This trip across the pond was going to be different from any of my previous trips because this time my niece Katie was going with us. Katie is actually Tori’s husband’s brother’s daughter, but I have always referred to her as my niece. (Hi Katie!)
Before our trip was even set in stone Katie was perusing travel websites, (SOO unlike her Aunties!), trying to make sure that she was as prepared as possible for such a big trip. Most of the sites suggest the usual things such as electrical plug converters, the best places to exchange your money, special sightseeing attractions and the like but there was one site that had an odd suggestion that turned in to a very funny competition between the 4 of us. They suggested that travelers bring along condoms and use them as coin purses! (They were completely serious. Can you imagine buying a souvenir and whipping out a condom full of change!) They went on to say that condoms had a million and one practical uses for travelers but they didn’t go in to detail…so we made up our own lists. In the weeks before we left on our trip we must have texted each other 50 times apiece. And I could tell that this was something that was heavy on all of our minds because some of the texts would arrive at 3:00 in the morning. So…other than the obvious use for a condom…some of the uses that we came up with were: wind sock, emergency shoe lace, scrunchie, windshield wiper cozy, toothbrush holder, shoe liners to keep your feet dry in the event of wet weather~(Katie actually tested that one out!), balloon animals, stuffed animal shower caps, room décor, water balloon, pencil holder, soap carrier, luggage tag, finger gloves, ear rings, and on and on... (sorry if I offended any of my readers...I thought long and hard about including this part of the story and I just decided to go for it because at the time we thought it was so funny.(
To make this trip extra fun Katie and I decided that it would be fun if we all got each other gift bags to be opened when we got on the plane. The night before the trip we were all at Tori’s house packing and repacking and doing whatever we could to make our luggage lighter. (Our last trip to London resulted in a $70.00 charge because Bek’s suitcase was too heavy. Oddly, the charge was only given on the way to London…and not on the way back. Go figure.) We wound up exchanging our gift bags in the middle of the suitcase mess. Katie got everyone a decorated canvas bag and inside was lots of candy, a stuffed monkey, (I named my monkey Skeeter!), glitter pens, and condoms of various sizes and colors! Tori also got us canvas bags and inside was an airplane neck pillow, satin sleep mask and a cotton gauze scarf and a fleece blanket. She got me a custom made journal that had a picture of the 3 of us on it and it said, “Two Pendell’s and A Wyatt”. Bek got everyone cute pajama bottoms. This gift exchange was awesome and we will do it again the next time we travel.
On the way to the airport we all got our “dork packs” prepared. (For those of you who haven’t been reading my blog since our first trip to Europe..a “dork pack” is a document holder that hangs on a string around your neck. This handy dandy item looks sooooo dorky but it saves you from having to look for your passport, drivers license, plane ticket, etc.)They seriously make the trek through the airport much easier and I highly recommend them. It wasn’t until we got inside the airport that I realized that a cat had peed on my dork pack. (Welcome to my life.) So I threw my beloved pink dork pack away and bought a new one that cost me about 3 times what the pink one cost. There is no such thing as bargain shopping at LAX.
It is tradition between Tori and I to have a drink before we get on the plane. It calms us down yet makes us giddy and we love it when we are giddy. The problem with our plan to find a drink was that Bek wasn't 21 so she couldn't go in to a bar with us. Katie and Bek just went and sat by our departure gate and Tori and I ran around like chickens with our heads cut off trying to find a bar with an open seat. We wound up at a bar inside of the Chili's restaurant. We ordered 2 dirty martinis...and it was a good thing we had alcohol in our system when we were handed our bill...$30.00!!!! Whatcha gonna do? (We learned a lesson for sure!)
This was our first trip to Europe sitting in Coach. Let me tell you…there’s nothing like riding in coach to remind you just how spectacular it is to be in Business class. We were in the very back of the plane but we got to get on first because I was still hobbling around from car accident related boo boos. We were lucky enough to get 4 seats in one row. We didn’t purchase our tickets at the same time and we were afraid that we would be sitting in different sections of the plane. The plane wasn’t even fully loaded when Rebekah says very loudly….”WHO DO I HAVE TO GIVE A LAP DANCE SO I CAN GET A SEAT IN BUSINESS?”
Thankfully there were no takers to the offer and before we knew it we were up in the air...
(Stay tuned for the next installment with pictures!)