While we were loving our time in NC, we had something back home that we wanted to get back for: A weekend in Garmisch (which was to start on Friday, September 20th). Follow our journey from North Carolina back to Germany…
Monday: I knew (based on tracking flights) that Charleston didn’t have any overseas flights, which would have been the best case scenario. However, I saw several flights on the horizon from McGuire to Ramstein (the route we had taken to get to the states) so we needed to get from Nana and Papa’s to McGuire, NJ. Fortunately, Charleston was flying to McGuire on Monday (the 16th) and we were able to get on that flight. We met a family taking their first Space-A adventure, and they were hoping to get to Germany, too.
On this flight we were near the front and had seats. Carson and Bailey were in the row behind us.
We landed in New Jersey and watched the Air Force jump into action. Our luggage was in the back along with sensitive items. The Airman in charge came onto the aircraft and gave directions to the flight crew as to what was to happen and in what order. She stood out to me for two reasons: 1. She looked a lot like a grown-up Anna (she was stunning) and 2. she looked a lot like a friend of our boys back in Texas.
We received our luggage and found our way to the hotel. We got settled into the room and slept well, knowing that we didn’t have a flight to catch the next day.
Tuesday: We woke up rested and I posted on Facebook that we were at McGuire and wondered if we knew anyone there who would be willing to drop us off at the bowling alley and then pick us back up later on. As it turned out, the daughter of our friends in Texas was stationed there, didn’t have to go to work until 2:30, and was more than happy to help friends of her parents. (I want my kids to have this mentality when they grow up! So kind!)
She pulled up to our hotel and guess what?!? She was the Airman from the plane yesterday! The one who was giving directions to the crew; the one I thought was very beautiful! This military world shrinks with every passing year.
We bowled and then walked to the commissary where I picked up a few things to make for dinner that night and breakfast the next morning.
That night we ate a hotel/homemade dinner while watching Miss Congeniality. Note which state Sandra Bullock’s character was representing!
Wednesday: The flight to Germany had a 1710 Roll Call which meant wanted to be there around 1630 or so. To kill time we thought about going swimming but…
While packing our room for check-out Anna noticed that the sequins on her shirt were reflecting onto the wall. I was able to video her without her noticing… toward the end she hears the show she’s been waiting for starting.
We ended up finding a wonderful youth center within walking distance of the hotel and the hotel had a luggage-storage room for us. We left the bulk of our stuff there while we spent much of the day playing pool, video games, and pingpong. This facility was attached to the Subway… convenient. I took the littles down the road to a massive playground in the middle of the day.
Our hotel also had a great playground.
Here was my mentality at around 2 pm:
When it was time to head over to the hotel to gather our luggage (so that we could catch the shuttle to the airfield) we passed by a husband and wife in a truck who offered to load our luggage up and deliver us to the hotel because they were also on their way to try for that flight. The Space-A community is a fun and helpful one! They had enough room for our luggage and the teens, but not for me and the littles, so we took the shuttle and met up with Carson, Bailey, and our luggage.
As a back-up measure I made a reservation at the hotel in the case that this flight was full/cancelled. We knew that there were three flights on the schedule for Thursday and another one on Friday.
We waited, along with the family we had met on Monday, for Roll Call. Their names were at the top of the list as their service-member was a) active duty and b) traveling with them. Our five names were on the list in spots 10-14 and there were only 14 seats, and they had a delay which meant that at 11:00 pm I was still not 100% sure if we were going to make the flight or not. Honestly, I wanted to make the flight MOSTLY because I dreaded getting my kids and our luggage back over to the hotel. I think if they would have let us crash at the USO all night I wouldn’t have minded waiting for the next day’s flights, but that’s against their policy. After midnight we loaded and took off. Relief does not begin to describe the feeling!
Check out the Airman sleeping in the hammock in one of the pictures in the slideshow below.
Thursday: Got back to Germany, through customs, and went straight to the car to put our luggage away before heading to the food court for
breakfast lunch. Found the shoes we couldn’t find when we landed in the US… on top of the van! ⬇️
No joke: this was the fortune in my cookie:
Friday: Here’s Anna at 0230… I decided it would be best to let her snack on dry cereal and watch Netflix while I dozed on the couch. This was the only rough night we had readjusting to the time zone.
From North Carolina to home, approximately 56.5 hours. I forgot to start it when I was still at my mom’s house.
So thankful for the opportunity to go back and see a handful of special people. It’s a great deal of work so I doubt I’ll do it again while on this tour to Germany, but I consider it a great privilege to fly Space-A.
✈️ Thank you, Air Force, for getting us safely to our destination and back home! ✈️