So for those of you that didn't already know, I received a once in a lifetime opportunity this fall when Colleen asked me to come to Pau and groom. I am fairly certain that it only took me 2.3 seconds to answer, YES!!!! So here I am instead of packing my bags to head to Fair Hill, I am sitting in France still not believing that I am here.
While the two weeks leading up to my departure were a whirlwind that went something like I really need to start packing now.... when I get home... wow it's already after 10 and I'm exhausted.. guess I will pack tomorrow. right up until Friday. So Friday I packed headed off to see Zac Brown Band (best early xmas present ever!!!) and then drive though the night to meet up with Colleen at Buck's. I pulled in around 230 took an hour power nap and met up with Kathleen and Colleen a little before 4am at the barn.
The shipper was surprisingly on time, and we managed to load up all of our stuff, 2 amazing ponies and climb into the horse compartment by 430 to head to JFK. We made surprisingly good time and arrived at the Vetport early. After unloading the ponies, then all of our stuff, then reloading stuff (the vetport guy forgot to tell us that part had changed, whoops!!). The beginning of hurry up and wait started. Claire (the amazing agent from Dutta) took us out for some amazing food at a local diner, and hooked us up with some awesome Dutta logo wear, before taking care of the rest of our paperwork, and we continued to wait... wait... wait.. until a little after 3, when we hurried up and loaded the horses and headed over to the cargo terminal.
I was a bit unsure about the whole cargo thing, as this was a new experience for the 3 of us. So we got checked in and waited for the lorry to be driven around to the tarmac. So then the waiting continued, we hung out on the tarmac watching the cargo being loaded, then we did the magic dance of getting the horses into their pallet without touching the tarmac, Kathleen joined them as they were weighed and then loaded into the plane. Colleen and I boarded up what seemed to be a never ending staircase, and once we were up realized that we had hit the jackpot!! There was only room for four passengers and the crew, so we had business class seats, complete with outlets all to ourselves. WINNING!!!
As we were waiting to take off when the copilot came out and asked us if we wanted to sit in the jump seats in the cockpit and watch the take off, most amazing view ever!!! (This experience was repeated when we landed in Belgium) but then we all got some much needed sleep and the flight seemed to pass fairly quick. After we landed in Belgium we headed through the airport which was basically closed and headed over to the Flyin Farm to meet the pallet with 2 perfect ponies on it. After the ponies were unloaded and checked by the vet we met up with our lorry to load up everything and head south to Pau. This part is a little fuzzy. Luckily enough the lorry had living quarters, so the 3 of us all sat down at the table, and proceeded to pass out about 5 minutes after we pulled out of the airport. I think it took about an hour for use to smarten up and spread out to the various beds. I think at this point Colleen informed me I looked like a shrimp (atleast she didn't get a picture of that). We finally stopped a few hours later and ate our first meal since the diner. (I don't think food has ever tasted so good). and then headed back on the road. It was a long drive somewhere around 13 hours, but around 2am we finally pulled into the farm in Pau, unloaded everything, tucked the ponies in and finally made it to our hotel around 3 am. I think we were all asleep before our heads hit the various pillows, but I can safely say after 43 hours of traveling 3 people and 2 horses made it safely to Pau.