Hi everybody, yes, we are safely in the US! I'm sorry it's taken this long for me to post, it's been a whirlwind these last weeks--leading up to traveling as well as just arriving here. We did arrive safely late on Tuesday night, but about 30 minutes earlier than scheduled, so that was very nice--making a 30 hour trip only 29 and a half. :)
Since then, we've been in constant motion. There's luggage to unpack, shopping to do, sorting and organizing, preparing for the next weeks ahead of travel, and doing the myriad of details that come along with transplanting your entire family overseas for a few months. John's also still been quite busy with financial work and emails, but is making some progress so that's good. We're so thankful to have arrived safely at this point! It's crazy when you've planned so long for something and then it actually happens, it's almost a bit surreal!
The girls were excellent travelers and were so, so very good on the long flights home. They slept a lot, played quietly, enjoyed their kids meals that John ordered for them and really did great through two countries, three airports, and in lots of new situations. Thanks for your prs for this! Unfortunately, I went into our travel day feeling a little queasy; first I thought it was just nervousness or excitement but finally I lost it "all" in a bathroom in the BJ airport. Yuck. I did feel better after that, though sadly, even Starbucks was not appealing! I got on the long flight feeling terrible, but the L was gracious and I was able to rest quite a bit, as I was only in charge of Clara Anne (our family was split over the aisle, and John had the other two) and she slept for 6 hours straight. There may have also been peace having to do with the fact that she watched Aladdin three times as the flight wore on. Hmmm, do you think so?
It's been wonderful to be back in my hometown again. My parents have had such fun playing with the girls--my dad took off work AND gave up an out-of-town trip this weekend so he could be with us, and my mom canceled all of her piano lessons so she could spend time just playing. What a blessing that has been! It's been so sweet to see them get to know the girls a bit apart from just webcam.
We've packed our days full since arriving back and will be leaving again quite soon to be visiting other family and attending a meeting on the East Coast. So, I'm shopping, organizing, and preparing to repack very soon. This afternoon John and I completed our once-every-three-years comprehensive trip to Walmart and whew, I'm glad to have that finished! I know I've mentioned before that I don't really enjoy shopping and so though I am thankful for the opportunity to do so, I am glad when it's done! We got smart this time and did NOT take the girls with us; in 2007 we did and that made the trip more stressful. So, we're now stocked up again on medicines, some food items, deodorants, you know, all those necessaries.
Of course, we've been to the Pizza Ranch and Subway already, and my dad grilled pork steaks for us tonight which are my favorite. Yum! We've had haircuts, the girls had professional photos taken yesterday and this morning got to participate in a community wide Easter egg hunt, which they thought was fun, fun, fun.
It's been interesting being back in the US again. This trip back feels so much different than our one in 2007. For one thing, we really left Asia on a high note. Things were going very well, we were seeing wonderful things happen in various areas. We were at home there, speaking comfortably, enjoying our relationships with other Americans as well as nationals. So our trip back to the States this year feels more like just that: a trip. As Clara Anne reminded me, "Mommy, first we go to Hong Kong, and then we come home. Then we go to America, and then we go home." I responded that she was absolutely right. I did feel like I was "leaving home" to take this trip. That in itself, my friends, is a grace and blessing. PTL! I could not have said that three years ago. Then I felt more like a displaced person, but now I feel more secure in my identity of a "between two cultures" person. He is faithful!
So, in the midst of transition and lots of details of things to do and accomplish, stuff to buy, etc, we are thankful. The L has been so good to us. We are enjoying the warmth of wonderful family relationships as we are back, trusting Him for the grace to do the traveling and visiting that we've planned, and thankful for the opportunity to be here.
And next time, (I hope!), pictures!