Tuesday, January 16, 2007


We have now arrived Home... on the other side of the world... in Chicago. It was strange to return - didn’t have the same feeling as getting off the plane in Melbourne - my ‘original’ hometown (or even Brisbane for that matter), as I have SO many times. O’Hare does not have that same familiarity (more an overriding feeling of chaos and mayhem). As we haven’t yet become accustomed to the city landmarks, the drive home along the Dan Ryan Expressway doesn’t feel all that familiar either. 

I went for a walk Saturday afternoon to pick up some bagels for lunch. It was strange to step outdoors wearing a big coat, hat and gloves when I had worn as little as possible a day or so earlier. The city looked remarkably clean. It occurred to me that the season of winter is fully operational; all the leaves have gone from the trees and the copious street sweeping, along with recent warmer weather, have meant that all the dirty ice and fallen leaves have been cleared. Everything looks ‘fresh’ - the chill air enhances this.

Our trip home was as good as one could expect (on a 14 hour, very full flight, with two young children). We were a little surprised to find that ALL passengers had ALL their hand luggage checked and then ALL passengers were frisked (even the boys!) before boarding the plane in Melbourne. The boys were great once again (video on demand rocks!). 

The immigration procedure at LA airport was the most painful experience with a very long line, some 1000+ people to be processed and only 5 immigration officers interviewing and processing the arrivals. We were in line for at least an hour and a half. I had been impressed upon arriving in Brisbane, when an immigration official picked out the family groups waiting in line (particularly those with young children), and fast-tracked them - to everyone’s relief. There did not seem to be facility (or desire) to do this at LA, or even to fast-track those that needed to transit quickly. Therefore a few people missed subsequent flights, despite assurances being given that all would make their connecting flights. There were some very dour and unhappy faces as a result. Perhaps the officials didn’t care for internationals (all citizens were processed rapidly)?

Our flight to Chicago was delayed by an hour and a half so we were able to spend some time in the Admirals Club (Qantas Club equivalent). The club in LA has a brilliant feature: a Kids Club. This is a room with computer games, a TV tuned to the children’s networks, kids snacks and small armchairs - all in a soundproof room. We spent our time here with a couple and their children from Hobart (living in Denver) and a Chicago couple and their twin girls who moved to Melbourne last year! We felt a little like we had traded places and compared our moving experiences with theirs. I must write a little more about this when I get the chance

The boys have welcomed our homecoming as they have been reacquainted with their toys, a more consistent routine and their familiar beds. I heard happy squeals of delight from the boys bedroom on the weekend. Upon investigation I found a blow-up tyrannosaurus rex attacking a stuffed inch-worm. The inch-worm was doing OK I must add. Commentator and head-spectator Nic was devoting his full attention to the attack, giggling and offering assistance when required.

Threatened snow finally fell yesterday. Falling snow is a truly brilliant and beautiful sight - particularly from indoors! It is a bit too cold to go out at the moment (a chilly -7°C as I write at 1pm), but I will have to summons the courage to get the boys out before they go crazy (or crazier). 

Photo: paper snowflakes hanging in our window - made by Luc and myself - in honour of yesterday’s snow

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