The plane raised through the air and my older daughter grinned from the strange feeling, telling me loudly how exciting it was. She looked at the windows and all we could see were dark clouds and lightening flashing all around us. The wings of the plane were not visible.
"Mommy! Are we in the clouds?" she asked in disbelief. "Look, look, everyone! We are in the clouds! I wonder if we'll see Angels! Or God!"
When the pilot spoke over the intercom next, among the topics he discussed were that we would be experiencing turbulence for a while so it best would be to remained buckled in our chairs whenever we are not standing.
I took my daughter to the bathroom where she gushed over the small space and how strange everything was. And that she was "very unhappy" that I had a pair of disposable pull ups on her but I told her that I knew she was a big girl and that she knew how to use the potty since she was 1 1/2 but because the flight would be stressful and sometimes we might wait a long time to use a bathroom, I had them on her just in case so that if she did have an accident, nobody would know. She nodded seriously and told me that she needed "my privacy to use the bathroom, Mommy."
We hit a patch of turbulence and she squealed in the bathroom but bravely did her business, washed her hands and walked with me to our seats.
We buckled her back in, a flight attendant double checked that she was buckled, gave us an extra pillow and blanket for her and suggested that we remove her shoes. She also gave my daughter a coloring book, coloring pencils, a children's menu, and a puzzle, all of which she still has in a special box filled with her Poland souvenirs.
After a while of playing with headphones, pillows, singing, watching the television, and coloring, our meals came and she was not happy about spaghetti but I told her this was German spaghetti, it's very different, with a whisper and a wink. She tried it, hated it and ate the rest of her meal and some of mine and her Dziadek's.
Nap time came, lights were dimmed, windows closed and she stretched out, her head on her Dziadek's leg and her feet on me. She fell asleep happily but at one point, pushed her Dziadek and told him "Dziadek. You are in my space. This is my space. Where I am laying. And you are in it, I need you to move, please.," very seriously. A short quarrel interrupted while my cigarette craving father laughed and told her she was in his space and she completely disagreed. She finally settled on switching positions so that her feet were on her Dziadek. But then, later, woke up to tell him again. Frankly, the seriousness of her voice was too funny to be angry about.
And, considering the girl across the aisle from us was 5 years old, peed on her father, and started yelling for milk in her bottle in the middle of take off, I had to be proud of my little "gypsy" daughter. We ended up giving the father of the other girl a pair of Pull ups, which he accepted.
My daughter looked at me and asked in a whisper "why the big girl had pee peed on her Daddy" and I told her that flying is hard for kids and that all we can do is just try and stay calm. She smiled sleepily at me and said, "I love flying," before drifting off to sleep again.
We arrived an hour late in Munich. When we got off the plane, she told each of the crew goodbye and told them "Thank you so much! I mean, Dziekujem!" By this point, many of them knew her name and wished her a wonderful trip.
We ended up missing our connection flight by 15 minutes. But we were very happy with how Lufthansa handled it. We raced through the airport from one end to the other with a 3 year old who's "legs were
still sleeping" and who giggled uncontrollably as her Dziadek grabbed her by her teddy bear book bag and picked her up and carried her for a bit. Some people gave us dirty looks as we held onto her leash and carried her first in my arms or by the book bag by Dziadek or walking tiredly between us, but frankly, they were not in our shoes.
We made it to the next terminal 5 minutes too late. But the staff was very understanding, assuring us that they knew we could not have made it, as had the staff on the plane when we arrived. We were to take our connection flight 4 hours later. and they gave us each vouchers for 10 Euros at a restaurant in the airport. Which I mistook for 70, forgetting that in Europe they cross their "7"'s, just like I do, but I was tired and stressed.
The staff allowed us to use a telephone they had for situations just like this to our family telling them know about the flight change. Using the vouchers we were given, we found a restaurant with antlers, wooden decor, and women dressed in traditional German attire. My daughter couldn't believe she was in Germany and told the lady how pretty she looked in her outfit.
Weinerschnitzel and french fries were ordered for her and she devoured almost the entire adult sized plate, leaving the french fries because the "German chicken nugget is so good, Mommy!" My first sign that she would love the food in Poland without question.
We sat around, enjoying carrot salads, soups, frankfurters, and other foods I had grown up loving and missed terribly.
The airport had a glass ceiling with a fabric which was adjusted to either block or let in the sun and she marveled at it. She asked the waitress a lot of great questions about Germany.
In the bathroom, she asked why there was foaming antibacterial hand sanitizer in each stall. I explained how the instructions showed to use it, first you put some on a piece of toilet paper, then you wiped the seat clean, use the bathroom, then wiped it clean with the foam and toilet paper again. She asked more questions about why the bathrooms had different signs for men and women and I told her it was the international sign for that, and that in the US it was just different from the rest of the world.
She also asked why the walls were all tiled and the tiles were shaped different, and why the towel for wiping your hands dry were different. It was actually on a roll and you would wipe your hands dry, then pull and it would go to a new dry spot. There was a lot of discussion in that bathroom, more than I think I have ever had with her in a bathroom before or since. And I think that is when she realized how different it really is in America.
Finally, it was our time to catch our flight. We were put on a standing shuttle to an airplane that she said was so small, "it looks like a toy, Mommy! It's so cute!"
We went into the small airplane, where she and I again buckled in with a pillow between our bellies and the seat belt. This time, she had the window seat and watched, with her nose pressed against the glass, the beautiful countryside underneath her. When we were flying over Wroclaw, I pointed it out to her. "That's the city Mommy was born in. That's Wroclaw."
She gushed over how beautiful it was. "Mommy! It looks like a fairy tale!"
The plane landed and I turned to her and said, "Welcome to Poland, baby."
She smiled and whispered, "Poland." Then waved her arms and said, "I'm so excited, Mommy! Hey, Dziadek, we're in Poland! Where you and my Mommy are from!"
To be continued...
My Older Daughter's First Trip to Poland, The Planning
My Older Daughter's First Trip to Poland, Wordless Wednesday
My Older Daughter's First Trip to Poland, Our Departure