Sunday, 11 November 2012

We're in St Louis!

It feels slightly unreal to actually be here in St Louis, after all the months of intensive fundraising, list writing and general preparations. Daniel and Lucy had a lovely send off from school on Wednesday, and we were once again overwhelmed by people's kindness, good wishes and support, with many card, presents, hugs and a very special book with pictures and messages for Daniel from the rest of Year 2. After driving up to Manchester on Thursday we flew out yesterday; we knew it would be a long and tedious journey, and it did not disappoint! It started well, as both children literally squealed with excitement at take off, and Daniel shouted 'Woohoo!'

However, about 4 hours later, and with another four and a half hours to go (not to mention the second flight) his enthusiasm had waned rather. We had almost 2 hours of bad turbulance, and the poor little chap ended up making full use of the onboard sick bags! Our initial flight from Manchester to Washington left 40 minutes late, so we knew we would have a very tight turnaround in Washington, and we had to more or less run through the airport in an hour (including going through immigration, customs, security, collecting our bags, and rechecking our bags), to catch the second flight by the skin of our teeth! Daniel suddenly perked up on the second flight, and continually wanted to play the 'Let's design a racing car' game, as well as wanting long discussions on what the time would be at home now, what the time was in Washington, and what the time was in St Louis! We touched down in St Louis at around 6.15pm local time, and finally made it to the hotel at just after 8pm ( 2am UK time). At this point the children briefly had a final burst of energy and started unpacking their toys, before we finally got them into bed and they fell asleep before we had even left the room.

Unsurprisingly, we have all felt a bit worse for wear today. However, we awoke to a beautiful balmy day, with temperatures in the 70s - we are not used to T-shirt weather in November. From our room we have a view of downtown St Louis, and you can even see a little bit of the famous arch!

Downtown St Louis, from our window

At breakfast we had the pleasure of meeting Molly, George and Sophia (and their families). All three had their SDR surgery almost 4 weeks ago, and are due to fly home in the next few days. They were all so positive about their time here, and the progress their children have made. Of course we hope we will be equally positive in 4 weeks time! It was quite strange meeting them at last (particularly Molly, who does not live far from us, in Broadway), after following their blogs over the last few weeks, but it was so lovely to hear their stories. Needless to say, they were also mines of information about the good things to do here (and where is and is not wheelchair accessible).

After breakfast we took the hotel shuttle to Shnuck's, the grocery store, to do a food shop. Then after coming back for lunch we have just chilled out in the apartment, and finally got round to unpacking, while the children played. I think Lucy is missing school already, since she had all the teddies and dollies lined up on the bed, declared they were Class 1, and was teaching them sounds!

Class 1!

So, now it's coming up to 9pm here. My target is to get to 9.30 before I allow myself to collapse into bed. I am hoping that tonight I will not be wide awake at 2.30am, like last night, with my body clock telling me it's time to get up, despite being totally exhausted!

We are hoping to do a touristy attraction tomorrow, before we get down to business on Monday, and our hospital appointments start!

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