We’ve had a whirlwind of a time here on the mainland these past nine days. We got a LOT accomplished, but overall it was exhausting for all of us.
Our flight from Honolulu to Portland in first class was completely wonderful – I’ve never felt so spoiled in my life. I’ve always said I’m not a first class kind of gal, but after that flight I sure could get used to it. I doubt we’ll ever book first class outright again, but if the upgrade is affordable . . . who knows?
Everything went swimmingly in Portland. The car we had booked would have been too small for us and all our luggage, but the car rental company offered us an upgrade special at an acceptable price so we took that. Our Airbnb cottage was cozy and comfortable, and in a good location for us to get around town so YaYu could take care of her shopping needs. We spend two full days at the mall, but she found everything she wanted and needed and the only items she has left to purchase are a winter coat and boots but she’s going to get those in Pennsylvania.
We were able to get together with a couple of friends in Portland and wished we had had time to visit with more. We had delicious dim sum brunch (along with some amazing lobster noodles) one morning with our good friend Sylvia, and went out to dinner with our long-time friend Joan for Vietnamese pho that evening. Joan is storing our household goods for us while we travel, for which we will be forever in her debt. We’re looking forward to getting our families together when we’re in Portland in December.
I wondered how I would feel being back in Portland again, whether I would feel a tug to return or something but that didn’t happen. It was nice being someplace where I knew my way around, but I also came to realize how much driving I used to do, whether it was doing the grocery shopping or going to the doctors or whatever. I used to feel like I lived in our car, and now I know why, and I’m really not interested in doing that again.
We spent two busy but fun days in Dallas with Brett’s sister and brother-in-law, who wined and dined us and spoiled us rotten. We ate out every evening, got together with some of their friends for a tasty Sunday brunch followed by going to see Crazy Rich Asians (highly recommend!!) that afternoon. We got important paperwork taken care of and turned over all our official papers for them to hold for us while we travel. All of our mail is being forwarded through them as well, and they had a big stack for us to go through when we arrived, including a jury summons for me from Kaua’i County! I can’t believe I got another one of those less than year after the last time I served (I emailed to let them know we don’t live there any more and have been removed from the rolls). Also, our former landlord almost non-stop messaged Brett while we there, wanting us to go to the post office and look for the check (“I sent it. Honest!). Brett sent him a simple message back that we were done with him and we’d see him in court. As of today it still hasn’t arrived.
We left Dallas very early Monday morning for Philadelphia. The drive out to our hotel in King of Prussia was easy, but we all promptly collapsed when we got there. We were still somewhat on Hawai’i time and the jet lag had finally caught up to us, so we slept through to late Tuesday morning and then headed out to Target and the Container Store to find the remaining items for YaYu’s dorm room (pillows, lamp, wastebasket, etc.). Once that was done we came back to our room to cool off and relax for the evening – none of us felt like going out again, even to eat dinner.
Today was move in day! After enjoying our free breakfast at the hotel, we loaded up the car and headed over to Bryn Mawr and got YaYu settled into her dorm room. Brett and I made her bed, and set up her desk while she put away her clothes and other things. At noon she had to attend her first meeting, so we said our good-byes and Brett and I headed back into Philadelphia to catch our flight down to Miami, which is still delayed as I write this. We enjoyed meeting YaYu’s roommate and her parents (from California, near my hometown). We had a tearful goodbye – we were saying goodbye to our littlest bird and it was hard to let her go. She grabbed the golden ring though and we know she’ll have a wonderful time at Bryn Mawr.
We will not be flying American Airlines ever again. We knew we would pay $25 per checked bag fee and then $100 for YaYu’s second bag (overweight), but on our flight to Philadelphia from Dallas we were charged both the 2nd bag fee of $35 AND the $100 overweight fee. Every other airline so far had charged us an overweight price and then waived any other lower fee, but not American, so her two bags ended up costing us $160 instead of $125. Then, when we checked in for our Philadelphia to Miami flight we discovered American had somehow “lost” our original seat assignments, and we ended up having to pay $67 for two regular seats mid-plane so we could sit together (as well as the $50 luggage fee for our two suitcases). The very few “free” seats still available on our flight were way at the back of the plane, no two of them together, and people in those seats are not allowed to bring any carry-on other than a purse. There was no way we were going to check our backpacks with our computers, medication, etc. so we had to pony up for the new seats. They offered us a chance to board early for only $31 each – no thanks. When we checked in our bags in Philadelphia we were told they were overweight even though nothing had been added to them since our last flight. We rearranged a couple of things and were able to squeak through on our $25 fee, but something was up with their scale. Finally, to add insult to injury, our flight was supposed to take off at 5:45 p.m. but we’ve been delayed for a second time until 10:40, and now won’t get into Miami until 1:45 a.m. which means we’ll have to pay for a taxi to our hotel vs. the free shuttle. That’s if American actually ever gets us on a plane with our luggage. Let’s just say American has completely and totally failed to impress me in ANY way. 😡😡😡
But, tomorrow morning Brett and I still plan to head to Argentina, the “official” start of our Big Adventure! We’ve been communicating with our host there, Feliciana, who has arranged for a private taxi to meet us at the airport and take us to our apartment. The driver, Hugo, will be waiting for us when we come out of immigration. The flight down to Buenos Aires will be a long one – nine hours from Miami – but we are equipped with snacks and other entertainments to hopefully make it easier. And yes, I wish we were in first class again! All our fingers are crossed that we make it to Miami on time.