Reentry

Kia Ora from the winter! I don’t love it – not gonna lie. We’ve been home for 16 days now, and that time has both flown by and stood still. I imagine that’s pretty normal, trying to deprogram from such an experience? 

Leaving Auckland was hard for so many different reasons. First, Auckland. Loved it and the whole experience. Second, The Professor had some sort of gastrointestinal issues, so I spent my last day there shoveling Immodium down his gullet so the flights home would be tolerable for all involved. Clive and Helen met us at the airport for one last meal together and it was fun to be waved off by people. But actually leaving? Someone had tears pouring down their face and a heaviness in their heart. The flight itself was like you’d expect a red-eye to be – long, uncomfortable, and not great. Unless you were Gracie in the window seat, who managed to fully extend along the SkyCouch, shoving both Tate and me farther into each other and the armrest on the aisle. 

We left Auckland at about 10pm Tuesday night and landed in Honolulu on Tuesday morning. That date line is pretty trippy. I had mixed emotions about being back in the States, I’m sure influenced by how much I loved our time in New Zealand. But when I walked into a bathroom in the Honolulu airport and saw pee all over the seat, I just about came UNGLUED. How can we pee all over the seat? Why do we not clean up after ourselves? That kind of inconsideration and thoughtlessness helped crystallize something I’d been feeling about life in NZ, but hadn’t really put into words.

One thing I love about that country is – as a general rule – people there are more considerate. Even of people they don’t know. You see it in how they treat their beautiful natural resources, how they try to protect their little corner of the earth, and have respect for things and life beyond just themselves. For example, The Professor and the girls would tell you that I probably sampled every single toilet in the country and they’re not completely wrong – I always have to pee. As a result, I found myself using bathrooms all over – cafes, stores, gas stations, supermarkets, public parks, street corners – everywhere. And I never found pee on a toilet seat. NOT ONCE. Not in the public toilets on the streets. Not in the public parks. Not in the gas stations. NEVER. Over the course of six months. And within ten minutes of landing here, there it was. And I’m sorry to say that was not the only public toilet seat I encountered on the long journey home with pee on it. What is wrong with women? If you pee on a toilet seat, CLEAN UP AFTER YOURSELF. I mean, really. A very strange but illustrative example of the consideration and respect I’m talking about…

Once I recovered from my toilet trauma, we hopped in our rental and started driving on the other side of the road again. Strange. Swung by WalMart (welcome to ‘Murica!) to sort out my cell phone and picked up some snacks. Had a lunch picnic at a park overlooking the ocean, which was a nice way to ease back into it, I’ll admit. Napped, lazed by the pool, and made an early night of it. Because when the sun sets at 6pm, it’s easy to do that. I think the warm weather lulled us into thinking we were still in the Southern Hemisphere’s summer (where the sun sets at 9:30pm) so when it started to set, we all looked at each other, very confused – we couldn’t figure out what was happening. It was pretty, though.

IMG_3795

Our hotel had a Starbucks in the lobby, so the next morning while The Professor had a call, the girls and I went down. When the barista asked Gracie her name, she said, “Primrose Everdeen.” I looked at her weird, because I didn’t know what she was up to, but the barista looked at her with respect, nodded her head, and said, “Let the games begin.” So when they called, “Primrose Everdeen!” Gracie goes tearing through the Starbucks and yells (loudly), “I VOLUNTEER AS TRIBUTE!” It was awesome to watch my little almost-12 year old play Hunger Games at the Starbucks in Honolulu. 

IMG_2586

Another red-eye from Honolulu to Seattle, another long and miserable flight. Unless you were Gracie in the middle seat who managed to fully extend along all three seats, shoving Tate farther into the window and me farther into the armrest on the aisle. Gracie arrived fully rested and refreshed. I took three neck pillows and promptly went to sleep on the floor of the airport for two hours while we waited to depart for Atlanta. I knew the ability to fall asleep anywhere would serve me well at some point and it did. I feel certain I would’ve literally shattered without that little catnap. Even with it, I don’t remember the flights to Atlanta or Savannah, but my parents were there to greet us and didn’t even make me feel bad for bursting into tears when my mom hugged me with my Welcome Home hug. It was really over. And already it was feeling like it never happened, that it was all a dream.

Arrived in Columbia the next morning and as sad as I was that the grand adventure was officially over, I was pretty thrilled to be done traveling. Until I started in on the laundry and unpacking. But seeing our people here has been so great – we are blessed with wonderful people in our lives and we did miss them while we were away. We were greeted with this sweet sign from a family we love madly and some friends brought dinner that night. It seemed like it was going overboard and completely unnecessary, but it was SO welcomed and appreciated!

IMG_2587

Girls went back to school and were there for ONE day before we had a snow day. Which means that about 524 flakes fell from the sky in the late afternoon. The obligatory first day of school photo (with Gracie’s new favorite picture-face) and our patio on the “snow” day…

Finished out the week and went to visit The Professor’s awesome family over the weekend. And then on Tuesday, The Professor and Tate came down with the flu. So that was neat to have them home and sick for the rest of the week. Those two are healthy enough to go back to where they belong during the day, and hopefully Gracie and I can avoid it. Though I’m not terribly optimistic.

Last Wednesday, Gracie FINALLY got the bunny she’d earned and been wanting for a year. The whole time we were gone, she researched bunny care, the best types for pets, thought about names, etc. She’s been obsessed with bunnies for so long. So we got her a sweet little Holland Lop named Tinkerbell. She was adorable, but very small, and apparently, sick. Because sweet Tink was only with us for two days before she died. It was brutal – she died while Gracie was at school, so that’s the news that greeted her when she walked in the door Friday afternoon. Awful. But Gracie thought a new bunny would help her get over the heartbreak, so now we’ve got the big, robust Ruby in our family. She was actually Tinkerbell’s sister and about three times the size of sweet Tink. Hopefully things work out better with Ruby. Gracie and Tink are on the left and that’s Ruby on the right. Fingers crossed…

One of the things I miss the most (aside from the people) are my sunrises over my volcano, Rangitoto. But the other morning, we had a beautiful sunrise here. I first saw it leaving the gym, through the industrial warehouses. Here’s a shot at a stoplight and from our driveway. No volcano or bay or bridge, but still beautiful.

So that’s reentry. It hasn’t been great, but we’re happy to be with the people we love here. Miss the people we love there, though. Hoping the winter weather is over soon, because I preferred the summer. But know it will be too hot here before too long. Hopefully I’ll have everything completely put away before that happens…


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s