We had time to clean up and get the cat's food/water ready (there was no way to really prepare her for what was coming) and then rearrange the bed in our room in preparation for the arrival of Jonathon and Madison and the room we'll all share at nighttime for awhile. During naptimes we'll try to have then sleep in there room which as you can see from the pictures is all ready to go!
Along with the back room that was once a dungeon and now FINALLY is finished (6 months after we started it). Now we have our laundry room, half bath and playroom!
Ok, back to the day at hand, We had some friends over last night to see us off with a few beers and then we pretty much got everything packed by 2am (we couldn't sleep anyway). We had been getting everything 'staged' on the guest bed for weeks, so its not like we JUST started at 10pm the night before. We paired it down to 2 suitcases, a carry-on roller-board, and then a backpack already full of our 'plane items' for the kids on the way back (toys and snacks). It feels a bit weird carrying the backpack on the plane right now, but there was no room in the suitcases (and we barely made the weight limits with 49 and 48.5 pounds anyway!). There is already a fully-stocked diaper bag taking up space in the suitcase (yeah,Myra likes to be a bit prepared). Our friend Kara came by to pick us up and take us to the airport which was wonderful of her to offer so we didn't have to deal with parking.
No problem with the plane from Tampa to Dulles. When we landed in Dulles Joe turned on his phone to immediately hear 'beep,beep,beep,beep...” meaning a barrage of text messages! Turned out it was from our family in New Mexico who had a layover in Dulles and were boarding in about 30 minutes. So of course we were four concourses away but we started briskly walking in their direction and 20 minutes and about 795 escalators later (along with 'glistening' faces) we found them at a little commuter terminal at the end of a hallway. So we had a wonderful quick 10 minute visit with the 5 of them (and mini family send-off) before they needed to board a plane to go up to Joe's parents house for the week. What surprise we got to meet them there!
Then over to our gate for our flight to Munich. Boarding was painless but when we will lose our premier status and economy plus seating air travel will be much less inviting! Thankfully we'll have the extra room for us and kids on the way home. Unfortunately, we went to pull away from the gate to find that our EPU (External Power Unit) broke. So back to the gate to get plugged in and checked out. Not a big deal, apparently and we could make it without it (I suppose its like a gallbladder or tonsils) but needed to get it looked at anyway. Not sure if they ever even fixed it but about and hour and half later we were on our way to arrive in Munich in a little under 8 hours. The ipod made an appearance in between movies to try and practice (in our head anyway) a few 'key' Bulgarian phrases, which will no doubt come out as “fat green chicken” instead of “I love you” or something along those lines!
Our gate in Munich wasn't far away so the hour late arrival wasn't a big deal but there wasn't a whole lot of time to spare or grab a snack. But, we were pleasantly surprised to find we had been upgraded to business class which meant an actual meal on our way to Sofia. It was very European (which we like) with yogurt, cheeses, breads, etc. But then they made it even more eclectic by adding in a piece of sushi. Departed a bit late but landed in Sofia right on time.
We were first of the plane and breezed through customs to find our luggage just coming out the belt. Fastest airport experience we've had in some time. To our surprise Delyanna (from our Bulgarian agency VESTA) was waiting for us outside security to welcome us, give us a cell phone to use, etc. We had nice visit with her and then sat for a latte to start our 3.5 hour layover before we could check in for our intracountry flight to Varna. More practicing of Bulgarian phrases, snacking, etc to pass the time. Flight was delayed about an hour but no real hiccups. Our taxi driver was waiting for us and brought us right to the hotel. VESTA really works out all the details.
We threw on some shorts and went out for some non-airline food. But we weren't in the mood for fancy so we had a beer and ate at the Happy Bar and Grill. You may remember us talking about this place from our first trip. Popular here, kind of Dennys'ish. The city of Varna changes so much with the seasons. In March the place was dreary and desolate (but easy to explore!). Now the place is packed as people flock to the coast for a summer vacation.
We explored lots of Varna on the last trip but took a stroll among the crowds to look through all the craft vendors, look at the sea and think about Jonathon and Madison getting ready for bed just 20 minutes (rather than 28 hours) away. We talked lots about how they probably have no idea that as of tomorrow, they will be leaving the only place they have ever known. How scared they are going be. In a way its heartbreaking to think about.
Now were getting things rearranged in the suitcases, getting out gifts we want to leave with people at the orphanage, and then MAYBE getting some sleep if we can. Their 'Gotcha Day' outfits are all laid out. We can't even fathom, our last night with just the two of us. In some ways it still doesn't seem real. Is it actually happening? We've been married for just a few days shy of 9 years and as of tomorrow we finally get to share our love with our twins. The first day of forever.