get ready for the long ride home.
The flights were all better than I expected ... no one was ill, no one was claustrophobic, no one complained aloud that they were bored. Maybe it was because we all knew what to expect that things seemed to go smoothly - I don't know - I'm just happy we all made it in one piece - no kids abandoned at any connection points. When we were changing planes in L.A., we sent silent holiday wishes to the O'Mahoney's who we knew were in L.A. enjoying a little time before returning home.
We left Sydney on December 26 and after about 24 hours of straight travel, we arrived on Winnipeg on December 26 - magic! We made it through the "wormhole" once again! We were EXHAUSTED and arranged to spend the night in Winnipeg before returning to Kenora on the 27th.
On the way out of Winnipeg, we stopped at Tim Horton's (of course). I was so excited for my first in house Tim Horton's coffee in a year - we ordered 2 coffees, 3 hot chocolates, 3 juices and 6 jumbo muffins. I had my crisp hundred dollar bill ready to pay and when the clerk said it was $15 and some change I became very giddy! You see, that same breakfast order in Australia would cost about $30 - 40! We fed 5 people breakfast for $15! Ah, it was great to be home! Dan recalled that he had the same feeling when he had returned in July, but he had his giddy moment at Wal Mart.
After a car ride filled with anticipation, we arrived home to find that not only had Santa visited, but that some Christmas elves had come in, put up a tree, decorated, stocked our fridge and pantry and even left us dinner in the crock pot! Thank you Christmas Elves - we are so thankful!
It felt so great to be in our own home. The kids ran up the stairs and down the stairs and all over everywhere. They were excited for Christmas, for being home, for the snow, to see family, to see friends, just to be in our own space once again. It is like they say, there really is nothing like coming home. It's your own space and it just feels right.
The next couple of days were a flurry of activity. We were trying to unpack our luggage AND all the boxes we had packed away last December. We read through a year's worth of mail and dealt with all the things you have to deal with. We were jet lagged and being bright eyed and bushy tailed until 3 or 4 in the morning and then wanting to sleep the day away. Most importantly, we were excited to see family and friends.
We kicked off the visiting with Christmas dinner on Dec. 28. My parents, my brother and his family and Dan's parents all came together to celebrate a traditional Christmas dinner with all of our fav's - green bean casserole, sweet potato and pecan bake, wild rice, bread stuffing, meat pie, ham, turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy AND to top it all off, a tiramisu birthday cake for me! My winter insulation layer would come back on quickly if I kept this up! We had a great time and really enjoyed spending the day with our family.
We also fostered Lili back into our lives - once Lili came back home and accepted that we were in fact, real, we feel like a complete family again. A big special Thank you to my Mom for giving Lili the BEST care possible over the past year. She looks so pretty and healthy and happy. We know it was hard for you to send her home but our door is always open if you need a fix!
A Jedi Christmas
We followed that big meal up with days of leftovers and then New Years Eve with Dan's sister and her family and MORE food! It was comfort food heaven - all the foods we hadn't had in a year were before us and we dug right in like those half starved contestants on Survivor - although we certainly were not wasting away! After that was Jake's birthday and this time meatloaf, mashed potatoes and MORE cake! I may need to "call Jenny" soon and make her my new BFF :)
Anyone who knows me, knows that the one thing I completed RELISHED in Australia was the favourable climate. When asked if we would go to see "the snow" down under, I would just scoff and say that this was a "snow free year". I had no desire to experience snow in Australia and I thoroughly enjoyed a year with no boots, snow pants, toques, and all the trappings and duties that come with the white stuff. Now that we are home, I must readjust and come to once again accept that I am "back to reality". I must admit that it hasn't been seasonably cold yet so I have made some forays out of the climate controlled comfort of the house. I have bundled up and gone out to the ice fishing holes, and for a walk in the bush to have a fire and hot chocolate. Here are some photos of those excursions. The boys LOVE it - so I must make an effort to at least tolerate it from time to time. It was fun to see how much fun the boys have out there. :)
Now, it seems that life is returning to normal ... school starts tomorrow and with it a new chapter in our lives. Jack will be starting school for the first time, Jake and Sam will be joining their classmates midway through the year, Dan has a new "To Do" list to tackle before getting called back to work, and I am starting a new position. Already our time in Australia is starting to seem like a beautiful dream. I'm sure we will continue to reflect on how this experience has changed us and new revelations will come about. Are we changed for the better? Most definitely! I think that the gifts that we have been given by the people we met, the places we visited and the new experiences we had, will continue to change us as we continue on life's journey. I am thankful to the O'Mahoney family for exchanging homes with us and I am especially thankful to Dan, Sam, Jacob and Jack for their spirits of adventure and for leaping with me off of the continent and into the unknown! What a precious collection of memories we have from this exciting adventure!
Love T. XXOO