Ireland, A trip to remember.
At the insistence of our children, my wife and I decided to pack up our home in South Africa and emigrate to Ireland. Given our age and many other vital factors, we decided this would be the wisest thing to do.
It was late 2020 and under severe lock-down conditions that we made our flight reservation. With all our paperwork and forex on the ready, we began the packing of our four suitcases. We sold our apartment, cars, and other possessions and put, what remained of our lives into four bags. This was a remarkable feat on its own, as these contained our lifelong possessions.
Understanding that we were leaving on Thursday, we were busy packing early on Wednesday. Our travel agent called to remind us to be at the airport before noon. “You mean today?” My heart skipped a couple of beats! “Yes,” he replied. Pandamonium broke out in my family’s home. How were we going to pack and still make the airport by 12? We all began running around like headless chickens, with me in the lead and yelling, “It’s impossible; how will we make it?” Moments later, the travel agent called again. He apologized profusely saying, that our flight was Thursday, not Wednesday. There we were, six family members, having different expressions of relief. Some were angry at the agent’s error, others, including me, lying on the floor, gasping in relief.
Once all settled down, we reverted to a more leisurely packing process.
Our Daughter-in-law called from Ireland to check all was running to plan and casually asked if we had requested assisted travel, as we were both over seventy, “I thought that was just for minors,” I remarked. She reassured me it was a wiser arrangement to make. I duly called our agent and organized it with him.
When we arrived at the airport, two gentlemen shepherded us to wheelchairs. I was shocked, as I was sure we didn’t need wheelchairs.
It turned out the best arrangement for the two of us. Our carers wheeled us to all the correct checkpoints, ahead of the long queues, and knew which documents were required, helping us select these from the huge pile we were carrying.
On boarding the aircraft, we were seated in a convenient place (near the loo) without another passenger squeezing into our three-seat row.
On landing at our first destination, we enjoyed a similar treatment on both arrival and departure.
What amazed me was, on our arrival in Ireland, we were afforded the same treatment. Our trip was seamless because three different sets of carers in three countries were skilled, compassionate, and understanding.
We arrived, if not a little weary, in our new country, safe and sound. A surprised (at how fast we came through the red tape.) but relieved family welcomed us, and we drove to our new home.
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