At first my plan was to go to Poland for three weeks but later I changed it for two weeks. I bought tickets on Delta website and at that time they were one of the cheapest ones. I never had any problems with Delta before until this time (I’ll talk about this later), everything always was fine, I had nothing against staff or food on planes at all. I had a stop in Amsterdam there and on the way back with around an hours between flights.
I couldn’t check in online because I was flying with a baby so I had to do everything with an agent at the airport. When I gave her my passport and a ticket confirmation she told me that… April didn’t have a ticket! I asked her if she was serious and she told me she could see that I was flying with the baby but this baby didn’t have a separate ticket. I asked how it was possible since during a reservation process I filled everything exactly how the website asked me and I paid everything at the end. She answered that it’s probably because after I bought my tickets I had to call somewhere and inform them that I need a ticket for the baby too because it was an international flight (you don’t need that on domestic flights) and the price of a new ticket was a tax. It doesn’t really make much sense to me, to be honest. Later we found out that my suitcase was way too heavy… Actually, April could have one bag on her ticket so we did it this way that we bought a new suitcase. I’m not even going to say how expensive bags at the airport are. So getting the ticket for April took almost an hour and after I went through the security I was so in a hurry because I had a little of time left and they were calling my name.
The flight to Amsterdam took 7,5 hours only so it was pretty short and went fast but it wasn’t easy. April was ‘wiggly’ and she cried a lot. There were moments when I couldn’t calm her down and I didn’t know what to do anymore. Fortunately, a man sitting by me didn’t have any problems with this and was very helpful. An American whose grandparents were German. He was going to Africa as a tourist so after that flight he had one more – a 11 hour long one. I was impressed because I wouldn’t be able to make it. It was pretty fast from Amsterdam to Warsaw because it took almost 2 hours only. Since Delta is an American air line not having their branch in Europe, the flight from Amsterdam to Warsaw and both on the way back were operated by a Swiss airline KLM. And these flights were the only ones so far that April had to have seatbelts on as well. To be honest – a terrible thing because take such a small baby, put her on your lap, fasten her seatbelts so that she’ll be comfortable and so she’ll sit in one position while taking off and landing. Not too long but still.
My sister, Dorota (I’ll call her Doris in this post because it’s been her nickname for a while now and I have a friend who has the same name) and her boyfriend Janek so, fortunately, I could count on some help with my bags. I had one big suitcase, one small that we bought at the airport, a backpack, a bag with bottles with milk and stroller. We took a train and went to Downtown where we took tram to get to a place where I stayed.
I stayed in Platinum Residence on Grzybowska street. In case some of you will look for somewhere to stay for longer than a weekend, I recommend this place. They have a few apartments to chose from with different equipment and with different prices so everyone could find something for themselves. And it’s in a cool place – near Downtown and Old Town.
At the very beginning Kate came to visit and she brought me a vegan sushi! Let me tell you, I really liked it and when I think about it, I’d eat it again. By the way, years ago I tried a real sushi and it was one of the worst culinary experiences in my whole life.
A bigger even was definitely a Filip Bobek’s fanclub meeting. Some of you already know that I created this fanclub and managed it for a few years and I’m proud of it. Later I moved to the States and now my friend Dominika takes care of it and she organized this year’s meeting. It was the first time when I could watch from the other side and it was pretty cool! I’m glad that I could count on someone because I wasn’t stressed and, you know, I had April so it’d be harder. I got a gift from the fanclub – a book with memories from the very beginning! Dominika and Dorota made it for me, then Filip and other people signed something inside as well. Awesome stuff! My hands were shaking when I was taking it. Dominika got a gift as well! I really enjoyed being there.
Both of my grandmothers met their first great-grand daughter! And both of them cried which I expected and even though I don’t like when people cry, this was really cool. I hope that you know what I mean. One of them immediately started telling me that I should put more clothes on April, she’ll be cold and will get sick, why I carry her like this, she should lay in her stroller… Ah, grandmother. Two of my aunts came to Warsaw too and they couldn’t get over how cute April is, how beautiful and so on. They were praising her so much that she made a sad face and cried. And I said, I’d take her because I saw how close to crying she was, I saw her anxiety. Baby isn’t a doll! That’s why I didn’t want everyone in a row to hold her. In general I think that April reached the point when she had enough of everything. Not only never ending meetings with new aunts and uncles but also a big city, etc. I noticed that she doesn’t like the noise that ambulances make but she doesn’t mint conversations and laughing. Going back to people, I obviously don’t blame anyone to be like this because I understand that everyone was excited. By the way, people were happier to see April than me ;). And I don’t blame them for this either! I noticed though that April became anxious, she’d wake up at night as if she was afraid of something, reaching somewhere with her arms like she wanted to grab something and with her eyes wide open. She cried more often too. Dorota and I came to a conclusion that it’s all because she was overstimulated by everything around. Immediately after we got home everything went to normal.
I was disappointed with the weather. I’m not saying that I expected +35C (95F) every day because I didn’t but it’d be nice to have at least +20C (68F) given that it was around 10-12C (50-53F) for several days with rain. It was hard and I didn’t even have any jacket or anything… Good thing I took long jeans because otherwise I’d have to go shopping… Well, I went shopping but not because I had to but because I wanted to. However, I took some warm stuff for April so she was prepared.
I walked on the Old Town several times with different people, I even had a chance to go by myself! Like I said before, I really like that area of Warsaw. Once I was going to Zlote Tarasy, a shopping mall, I went into Chmielna street because it’s a shortcut and I found a shop that I liked a lot. It’s called “Las Rąk Laboratorium Rękodzieł“. They have a lot of great stuff like bags, wallets, jewelry, dolls and other toys for older children and for infants as well… Everything handmade! I bought a few things, for example a birthday gift for Alicia, and I highly recommend this place. The other day I went to a shop called Mamissima to buy a Whisbear and I’ll talk about it some more later. I also spent some money on two muslin pillows from Maki Mon Ami. I picked Leon the lemur and Frania and Józia :).
Once, while Dominika and I were waiting for Magda, we stopped by an intersection and talked for a little bit and then one girl came up to me and said: “hey, sorry, I read your blog!”, etc. It was sooooo cool but I was very surprised as well and I didn’t know what to say! I regret I didn’t ask about your name. If you’re reading this, I’m waiving to you :).
Once day I met Ula who took some photos of me and April. I recommend her very much and by clicking here you can see her Facebook fanpage and here her blog. If you’re interested in seeing photos she takes, go ahead and check out one of the pages. I’ve known her for years now, we met because we both were fans of US5. Since some time I’ve been following her work and I always liked her photos so I decided to send a message and have a great keepsake for the future.
I visited my grandmother so it was a little come back to a place I lived in from my birth.
Days were passing by. Most of the time I spent with my sister and in most cases we were just sitting at home. It can be a valuable time too! I met several other people and on the last day one of my aunts came back one more time to take care of April so I could pack my stuff and do something by myself.
The whole trip went by very fast. Even though I didn’t sleep much and I was tired all the time ;). Moreover, I was always on the run and I stopped when I realized that April had enough. If it comes to me not sleeping much, here there’s Nathan who helps at night and takes April after he gets home from work and there I was completely by myself. I mean, a few people got involved a little more and I could for example dry and straighten my hair or go for a walk all by myself. Here I’m talking about Dorota, Dominika and Doris – I’m very thankful! Anyways, there were nights when April was waking up every two hours so it was tough. I decided to sell my small suitcase and buy a big one so on the way back I had to check-in bags and both were completely full. One of them had gifts from people for April and my stuff from years ago that I took with me this time.
Me, my sister and Janek went to the airport by a taxi. We got there pretty early and my check-in wasn’t opened yet so we sat on the bench. April slept then. Daria, who I knew from Facebook only, came to the airport as well and it was pretty nice!
On the way back I had some problems too… April didn’t have her ticket again! Can you imagine that?! I was facepalming. I showed the confirmation saying that I paid for her tickets for both ways and that I bought it at the airport in Atlanta. Then they told me that Delta doesn’t have their branch in Europe and so the information flow pretty much sucks. That’s why the info about April’s ticket didn’t go through and I spent there around 1,5 hours waiting for them to figure this out. Four people worked on it because they didn’t really know what to do and I was just getting more and more stressed. And then my ticket disappeared too!
The flight to Amsterdam went smoothly because there were 25 people on a plane only so I was sitting by myself. I could lay April on the chair by me and she slept like this most of the time. I really wanted to have one seat free by me on a flight to Atlanta but unfortunately that flight was full and there were 13 people on stand-by. I was sitting by the window and there were two very nice older women, Americans, who decided to travel :). I told them that April might cry and they said that they have children and grandchildren so they know how it is. And April was fussy, she slept on my chest at the beginning of the flight and that was it, later she cried, screamed… She couldn’t sleep because it was bright everywhere, people were talking and she was on my lap so she wasn’t that comfortable. She’d fall asleep and wake up often. The flight back was an hour longer which means it took 8,5 hours this time. I really liked food they gave me!
When I landed in Atlanta there was this long line to customs. This time it went much faster than before because I didn’t have to wait in line for tourists but for citizens and residents, ahh :D. I went to a computer, answered a few questions (for example, how long I was abroad, where, with who) and then I had to talk to an officer and give my finger prints, show my passport and green card and that was all.
Later I had to take my bags. When I got to a main hall with my backpack on my back, pushing the stroller using one hand and holding April in other arm, I looked for Nathan. And there he was, in the middle more or less with flowers in his hand. When he saw us he smiled a lot and waived. And man, let me tell you, this got so stuck in my mind that I still see that picture! Really, and like Jagoda said – it was like in movies.
By the way, some of you might remember that some time ago I wondered if to change my name in my passport or not. Later I decided not to because there’s too much work with it and I simply didn’t want to put my time and energy into it. So I took April’s passport obviously, my passport, my green card and our marriage certificate. Only one person asked me about the certificate – during the ckeck-in in Warsaw. Nowhere else. One officer during the customs in Amsterdam asked why I had two different names. I told him that I got married and I have my marriage certificate if he needs it and he said no, no, it’s not necessary. Ok then. Nobody else asked anything about the differences in names. It was easier than I thought!
Doris, Gosia, Dorota, Domcia, Ania, Janek, Kate, Magda, Filip, Marta, Weronika, Mariusz – thanks a lot for keeping us company! And I hug those I didn’t have a chance to see and I’m saying see you another time… maybe.
Talk to you next time,
PS. And when someone tells me: “Aga, it’s easier for you to come to Poland”, I facepalm, point at April and ask: “are you seriously thinking that?”