Tuesday, June 4, 2013

I can deal with this

Zoe and I got off the train in Edinburgh after a busy weekend visiting a friend, in fairly good time to get the bus to the airport where a plane would fly us directly back to Stockholm, arriving just past midnight. I was pulling the small suitcase that Zoe thinks is hers, and pushing the stroller, sometimes with Zoe, sometimes without. Due to tram building the whole street above the station was closed off and the airport bus was nowhere to be found. I walked around and got a bit agitated; it was not easy to roll luggage and stroller around. I finally saw an airport bus and asked the driver with hand gestures where he would stop. I then rolled everything in the direction he pointed, no bus stop was to be found. I then tried to follow the bus but I got lost at a small crescent where I also hit the curb so hard with the stroller that Zoe fell out. "Zoe walk with mom", she promptly decided after I apologized and made sure she was okay. Now our flight was approaching an hour away. I hate giving up, but I also hate missing flights. I hailed a taxi and had to ask him to stop by an ATM where I could then spend £4 on taking out £20 so I could pay him. He told me the bus stop was on the other side of the station where I hadn't looked and I felt a bit stupid.

We reached the airport on time but when I looked for the desk to check-in SAS was not listed. I found a small screen in the corner with actual flights listed and it showed a two hour delay. So much for hurrying. My flight tracking application on my phone had not notified me. Zoe wanted ice-cream. I realized we hadn't had dinner and it was close to 8pm. "You can have anything", I said and continued rolling ourselves down towards the cafe area. The little convenience store had no ice-cream. The guy laughed and said "it's too cold here". Zoe broke down. I went down on my knees and tried to explain that we were going to be here for a long time and that we could look for something else to eat. At the same time they called the passengers of our flight over the speakers. We were to report to the service desk because our flight had now been cancelled.

At the service desk I was informed that they would put us up in a hotel but that the bus would not be there for an hour and a half. Then the plane would fly the next morning. "Hotel?" Zoe asked excitedly and I confirmed. At least it was not a boring hotel. We cozied up in the cafe and I let her watch non-stop children's shows on the iPad while eating the rest of our nuts from the bag and two pasta screws from a pasta salad that unfortunately had yucky stuff on it.

Meanwhile I tried not to panic as I calculated our arrival time with the new flight tomorrow: At the earliest it would arrive one hour before my students had their final exams, 10 students who had prepared and who needed this exam in order to graduate this spring. An exam I could not let anyone else do because it was project based. I can deal with this, I thought and called a colleague. "Can you look after Zoe for two hours tomorrow afternoon?". She agreed and luckily Zoe has seen her a couple of times before so when I told her, she was excited. "Zoe like Katy", she said and I sighed in relief.

When we finally got to the hotel they were quick to check us in and without asking the price I bought a 24 hour internet pass. They offered us dinner but I laughed, looking at the most tired 3 year old in all of Scotland and just shook my head. Zoe fell asleep the instant she hit the pillow and I went to work. Writing students that I might be late. Very late. Writing a presentation for the day after, which I originally would have had the next morning to do. I slept at 1 am and my alarm went off at 6:30. I woke Zoe up as late as possible and she tumbled into her clothes and into her stroller. We caught the bus as the last ones and checked into the flight. When we got to security they had implemented little gates like on the subway, where scanning your boarding pass opens the doors. Our boarding passes didn't work and we had to go to the staffed gate. Zoe started wailing when she was just let in. The security officer quickly held back the queue and closed the gate with his card. He then handed his card to Zoe and let her scan it, opening the doors. She was thrilled and I nodded at the guy: "You saved our day". In the lounge Zoe drank two bottles of orange juice and had one bite of cheese.

A tired Zoe finally on the way home

Our flight was even more delayed and in the end we touched down half an hour after my exams officially should have started. We jumped in a taxi and I prayed the whole trip that the taxi driver would drive cautiously; I don't ever take Zoe on the freeway without an actual car seat (which is also illegal), but there was really not much option here. Taxis here have booster seats but no special belts. My colleague met us at the entrance and I kissed Zoe before running over to the 20 students waiting for me. Their presentations and exams all went well.

The most difficult part of the trip was the subway home from work. Fortunately I could leave my suitcase in my office because I was going to Copenhagen the next day (without Zoe) but she was so over tired and travelled out that she didn't want to hold my hand on the train station and I had to hold her down in her stroller and strap her in. Something I have only ever done once before.

We got home and I made the bed immediately, letting Zoe fall asleep under my duvet. Then I sat down on the kitchen floor and cried. Just a bit.

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