Monday, March 9, 2015

Home again, home again...

Jet lag...the reason I've been up for over 3 hours already and it's not even 5:30am!!  Home.  Such a crazy little word.  I spent my last night in Australia with my friend Hossein, the Iranian fellow I met in Adelaide when I first moved Down Under.  It seemed rather fitting that one of my first friends in the country was also the last friend I saw before leaving.  He'd moved to Sydney a few months ago (his cousin had moved to Sydney to study) and we decided we'd try to meet up while I was back in town waiting for my flight home.  Since I was there during the week and he had to work we couldn't meet for coffee, so he and his roommates decided to host a Persian BBQ dinner for me.
 He lives with his cousin Ali and his friend Mehdi, whom he met while in the refugee camp.  It was a fun evening, and was nice to catch up - he does finally have a visa, but only a one year visa, so he's not sure what will happen when his year is up. The food was good and it was a nice way to spend my last night in the country.

For my flight home, one of the longest flights in the world, I was blessed to find out that the plane wasn't full, it was in fact quite empty!  I had 2 empty seats beside me and was able to spread out and actually sleep in a horizontal position.
It made the 16+ hour flight feel surprisingly short.  While I didn't sleep very well, being able to actually lie down and doze off for 7 of the hours certainly took up a large chunk of time.  The beauty of technology of course is being able to watch your own movie, and I can definitely recommend "The Good Lie" for anyone searching for a movie to watch.  It's based on the story of the Lost Boys from the war in the Sudan, and although it's a bit heartbreaking when you think of all they had been through there were plenty of humorous and heartwarming moments throughout the movie.  I landed in Dallas and had a few hours to kill before my flight home.  No dramas, we all eventually boarded the plane - well there was some drama about the lack of overhead space for everyone traveling with big carry-on's (why they don't just gate check them for free I'll never know).  Once everyone we were on they informed us that someone doing a pre-flight check had found a dent in the airplane and since we had an FAA employee flying with us they were being extra careful to dot their i's and cross their t's. I have no idea how long we sat waiting for this documentation, but my seatmate Tom and I eventually struck up a conversation.  They eventually had everyone disembark because it was decided the dent was too close to a seam and would have to be fixed.  We all headed back to the waiting area and thankfully after maybe 15-20 minutes were told we had a new plane and we all headed to our new gate.  Through all of this, and the flight home, Tom and I continued to chat.  I'd guess him to be in his mid-50's and he works in sales, so he's used to talking a lot.  We talked quite a bit about Australia and traveling; he often travels for business and occasionally that business is overseas.  He seemed a bit surprised that I had been in Australia for a year by myself and that I'd visited so many other countries. Anyway, since we talked the entire flight home and through all the waiting, it certainly made the time go by faster.  By 11:30pm we had landed and I was greeted by my parents, Crickett, and an awesome couple from my church.  Sadly, they had been waiting since 8:30pm because they hadn't known my flight was delayed!  It was so nice of them to stick around and it was fantastic to see everyone.  As we had started our descent Tom had asked me what I was feeling about almost being home and what-not and I honestly couldn't say.  So far, having been home for 2 whole days now, it doesn't really feel like a left.  A few things have changed, and I did have to unpack everything, but nothing earth-shattering was different.  I'm glad it doesn't feel really different, I think it would make coming home that much harder - especially when I was so content to stay right where I was in Cairns.  I've promised myself that for however long I'm home I'm going to do my best to appreciate it; enjoy being around family, having a closet full of clothes, listening to country music on the radio, having a car - all the little things I didn't have while traveling.  It has been a wonderful year, a year full of adventures I never could have imagined.  A year Down Under.

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