, the whine of the engine intensifies. Faster , faster, faster! And suddenly *lift*! Plane tilts, stomach drops, and I grin madly.
2:00 p.m. Minneapolis!
Now for the 7 hour layover …
We wandered around the airport, doing all kinds of ridiculous things to kill time.
Like riding the tram back and forth a zillion times.
Yes, we are dorks.
Bird watching (?).
Trying on hats.
Riding the walkways.
Trying to snooze.
And finally, after a minor exhaustion and hunger-induced meltdown (which was cured by Chinese food), we got to board the big plane!
8:00 p.m. Minneapolis time
4:00 a.m. Amsterdam time
Same grin-making stomach-dropping excitement as the plane rushes madly into the air.
Midnight our time
4:00 a.m. Greenland time
7:00 a.m. Amsterdam time
My sister rouses me from my futile attempt at sleeping; there are Northern lights out! We’re over the ocean near Greenland.
We are 37,728 feet above the mighty waves of the ocean. Dim clouds float in the dark, thousands of feet below us. Outside the plane it is -69 degrees Fahrenheit. The cold creeps through the tiny window and cools my fingers pressed eagerly against glass. Northern lights play among the stars, vibrant green fading into black. The light on the one visible plane wing blinks silent red. Engine roars constant. People try to sleep in the dimmed plane interior, restless, warm, stiff. Babies cry, people murmur, unaware of the hushed magic outside. I gaze at the Northern lights, Aurora Borealis, my neck craned uncomfortably.
Aurora and quiet stars, seen above the clouds in the unlikely everyday miracle of a plane, on the way to Amsterdam. I thank God quietly; the perfection is overwhelming and aches of beauty.
1:00 a.m. our time
8:00 a.m. Amsterdam time
The sun starts rising 6 hours after it set. Magic is happening this day.
Through holes in the clouds we see the ocean, mighty waves appear as pin-sized wrinkles.
We are approaching Holland!
Tulip fields in bloom.
4:30 a.m. our time
11:30 a.m. Amsterdam time
We land! This still seems unreal. But we’re really here! I can tell, because as we taxi in I see a billboard. It’s in Dutch.
|Notice the Dutch flag!|
5:00 a.m. our time
12:00 p.m. Amsterdam time
We pick up our suitcases and rumble them through Schipol airport. My teeth chatter with sleep-deprivation, excitement and nerves. I'm about to meet my dad's brother and sister, who I haven't seen for 10 years!
This is so strange. I know them, my aunt and uncle, and yet I know them not at all. Aunt gives me a hug, and Uncle greets me in true Dutch style. Kiss left cheek, right cheek, and left again.
Welcome to Holland!
11:00 a.m. Monday April 2nd our time
6:00 p.m. Monday April 2nd Amsterdam time
27 hours awake. By this time we were all going loopy. I stood up to go outside and stumbled.
“Did the house just move, or is it just me?!” I yell.
Mom: “It’s just you.”
“OK, just checking.”
Then we went out to eat with my aunt, her new husband and his little daughter, Zoe. More wonderful family, not yet truly known.
By the time we got back to our cabin we had gone a full 30 hours without sleep. We went to bed at 9:00 p.m. Amsterdam time. Two in the afternoon our time.
I found out some very interesting things about 30 hrs sleeplessness. It is rather like being drugged …
For one, it makes you high. My sis made me do the “drunk test” by trying to walk a straight line. I nearly fell over. Twice.
And everything seemed hilarious. We were giggling rather dopily at everything, and couldn’t seem to stop! Which of course … we thought was highly hilarious.
And secondly, Thirty Hours No Sleep (as I’m calling this new drug) works as a wonderful sedative.
Cures sleep apnea, no problem! Take this drug, and 13 hours deep sleep is a cinch! You’ll sleep so hard it’s a miracle if you don’t stop breathing, never to wake again! Yes folks, this is the wonder drug of the century. Take it now, be happy and sleep well!!
Sorry. I think I’m still a little loopy …
Pardon me while I go headdesk something.
So there we were. In the Netherlands. Mind boggling and glorious.
Long post. More later. Expect millions of pictures.