So. This is to fill you in with some of the things that have happened since we left Thailand, but have felt too traumatised or exhausted to write about till now.
Trying to work chronologically here, let’s begin with the plane journey. After the most touching airport goodbye, it became ridiculous. If was sort of our fault, but the baggage allowance rules were silly. We just followed them.
The airline gave us a baggage allowance per seat/passenger of 1 case, 1 carry-on, and one handbag. For a booking of four seats, that is a total of 12 bags, 8 of which are to be wrestled through the snaking security queues, and then all through the x-Ray machines as well. Thank god we had our (double) buggy to carry them in. Right? Yup, cos we certainly did not have the 8 pairs of hands usually dedicated to carrying that many bags.
This was the central cause of the Certificate Saga. AW is super organised and knows exactly where things are and has a system for storage. I am incredibly bad at these things, so I am always grateful for this and unless she gives me a specific job to do, I am happy to let her take over.
But for a significant part of the last few months, we have been frazzled.
And that departure day, especially so. So our systems (we don’t have any certainty about when it happened, but a good idea. What we can’t work out though, is why if our hunch is right, they were never handed in as lost property?) had some holes in (literally in this instance.
It didn’t begin very well, really. We were ‘the first case’ (for the thousandth time) of binational gay mummies, and so had to show the immigration police all our precious documents and listen to their expressions of disbelief and answer questions about our whole life stories (should have pointed them to this blog). They were very positive so I should not moan, really – I think they were genuinely astonished.
After they released us, things started to get a bit hairy. I believe I mentioned that we were overburdened? We found the way down to our gate (due to the buggy/ bags/ infants we needed to use the lift) and with plenty of time left, we went to get some food. On our return to the lift, it was shut for maintenance and we could see lots of men in the glass shaft, dusting. Very slowly.
We were at boarding time, so now a little panicked, we asked where the next lift was. “Straight on”, was the answer, but they forgot to say “ALL THE WAY TO THE OTHER END OF THE AIRPORT”. So in an increasing tizzy, we jogged and pushed and baby bounced all the way to the (other @&!!!!+%€¥ end) next lift, which took about 20 minutes. Then once on the correct floor we had to go back on ourselves to the gate, which was in the middle somewhere. By then, it was final call, the plane already full, and the flight staff had no qualms about expressing their irritation (through requisite tight smiles) about our number of bags and timekeeping.
So that was the start.
The documents checked by Thai immigration police at suwanarbumi airport were the things we had actually gathered to use to fight for AW’s entry into the Czech Republic, should it be necessary- VIDs (Very Important Documents), and AW is sure they were in their VIW (Very Important Wallet) and zipped in /up safe. I, as I say, totally trust that if someone is going to flake, it is me. I still trust that the loss/flakage potential is sky high with me and about the height of some grass with AW. But this was the leaving-your-homeland-for-a-strange-place day, and we had too much stuff, and we nearly missed the plane, and Ivy didn’t want to sleep on the journey… Etc. So I suppose my probability rose to as high as the moon, and AW’s to the height of, say a 5-storey building.
It could have mattered. I mean, it does matter; we are still trying to fix it, but it could have mattered on that journey, and it could have been the difference between our entering the EU together or not. The first leg flight was late, and of COURSE, the tight security and immigration control was in Vienna and not in Prague – we had not twigged this at all, and it was with utter dismay that with about 20 mins till the Prague plane flew, we turned the corner to find a typical international airport hell. At Vienna we went through the lines of people shouting about our imminent departure. People didn’t know whether to scowl or move, aside, but soon we (with our giant buggy full of hand baggage) were crying (we pinched the girls to make sure they joined in -JOKE) and so a lot of passengers and a few stewards just allowed us to the front of the snaking queue.
After our thousand bags had come through the scanner, as if that weren’t bad enough, with a laptop which needed removing and replacing we went through the next doorway to the immigration lanes. The place was jammed, and the non-EU lines long. We could not get through the hoards of loud passengers there to be heard at a window- and our buggy would not fit especially, as laden with bags, it was even wider than usual. At this point we were really desperate, and really crying. We got closer to the window and saw that the lanes were actually narrow corridors, and that the buggy would not fit – simple as that. On that realisation I looked all around the area for a member of staff on the ground. When I found one, she directed us calmly to the immigration official in the EU lane. It was wide, and empty. He looked at all our documents and handed them back, and I think I may have seen a glimmer of amusement in his fave. I expect we looked quite funny.
So THAT was our dreaded entry into the EU moment. There was I need to argue about EU freedom of movement laws. When we got to Prague, there was ZILCH- it was an EU-EU flight. Our pick-up was there, and we were driven to the hotel.
Two days later, when trying to shuffle the 12 bags around in the hotel room, we realised our VIDs were missing. The VIW was still zipped. We can’t work out when we dropped them, and why they have been chucked out (or kept?!) by the person who found them, rather than handed in?
There is loads more drama to come in this story. But we were all coming down with hand foot mouth again at this point too. Sooo not fun times! Below is a shot which includes our huge buggy.