Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Back to the U.S.A. - Part Two

Ok - when I decided to split the story of our travels home into two different posts, I must have forgotten the fact that by the end I was too tired to take many pictures. Sorry! 

Remember how I mentioned Greg's fascination with escalators and moving walkways?  This is how we passed the time before our flight leaving Brisbane.   

Before we left Ukarumpa, I sewed this travel organizer that slides over a seat-back tray table.  It was nice to have easy access to Greg's toys, headphones, etc. during the flights so that I wasn't constantly trying to bend down over my big pregnant belly to get things from my purse under the seat.

Greg did really well on the flights.  He would spend all the time before the flight asking to ride and airplane.  A little ways into the flight, he would tell us "all done airplane"  (meaning - "Ok, I've had enough, let's do something else.")  But as soon as we would deplane at a new airport, he would start asking to ride more airplanes again.  And he slept on all of the flights!

The hard part was the layovers at the airports.  This is the only photo that I have of our 5-hour layover at the Fiji airport.  It was not a happy layover for us:

We were there from 5pm - 10pm.  The original plan had been to leave the airport and go to a hotel across the road for dinner.  But as we faced the prospect of going through security again with our carry on bags and Greg, it just seemed like it would be easier to spend those five hours in the international transit lounge.

Brian and I were tired.  The transit lounge was extremely crowded and uncomfortably warm.  Greg had tons of energy and was not at all interested in sitting down and putting his feet up.  Brian and I took turns taking him up and down the escalator.  We took turns walking him around and around the crowded room.  We took turns chasing him when he thought it was funny to run away from us (a bad habit we're still in the process of working on).  The worst time was when he ran, giggling delightedly, straight into a big duty-free shop.  I was chasing after him when he turned a corner and started running straight towards a whole wall display of perfume.  I shouted his name quite loudly, making everyone in the store stop and stare, and Greg ground to a halt just shy of the display.  But his momentum carried him forward and one bottle of perfume tipped over.  I held my breath, but thankfully, it didn't break.  At last, they started boarding our flight.  Never did the prospect of a 10-hour flight seem so appealing!

The Fiji to Los Angeles leg went pretty well.  We changed Greg into his p.j.s, and he slept for 6 hours straight.  Here he is with some cute bed head after waking up.

I was the one who had a bad time on the flight.   With about three hours to go, something on that airplane started messing with my allergies, and I spent the last three hours sneezing and trying to manage a runny nose.  By the time we landed in LA, I looked like I had been crying for three hours!

The final flight of our journey, a commuter flight up to Portland.  I snapped this photo after waking up myself.  Soon after takeoff I think all three of us were blissfully drooling in our sleep.  And I know that all of these photos have been of Brian and Greg, but there is my big belly on the left as proof that the photographer was there too.

Brian's parents and brother were there to meet us in Portland.  Greg recognized them from photos, and remembered grandma and grandpa from their visit to PNG in November, but was a little shy at first.  On the ride home, Uncle Tim soon cemented his position as favorite uncle by sitting next to Greg in the back seat and supplying him with snacks and new toys.

We spent a few days with Brian's parents as we got over jet lag.  Here is Brian, with a big smile to be home again on the farm.

Greg loves Grandma and Grandpa's place too.   There is lots of room to run around, sheep to chase, and berries to pick.

And a shiny new tricycle with a bell!

So now we're here, settling into life in America once again.  I'll try to blog soon with some of our impressions about the adjustment to life in the States after four years in PNG.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Back to the U.S.A. - Part One

We have been back in the States for more than a week and a half now, and I'm just now getting around to writing a few posts about our travels.  Sorry!  It has been a busy few weeks as we tended to all the details of setting up life in the U.S. as a family.

I won't go into great detail, but here are some photos of the first half of our trip, from Ukarumpa to Brisbane, Australia.

We were able to finish packing and cleaning the night before we left Ukarumpa, and so the morning of our departure was rather leisurly.  (Our flight didn't leave until the early afternoon.)  We were walking around and Greg wanted to stop outside the fence at the back of the store to watch the forklift moving pallets of food.  The workers invited him in and gave him a ride on the forklift, and let him sit there honking the horn while Brian chatted away.  It wasn't until after we arrived in the U.S. that we realized how spoiled Greg is.  In Ukarumpa, dad either has keys to all of the tractors and machines, or knows the people who do, and it's quite easy for Greg to go for a ride.  While we were traveling and now that we're settled in Oregon, Greg keeps seeing machinery and asking to go for a ride.  He doesn't understand that we don't have the freedom to do that here!

Greg was sooooooooo excited to ride in an airplane.  We had been talking about it for weeks.  The first of our 5 flights was just a short hop in a small plane from Ukarumpa to the capital city of Port Moresby.

We spent two nights at a guesthouse in Port Moresby.  While we were there, Greg discovered that he loves playing on slides.  

We also took a little side trip to see the new shopping mall that had been built in Port Moresby.  It was here that Greg first encountered an escalator.  (Escalators and moving walkways would soon prove to be a valuable source of entertainment for the rest of our travels).

 Greg studies up on airplane safety on our flight from Port Moresby to Brisbane.

We spent another two nights in Brisbane (which is a great city, if you ever get the chance to visit).  While there, we met up with a family that we had heard a lot about, but had never actually met.  The wife grew up in PNG, and we are friends with her parents.  They have a daughter about the same age as Greg, and are expecting their second child a month after ours is due.

We met down by the river, where there are parks and nice trails.  The kids enjoyed playing on the playgrounds and Greg enjoyed wading into the water at the play beach there.  (He was specifically told not to go into the water, and perhaps he enjoyed it all the more because he was being naughty).  In the photo above, he's actually sitting at an outdoor table waiting for lunch in just his diaper, as his jeans and shoes are hanging in the sun nearby to dry off.

After lunch we explored another playground, where we found this cool spinning thingy.  The kids insisted that the dads join them in spinning until they felt sick.

After we said goodbye to our new friends, the three of us took a ride down the river on the city catamarans that are part of the public transportation system.  (Greg loved riding different buses, trains and boats to get around the city).

 I will leave you with this pretty view from the river.  After a fun day, the ride back to the flat where we were staying was not so pretty - we had pushed our luck keeping a certain toddler out past his nap time, and had a good meltdown at the bus station, but that's another story.