Fortunately/Unfortunately (Nov. 26, 2013)

Coach Holly here, reporting, live and well (fed) from northern New Jersey, folks!  I think travel inspires me to write Fortunately/Unfortunately posts, so here’s a peek at Sunday’s travels:

Fortunately, modern technology (and the trick of time zones) allows me to wake up in Singapore, and go to sleep later (much, much, MUCH later) the same day in New Jersey.  Only 24 hours of travel are involved.  Living far from family is hard; airplanes make it much, much easier.

Unfortunately, I must wake up at 3 AM in Singapore to make this trick happen.

Fortunately, I can step out of our apartment in Singapore at 4 AM and hail a cab off the street.  When we first moved, we’d pay the extra money to book early morning cabs in advance.  Then, we realized there was really no need for that.  Available cabs are much easier to find at 4 AM than at 8 PM!

Unfortunately, I left my adorable husband sleeping in bed.  I miss that crazy dude!

Fortunately, my first flight (to Hong Kong) was very, very empty.  I had two empty seats next to me!  (Although I would have happily traded the empty seat if I could have had KMN with me.)

Unfortunately, that flight was only 3 hours.

Fortunately, Transfer Security in Hong Kong was completely empty.  Usually, it’s a little nutsy, but I was they only person there this time.  And I didn’t even have to unload every.single.electronic.device from my bag (this is normally what happens to me in Hong Kong, for some strange reason).

Unfortunately, my second flight was totally packed.

Fortunately, I promptly got trapped in the middle of the plane when the first pass of the drink cart started while I was in the restroom.  I got to stand for a solid 15 minutes, bouncing and stretching, without being told to return to my seat.  YAY!

Unfortunately, another American in the same predicament complained and sighed about it.  Some people will complain about anything!  I tried to keep him distracted with some idle chatting – turns out he works in China, and he asked me how long I’d been visiting Asia.  When he learned I lived in Singapore, he contributed this annoying quip: “Well, those of us who live in China think you folks in Hong Kong and Singapore are cheating.”  Thanks for that unsolicited opinion, sir.  For your information, I’m not living in Singapore to put some Asian feather in my American cap.  But thanks for the judgment.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Fortunately, my seatmates were calm and quiet, and I passed an uneventful 14 hours napping, watching one episode each of NCIS, Law & Order, Law & Order: SVU, and whatever other crime shows were on offer, as well as Monsters University (cute!).  I also read Drift, a mature young adult novel co-written by Steph Campbell and former classmate of mine Liz Reinhardt.  Nothing too deep, but these ladies have become my go-to for a light, fun in-flight read.

Unfortunately, the overly salty in-flight food on United’s international flights is becoming increasingly gross to me.

Fortunately, I came in armed with plenty of my own snacks.  NO, not the Tim Tams pictured in my packing post – I brought apples, granola bars, trail mix, Oreos, and some salty-but-at-least-tasty snack mix.

Unfortunately, there weren’t very many water walk-throughs.

Fortunately, there’s a secret water stash at the back of the plane (big bottles of water and little cups).  I just brought my bottle back and refilled it.  Repeatedly. Hydration is important on long haul flights!

Unfortunately, our descent into Newark was a little bumpy. Although it didn’t seem particularly unusual to me, both the people sitting next to and behind me used their air sickness bags.  I get sympathetically nauseous, so I hope they weren’t *too* offended that I closed my ears and eyes.

Fortunately, the immigration, baggage collection, and customs process took less than 25 minutes.  Easy, breezy on a Sunday afternoon, for some reason.  And from this point forward, my “Unfortunatelies” disappear!

My parents were waiting for me (with more snacks and fresh water!), and the drive home was uneventful.  I went for a short run – which was chilly, but invigorating and awesome, then took a MUCH NEEDED shower.  Seriously.  The shower after 24 hours of travel is beautiful.  Then we enjoyed a delicious dinner of roast chicken, salad, and pierogies.  [Gotta work a little Polish tradition in there somehow!]

And from there, it’s been Thanksgiving preparation, a bit of running, a lot of eating, and the perfectly usual jet-lagged sleep schedule of 11 PM – 2:30 AM and 5 AM – 9 AM.  Sure, why not?

I won’t be taking an extended Thanksgiving blogging break, so you’ll see plenty of me around here in the coming week – but I would like to wish safe travel to those of you traveling in the coming days, especially if you’re traveling along the eastern seaboard. And if your travel plans involve airplanes and airports, breathe deeply and remember:

“The test of good manners is to be patient with the bad ones.”
-Solomon ibn Gabirol (poet and philosopher)

If you could watch one TV show for the entirety of a long flight, what would it be?

Fill in the blank: “On my ideal international flight, every meal service would consist of only ____________________.” (one food item ONLY!)

32 thoughts on “Fortunately/Unfortunately (Nov. 26, 2013)

  1. Logan @ Mountains and Miles

    Friends. I have the entire DVD set and home and watch them regularly. I could watch them forever and never get tired of them.

    Salads. It sounds all “ooh healthy, schmealthy” but planes just make me feel gross and I think that a tasty, light, fresh salad (or two, or three) would be really refreshing on a flight.

    Reply
    1. Holly @ Run With Holly Post author

      I’m with you on salads – I actually eat the green or fruit salad off the meal tray (and sometimes some plain starch), then let them clear the rest while I dig in to my own snacks. Planes are just icky, in general, and anything fresh helps brighten things up.

      My best friends in college used to have Friends marathons…don’t hurt me, but as someone who wasn’t really raised on any TV, I had a lot of trouble getting into them. Nowadays, though, stick me in front of a crime drama, and I’m all set…. 🙂

      Reply
  2. Jess

    I agree they never bring around enough water and not being allowed to get up for more then 2 secs is a pain. Actually one of the only benefits to flying with small children is that you can get away with getting up more and walking around (because mostly it is just incredibly difficult, love my kids but flying with them is hard).

    I hope you have an awesome time back home! Enjoy change of scene and the delicious food! 🙂

    Reply
    1. Holly @ Run With Holly Post author

      Loving both – the freshness (and bonus speed) that comes out of the humidity, and there’s nothing like home cooking. Food is one of my family’s “love languages”, so there’s always plenty to go around. We’ve already enjoyed shopping, planning, cooking, and eating together!

      God bless you for flying with small kiddos. Any time I hear whimpers from kids while I’m on a flight, I always remind myself to be patient – because the kids’ parents are likely MUCH more stressed about the noises than I will ever be. So the best thing I can do is just chill, and relax – and maybe make a funny face or two at the kids, if that seems to help. 🙂

      Reply
  3. Char

    Your standing companion on the second flight was a jerk. What does he mean ‘cheating’? It it because you’re living in a thriving sophisticated Asian country? Who knew that you were being judged as inadequate for just living your life?

    Have a very happy Thanksgiving.

    Reply
    1. Holly @ Run With Holly Post author

      I think that’s exactly what he meant. Singapore & HK aren’t “developing nation” enough to be Asia. Nevermind that MUCH of Asia is well beyond “developing” and thoroughly in the realm of “developed” these days. And doubly nevermind that my reasons for being here have everything to do with family. Thankfully, I don’t really care much – he has no idea what I am (or am not) doing in Asia. I just thought his attitude was rather astounding, and I feel a bit bad that he’s subjecting some city in China to his superiority issues. 😉

      Reply
    1. Holly @ Run With Holly Post author

      I am amused by how you can want both pains au chocolat (awesome choice, by the way) – and simultaneously talk about getting airsick. 😉

      I’m sure she didn’t really notice. And I did assure her it was OK, and give her some tissues, and wish desperately that I had a bottle of water to share with her… I also felt quite bad, because she was clearly coming for a holiday, and I was sad it got off to such a troublesome start for her. 🙁

      Reply
  4. Sheila

    I love crime drama marathons – but lately I’ve gotten hooked on this Australian show called Offspring. It’s totally ridiculously off the wall cheesy and I absolutely love it – that and the fact there are 5 seasons to catch up on!

    Reply
    1. Holly @ Run With Holly Post author

      Hahaha – we recently got a Netflix subscription, and I’ve binge-watched one or two shows (multiple seasons worth) while doing household chores. [The privilege of someone who cleans the bathroom, mops, and does laundry without children hanging off her.]

      Reply
  5. Amy

    You know, Holly, I haven’t wanted to tell you this, but ever since I started reading your blog, I have been judging you for not being as hard-core as me because I did Peace Corps in China. Please sense my sarcasm there and I bet you ten to nothing that guy lives in Beijing, Shanghai, or Guangzhou and is not really ‘roughing’ it! And I would want to eat ramen on every trans-Pacific flight because I KNOW that is what United gives out as a snack. Ugh-I feel you! And I like the snacks, but after a while you really want something hot. Unfortunately airplane food never hits the spot. Glad you are eating well now that you made it home! And I am super-impressed you got out there for a run!

    Reply
    1. Holly @ Run With Holly Post author

      Yeah, I always sensed there was some kind of hidden judgment fouling the air between us. Glad you cleared that up for me. I’ll just embrace my soft-core-ness, thankyouverymuch.

      [To be fair, I’ll openly admit you had a much more challenging situation than I – and I’ll admit to anyone that living in Singapore is really quite easy for a Westerner – especially one surrounded by family. But dude had no idea why I’ve made the choices I have. Incidentally, he lived in Guangzhou. I asked. ;-)]

      And yes – good home food totally makes up for a short bout of airline food! 🙂 There was much pizza – REAL NEW JERSEY PIZZA – consumed last night.

      Reply
  6. Allee @ Griselda Mood

    Not that I’ve ever come CLOSE to a plane ride as long as that, but whenever I do fly I always watch “Gilmore Girls.” I know every episode in and out, but it’s like a nice little security blanket to take away the nerves! I’m happy you made it back to the grand ol’ USA! Is the big storm hitting Rochester tonight coming your way too?!

    Reply
    1. Holly @ Run With Holly Post author

      Security blanket shows on long flights are perfect – that’s why I asked what everyone liked to watch! 🙂

      We got the mini version of what Rochester got – a dusting of snow, a spattering of sleet, some really cold rain. It’s been gloomy and gross looking, but nothing super serious, and I haven’t regretted the decision NOT to bring my snowboots. [Although, don’t ask me why my snowboots are in Singapore anyway. Seems like a pretty stupid place for them, honestly.]

      Reply
  7. Alyssa

    OMG a 14 hour flight. I can’t imagine. I could watch The Office or How I Met Your Mother for like a month straight and never get sick of it. Have a GREAT time with your family!

    Reply
    1. Holly @ Run With Holly Post author

      You get used to it (and bored with it) really fast. I always start out with intentions of being SUPER productive, but then devolve into a vegetating, movie/show-watching, snoozing mass after about 45 minutes. 🙂

      Reply
  8. Kim

    I do like crime shows! I recently binge-watched the entirety of the Veronica Mars series on a whim… I would definitely do it again!
    On my ideal international flight, all meals would be macaroni and cheese and a salad of spring greens. It’s terrible for you (not the salad), but DELICIOUS!

    Reply
  9. Meagan

    As you may remember, I love fortunately/unfortunately. We used to play it as a car game when we were on a long drive when I was a kid. It would end up being a very long and ridiculous story of fortunately, unfortunately’s. I’m glad that your travel went smoothly and I’m sorry about that cranky guy who pretty much knocked you for living in “fake Asia” or whatever he was getting at. I can’t stand it when people gripe and grumble about a situation that’s: a. not that bad; and b. the same situation everyone else is in! I do not like negative Nelly’s 🙂

    If I could watch only one TV show for an entire long flight it would probably be Grey’s Anatomy. I’ve seen all of the episodes so many times (my best friend and I both love Grey’s, so we both have the season DVD’s and it was on frequently during our 4 years of college) that it wouldn’t bother me to zone in and out of the show. As far as food? I really have no idea what I would want, because the longest flight I’ve ever been on was one to Cali and it only took 6 hours and they didn’t feed us.

    Reply
    1. Holly @ Run With Holly Post author

      Mostly, I felt bad for the poor guy. I mean, why be annoyed about getting to stand around for 15 minutes of a 14 hour flight? I was so confused by his annoyance. And his subsequent comments. But as I said… I mostly felt bad for those who have to deal with him for more than a few minutes…and a little sad about the reputation he might be giving Americans in Asia. 🙂

      There were a few episodes of Grey’s available, I think…although I think the show is a bit too…dramatic (?) for me. I know, I know – it’s a drama. But whenever I’ve caught part of it, the whole thing has seemed a bit too…drama-filled for me.

      Reply
  10. Nicole @ Work in Sweats Mama

    Glad you made it home safely with very little drama, except for the rude American who gives the rest of us a bad rap! And don’t you just love the secret water stash at the back of the plane. I visit the watering hole frequently on business trips to/from Europe. Have a WONDERFUL Thanksgiving with friends and family. I’m sure they are so thankful to have you home for the holidays.

    Reply
    1. Holly @ Run With Holly Post author

      LOVE the stash. Especially now that I have status again and can guarantee myself an aisle seat, since trips to the water = trips to the bathroom!

      I suppose they’re glad I’m here – and I’m glad to be here! Lots of thanks running around. 🙂

      Reply
  11. Robert

    How exciting to be home with family!

    Do you find coming back to the USA a culture shock? I can’t imagine, just traveling from Texas to New Mexico where my parents live can be an adjustment. Come to think of it, traveling to and from Texas to anywhere can result in cultural whiplash…

    TV show: Masterpiece Theater from PBS. Frankly I can’t think of a Masterpiece that didn’t grab hold of me.

    Reply
    1. Holly @ Run With Holly Post author

      Hahaha – I think Texas is a very special place, Robert. 🙂

      I’ll probably write a post about this eventually – I couldn’t describe what I get as “whiplash” – that’s a bit too strong. Singapore is a pretty Westernized city, so lots and lots of things are similar. But there are small things that catch me off guard: How bright the stars are (my parents live in a pretty rural area), how wide the supermarket aisles are, how polite the servers are at restaurants, and how many choices there are for certain products, how bright/clear the air is. And I have Singaporean habits that I catch myself falling back into: my inclination to take out all the garbage every night, handing money over with two hands (this is a sign of respect in Singapore), and darn it – I look the wrong way when crossing the street!! So I don’t have major shock, but a collection of small, funny moments that remind me of how much I’ve adapted to life in Singapore. 🙂

      Reply
  12. Stephanie@nowiun.com

    One show. A whole flight. Hm. Friday Night Lights or The Closer (or maybe Friends, West Wing,) ~ I can’t choose. I’m sure I’d turn it off at some point though, and start reading.
    That gentleman was RUDE on the plane. You handled it with class.

    Reply
    1. Holly @ Run With Holly Post author

      I binge-watched The Closer while building all the IKEA furniture for our apartment when we first moved to Singapore. As someone who had watched an episode here and there, the binge watch was a great way to put together all the sub-plots and pieces I’d missed watching in little pieces. Unfortunately, the spin off isn’t yet available for free on Amazon Prime! 🙂

      Reply
      1. Stephanie@nowirun.com

        Glenn and I are constantly saying, “Thank you… Thank you SO much,” just like Brenda. I miss Kyra S. but Glenn doesn’t.
        The spin-off has it’s good and bad points, but as long as Provenza is on the show ~ I am watching!

        Reply
        1. Holly @ Run With Holly Post author

          Hahaha! As much as I could never decide whether she was championing or undermining the women’s rights movement, I think I’d miss her (and her hats!), too. Although I’m invested enough in the other characters that I’d keep watching anyway. 🙂

          Reply
  13. Grace

    Like you, I’ve pretty much hacked air travel – I always bring socks, an empty water bottle that I get the staff to fill on board, a scarf of some sort, and it isn’t a vacation until I have both my Economist and some trashy magazine/ book. We have exactly the same taste in inflight media by the way 🙂

    I can think of a zillion things that i’d want to have served as an inflight snack, but fresh hot takoyaki might be right up there…

    Reply
    1. Holly @ Run With Holly Post author

      Crime drama and animated kids shows? Sweet! 🙂

      A scarf is actually an awesome idea, though. I usually find the cabin is way too cold for me during lights out – so although I bring a lot of layers, a scarf would add some nice neck coziness without adding much to the packing bulk. Will keep that one in mind! 🙂

      Reply

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