So we managed it. Moved countries and set up a new home with a 4 month old. All through his fourth leap, which is notorious for being one of the most testing and nerve-wracking leaps for parents (although aren’t they all?).
While it wasn’t Nael’s first flight, it was making me all kinds of nervous. And for good reason. All those lists floating around about how to make flying with an infant easier? Yeah, those are no help. Nothing can make the flight easy. The baby will scream at the top of their lungs. You will be confined and have no idea how to soothe them. You will get nasty glances from fellow passengers. Weirdo strangers will try to interfere and ask you what’s wrong and give you unhelpful advice, all through your child’s hysterical wailing. You will be embarrassed. And you will just have to wait it out and get through it somehow.
The only thing I could do to make it a bit easier was to book PIA. I mean if you have to endure a miserable flight, it might as well be the shortest one possible. Granted PIA had some major cooling issues on the flight (read non functional ACs) but it got us there in 7.5 hours. A better flight would be at least 5 hours longer with the stopover and transit and, no, that would actually be worse than sitting in an oven for 7 hours. I am exaggerating, it was just the inside of a toaster. We had a warm and toasty flight, just to put a positive spin on it. I was tut-tutted at later for putting my child through a PIA flight, but I would do it again for sure. I really don’t think PIA is that disastrous but I may just be lucky that way. Or maybe I just prefer reduced travel time to better travel conditions. And given how international flights on PIA are more expensive than better airlines for some inexplicable, completely unjustified reason, I am really not being a cheapskate (defensive because I may have been accused of the same).
Since it was a Friday afternoon, PIA staff at Heathrow seemed to have disappeared. We had to wait for baggage for 1.5 hours because presumably the entire PIA staff was off to Friday prayers. They didn’t tell us that of course but I’ve made the mistake of flying domestic on a Friday afternoon before, and so I know. I just know.
Nael was of course miserable throughout this and yelled the whole way through it. Refused to sleep and wriggled and flailed in my desperate arms. But we got through it. The rest of the way home wasn’t really calm either and we needed to stop the taxi at a petrol station, because poop. The baby pooped of course, just the baby.
We finally got home with a total travel time of 15 hours (Karachi home to Cambridge home), still surprisingly sane. I had been away for 3 years and had completely forgotten how certain things are over here. So when I got home, my first reaction was “Woah!“. The rooms were tiny. Minuscule compared to our Karachi and Lahore homes. And no, we didn’t live in mansions back there. But the rooms grow on you (ha-ha). In fact I now look around and think wow, there is so much space in here. We can actually fit a whole single bed and wardrobe in the smaller bedroom. Pretty amazing, I know.
Setting up home has taken a while. I had ordered and gotten a whole lot of stuff delivered while in Karachi, so that I had most things when I got here. But of course that wasn’t enough. Six weeks later we finally have almost everything, except that coffee table which we are being very lazy about ordering. But we are finally kinda settled. Almost.
I am home. For how long, I don’t know But almost four years after getting married, we are finally in one place. Without worrying about having to move or travel again very soon. Without the clock tick-tocking ominously, reminding us that time together is limited.
This is home for now.