Monday, December 17, 2007

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Aliyah: You Have How Much Luggage???

by Akiva at Mystical Paths

What can you live without for a couple of months? In reality, we all have a small quantity of possessions that are regular use, that we cycle through in a normal week. But can you really do without all those other things? All those on the nearby shelves that you don't actually use on any regular basis.

The draw of materialism, eyes wider than need, expand our cost. Cost of dollars, cost of effort, cost of worry.

We worried about all the different things we'd need, and packed accordingly. Heavy clothes, light clothes, some new clothes, various utensils, odds and ends, sheets, blankets, some kitchen utensils, the kitchen sink, the front closet, that pile is getting pretty darn high. I had to hire 2 vans to the airport, one for the family, one for the luggage! I weighted each one carefully, overweight is very costly. (Much cheaper to pay for an extra bag than an extra few pounds.) 3 suitcases per person makes one huge pile.

When you arrive at the airport with your whole family, 3 bags per person (plus a carry on per person!), you get a few stares. (A few, hah!) I made a point of leaving lots of time to arrive early, though there was traffic, traffic, traffic, I began to worry, to sweat, thoughts of children running every which way and trying to deal with a pile of luggage reaching the ceiling....ahhhhhh. Fortunately, we actually did arrive early, even after being delayed in traffic almost 2 hours (B"H). I don't normally pay for porters, but hey, if there was any time to, this was it.

When you arrive at the security counter with a pile of bags that can't be seen over, you get lots of attention. They had to take down the walking lines for us to fit. Did we pack them all ourselves, yes. Carrying anything dangerous, no. It took 3 security people to tag them all. Off to the scanner...

Each step was long and tedious, but that's only if you expect things to be easy and convenient. The kids were surprisingly cooperative, my wife and I worked together, and smiling at people when you arrive with a pile of luggage to the ceiling makes a big difference. Hi, smile, yes it's all mine, smile, we're moving to Israel, smile, sorry for overloading you, smile, yes I know I have some extra I have to pay for, smile, where do I pay for it, smile, thank you for handling us, smile.

9 times out of 10, your attitude affects others. We flew Israir, and they were very reasonable through check in and boarding (more on the flight in a future post). US TSA security was another matter. We waiting in line an hour, in a tight compressed space, to be checked. The kids starting getting cranky, being squeezed and shoved. Items started being dragged. Frustration grew. B"H, we made it through.

Once past there, only dealing with children and carry-on's was a major relief. I don't have to keep track of 100 things, only 20, hurray!

And the adventure continues.

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