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US East Coast 2018: Arrivals & Adventures

"When are we going to America?" 

That was the perennial question from our boys for at least a year; the time when we first let slip that we were going on a holiday to the United States. This is after all the land from which their homeschooling curriculum, Classical Conversations (CC), was first conceptualised. And it was particularly poignant that for the last couple of months, that the kids had embarked on a foray into US history and geography, as part of their CC curriculum. So the boys were excited that we were going to visit places such as George Washington's home and various Civil War battle sites. They were of course very happy to hear that we'd be hiking in the mountains as well.

All excited to embark on our grand 40-day adventure in America!
"Is it going to be a long trip?"

Our kids love to ask this question for all our holidays. During some of those moments I have given answers such as "Just over the weekend", or "About a week", or "We'll be there for two weeks." I would then get an answer to the tune of "That's so short!" or "Can we stay there longer?" or "Two weeks is too short!" Our kids are true-blue travel junkies, so when we said we'd be here for 40 days, the response was: "Is that short or long?" And when they started counting they realised that it was "just right"!

Pre-dawn arrival at London's Heathrow Airport. Still bright and cheery.
"Are we in America yet?"

It was a long trip. We first had to take a 13/1/2-hour flight to Heathrow Airport in London, transit in the airport for 8 hours, before embarking on a shorter 9/1/2-hour flight to Miami International Airport, just at the tip of the United States of America. And throughout the trip we were constantly bombarded by questions of whether we had arrived in America. We had to constantly tell them that there were still a number of hours left, with a constant reminder to be patient.

Watching the planes go by. Our boys love to ask which plane we would be travelling on next.
And we were very proud of them for taking it all in and managing the entire process. Yes, there were definitely tantrums and other expressions of unhappiness, but on the whole Sue and I told them that they did phenomenally well during the journey; and that despite it being the longest trip they had even taken in their entire life. The furthest trip before this was to Busan, South Korea, and that was just 7/1/2 hours, shorter than even the second leg of this trip. I have to of course give credit to Sue for diligently preparing the boys' in-flight bags to ensure that they would be sufficiently entertained throughout the trip - so we had "surprises" such as Paw Patrol biscuits, chocolate blueberries (which the boys hardly eat due to them being overly sweet) and of course a number of new games and puzzle books (including the travel version of Smart Games which we retail in our Sensational Play online shop).

Our older son working on IQ Fit. These travel games are excellent in building up kids' logic and cognition skills. 
Special treats. We have realised that duty free shopping and special discounts can
unearth unexpected treasures. This Lego set kept the boys busy for quite a significant
length of the transit time.
We had asked the homeschooling community for their travel tips prior to coming on this trip, and one of the suggestions was to order kids meals so that the children are served first. Additionally, we were also advised to order an extra "special meal" so that at least one adult is served before the rest of the cabin, which would be beneficial in case the kids need assistance. We took their suggestion and booked one such "special meal" online. So imagine Sue's surprise when the flight attendant came to her with a huge package asking her if it was ok to break the seal - I had decided to order a Kosher meal for her (as opposed to the usual Muslim or Hindu meals that we are mostly familiar with in Singapore). We have since realised that Kosher meals are prepared with the highest of standards - in a manner that complies with Jewish law; and that the food is generally healthier than what we eat on a day to day basis, and most delicious too!

What's in a meal? Our kids love to explore their in-flight meals and this always provides some form of
entertainment for them.
And finally, after 31 hours of flight and transit time, we finally arrived in America. Our flight had come to an end, but our adventures were only beginning...

First meal in America - fast food. Not much else was open at 9pm when we finally found a place to eat near our accommodation.

Finally settled at Sunrise in Miami, our lovely Air BnB accommodation for two nights.
The Adventure Continues - Read about our travels in the "Magic City" of Miami here.
From the Beginning - Start reading the record pages of our US East Coast Travel Adventure here.


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