So, we arrived in Philly and everyone was hungry by now. Fortunately, my mom travels a lot and was able to clue me in on where the big food court was. When we arrived, the Philadelphia Eagles (mascot) were there promoting healthy living. My co-leader went to get food, then it was my turn. I came back to find the delegates had those blue stretchy exercise bands – one of them loved tormenting his peers by hitting them with it. Nice, right!? 😉 The same kid ended up winning an exercise ball. The kids also managed to find a pole that was decorated with balloons – where the balloons there when we left 2-3 hours later???? HA! nope.
I felt somewhat bad for these 2 men who were sitting there – we ended up taking the tables on each side of them – so, 11 of us piled up our bags right there – on the other hand, I wasn’t very sympathetic cuz they could have moved to allow us to make our home base in one spot – THEN, one of the kiddos…he couldn’t find his backpack. YIKES! Fortunately, it got found after some searching – was on the bottom of the pile; he didn’t remember moving it there though – so when he looked to where it was, he assumed it was stolen or lost.
After a few hours in the food court, we proceeded to our gate. After some sitting and exploring, they decided it would be a good idea to blow up the exercise ball. Fine – don’t hit anyone. Some time passes and one of my kids comes over, “Amanda, they just hit some guy”…WHAT!? So I ask someone to come over and explain – the hit the same guy. Twice. “What’d he do?” I ask. “He just laughed. He was stupid just sitting there” –Eee gads, ok – maybe we should explore other modes of entertainment.
What I failed to mention was: or layover (due to re-routing) was 7 hours. Fortunately, they’re self-entertaining. Unfortunately, not always the best choices for entertainment! A few moments after I learned of the man getting hit (I’m sitting against the wall facing a plot of phone booths – I can’t see them, but I can hear them!) A woman comes over, sort of fast. My co-leader was off talking to someone she knew – my thought “Oh, crap – she’s gonna yell at me for not keeping my kids in line!” “HI! I was in CISV when I was a kid – I’m passing through from England to go to a friend’s wedding.” My coleader shared she had an “oh crap” moment too – fortunately, we weren’t in trouble! 😀
Since we’d parked in an open space out of the way, there were people sitting near-ish. One kind man seemed to get a kick out of watching everyone. I would glance up every now and then and he’d have a smile on his face – probably could have been a dad to me. He had the “kids will be kids” type of thought, which I appreciated. It’s hard to be “perfect” 100% of the time. Well, after ..or before..somewhere along the way, they decided to play tag on the moving sidewalk. The same moving sidewalk that we were on and I heard, “Amanda – so-and-so got his shoelace stuck!!” Fortunately, so-and-so passed me and said he just yanked his shoe out, so he was safe. Maybe at this point I should have intervened…but I was a little more attentive – and the place was pretty empty, so no innocent bystanders would get sucked into a game of involuntary tag.
Now – as a side, we had coloring books, cards, games – we had stuff – BUT, 7 hours is a long time. So, I kind of kept my ears open – assessed the situation to make sure the innocents would be safe, and let them do whatever. They gathered and checked in on their own – and I can report, other than the one casualty who got hit twice by the ball – everyone was able to dodge our chaos that we brought to the airport that day with much success!