October 31st, 2017.

All our suitcases are open and spread across the entryway of my in-laws’ home. I’ve spent most of the day re-packing and trying to fit all our belongings into just three suitcases and two backpacks. Too many times I’ve looked at an item and wished I’d shipped it with the movers two days ago. I won’t admit this out loud – Gray will only give me that “I told you so” look. Because he did. Many, many times. I’m a professional guesser – an over-estimator, as imprecise as he is precise.

My suitcase is overweight. He says I have to throw things away – and as he walks away, he calls over his shoulder, “moving it to your carry-on doesn’t count.”


I have a laundry basket beside me that I’m using for cast-offs.  In goes the unopened hair product that wasn’t eligible for shipping because it’s an aerosol container, as well as several other personal care items. Finally our suitcases are just under 50 pounds each. Ingrid’s isn’t a problem – hers is smaller and half of it is filled with diapers and wipes.

We try to go to bed early, but no one gets much sleep. Ingrid chooses tonight to be one of her few nights that she sleeps more than 5 hours in a row, but I don’t get the chance to enjoy it.

We get up at 3am to get to the airport by 4:30. We’re flying out of Reagan and it’s too early for traffic. Ingrid is confused when I get her up and put her in a car seat at 4am.  She doesn’t cry and just watches our taxi driver load the car with wide eyes.

It’s no small feat to maneuver 3 suitcases, 1 stroller, 1 baby in a car seat, and 2 backpacks, a violin, and 2 suit bags through the airport, but we manage.

Despite the hours I spent on our luggage yesterday, somehow we are both still overweight. I reluctantly throw out my favorite shampoo and conditioner. I know I’ll never find it in Colombia.

Waiting at the gate, Ingrid practices walking. She’s just gotten the hang of it in the last few weeks in Arlington, and now she can’t bear to pass up the opportunity to practice. She charms all the other waiting passengers.

We try to keep Ingrid awake until we board so that she’ll sleep on the plane, but she’s so tired she can barely keep her eyes open. She falls asleep in her car seat while we are in line to board. Mercifully she sleeps almost the entire way to Miami and part of our second flight to Bogota.

We skip the massive immigration line and head straight to the “Diplomaticos” line with only two people in front of us. It takes less than 10 minutes. There is a driver from the embassy waiting to help us through customs – which we essentially skip – and he and an American woman take us to our new house. Ingrid has just about lost her mind and cries most of the way there. I have a headache. Gray feels nauseated. We are so tired and I want to cry. I cannot remember why we decided this was a good idea.

bogota colombia

One thought on “Arrival

  1. Oh, but you will, Caitlin dear. What an adventure. As much as we’ll miss you in the states, we’re happy for you and this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that has come your way. Take care of yourselves and enjoy. (xox to all)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s