|Prague, Czech Republic|
|The hill of crosses|
To start off, it might be good to let you all know that Mom has arrived safe and sound! Granted, she is the only thing that arrived safe and sound, because her luggage is lost somewhere in Europe. Basically, let's put it mildly and simply state that Mom went through hell and high-water just to get here. After getting to Paris, she wasn't allowed to board the plane for her next flight, because it had a layover in Russia, where you have to pay exorbitant amounts of money for a Visa, just to be allowed to sit on their plane runways. So, they turned her away and instructed her to make her way to the embassy in Paris and apply for a Russian visa, wait around until she was accepted, then they would let her onto the plane. Seriously? Sigh.
Anyway, Mom had the idea to simply try and re-route the flight, and spent about an hour with one of the flight workers, rearranging her flights to go from Paris to Oslo, Oslo to Copenhagen, then Copenhagen to Vilnius. Genius, right?! Well, it would have been, except for the fact that shortly after rearranging all the flights, thunderstorms came into Paris, and grounded all the planes. Mom spent the next 2 hours sitting in a plane, hoping they'd take off in time to reach her connecting flight. They didn't.
So! Next, she spent the night in some hotel room in Oslo, got about 2 hours of sleep, made it to her two remaining flights and finally got into Vilnius at noon today. Without her luggage, which is stashed somewhere at one of the 4 airports she's been in recently.
The good news is, Mom made is safely, and is currently getting some sleep in my room for the first time in about 3 days. So glad she was protected throughout the craziness of international flights, and that there are nice people in the world who are willing to let a lost, frazzled woman use their phone to call Dima from Norway. It's comforting to know that people were praying for her, she was kept safe, and made it here eventually.
On the plus side, it'll be a great story to tell my kids someday :)
Anyway, the verdict of this CRAZY story - Mom's exhausted, Hillary doesn't want to leave Mom's side for the whole time she's here, and we're both looking for a break. Since 22 hour bus rides and walking 15 miles a day isn't exactly relaxing, we opted to stay here in Lithuania!! And for those who know me and my home-dwelling habits, this is definitely my preferred option. Sure, Vienna and Prague are probably great, but battling thousands of tourists, constantly have to protect my belongings and sleeping in a different bed every night isn't exactly my first choice. I'd so much rather have a chance to show Mom my home in Vilnius, take her to the places I'm familiar with, and spend time with just the two of us.
The rest of the girls were wonderfully supportive about this change, and they'll still be heading out to Vienna and Prague on Saturday afternoon. They've been helping me work out Mom and I's cancellations all afternoon, and have been wonderfully supportive.
And that's the change!! I'm super excited for a chance to show Mom around, take her to the Lithuanian restaurant, and maybe even catch a train to Klaipeda to show her the coast :)
P.S. Don't worry Carissa - I'm not giving up on that package yet! We're hoping her luggage will show up here eventually :)