We did it. We actually packed up all of our children and what feels like half our belongings, plus five college students and their belongings to go to the other side of the world. We flew 1.5 hours to Los Angeles with a ten hour layover, then 14 hours to Taipei with a twelve hour layover, and then six hours to Bali with a two hour drive. It was a very long journey but we didn’t lose anyone or anything and we all still like each other.
The flight alone was a really big deal for our youngest son, who informed us a year and a half ago that he would not be flying anywhere. We could fly and he would find some alternate route. He obsessed about it often and would draw elaborate travel plans – boats, rafts, submarines, even really long bridges – anything but an airplane.
When we received official word that the trip was happening, I said, “Fritz, we’re going to Bali! Isn’t that cool?”
He said, “No. I’m not going.”
I reminded him of all the fun stuff he would see and do and he said, “Wait, can I wear my Bali pajamas there?”
I told him not only could he bring the too-small p.j.’s his dad brought him last summer, he could probably even buy new pajamas there. And with that, he was convinced. Over a year of stressing and worrying and the pajamas were the clincher.
He had a few nights of stomachache-inducing worry the week we left, but he came through like a champ.
He loved flying and loved even more the fact that he was conquering his fear of flying, but his favorite part was probably our layover in Taipei. We had the airport almost to ourselves because it was the middle of the night. Since the boys weren’t sleepy, they found plenty of other ways to keep busy.
He wasn’t sure what to make of the Mom+Kid shared bathroom, though.
He’s had quite an adventure so far after one day on the island, trying new foods, making a new friend despite the language barrier, and riding his first motorcycle (look ma, no shoes or helmet…wait, they’re actually going on a ride?), and since we’re spending these first two weeks on a family compound, he enjoys all the attention he’s getting from his new aunts and uncles.
Everything is different – bathrooms, showers, seat belt rules – but he’s perfectly comfortable. I wish we adults were as quick to adapt to new surroundings as kids are.
When we first arrived in Bali, after walking through the airport and out to the car, he turned to me and said, “I am stunned!” Just you wait, Fritz. You ain’t seen nothing yet.