Tuesday, December 27, 2011


so, after 8 weeks, I'm finally back in the States!

after we explored Sydney for one last time, Pete was lovely enough to drive me to the airport, and I was officially on my way back to the States. I checked my bags with no problems and went off to security where they confiscated the Vegemite I bought for my sister's Christmas present, as well as my skinID face wash. the Vegemite was stupid on my part because I forgot it was in my carry-on, but my face wash was 118mL (limit is 100), and more than half empty. so stupid. so upset.

anyway, I walked all over the Sydney airport looking for a shop to buy more Vegemite, and I finally found one, close to my gate (of course). the largest size they had was in a tube, which I thought was pretty cool because it was portable :) so I bought it, along with a ton of Aussie candy for pretty cheap, as far as airport prices go.

Detroit airport tree!
best airline food EVER (never thought
I'd say that)
THEN I realized that I forgot to get tiny Vegemite packets as gifts, so I found a Macca's (which was easy enough) and asked for some Vegemite. I bought some fries because I felt guilty just asking them to give me some.

by then I was exhausted just from walking around the airport, so I sat and waited at the gate. surprisingly, I managed not to get too teary. leaving Darwin was much more difficult than leaving Australia. luckily, I have had contact with Kaye and Roger and other Darwin people throughout my travels, and it has really helped.

the plane ride was as awful as ever. I had a middle seat in the middle row in economy, same as I had on my arrival flight. impossible to sleep, and if the person next to you is sleeping, you can't get up to pee. I had a very sleepless flight, so I ended up watching 4 movies :X they were all pretty good, but my favorite was Crazy, Stupid, Love. hilarious, heartfelt, unexpected. I actually had to stifle my laughter the entire way through. I was on the new flight direct from Sydney to Dallas/Fort Worth. the flight was more than 14 hours, but I was surprised how fast it felt once we landed. and the Dallas airport is massive! they have a sky train/people mover that takes you from terminal to terminal, which was pretty fun. customs in the US was a breeze. they just asked me a question or two and sent me on my way. going into Australia (from the US and Indonesia), my bags were searched and everything, and I had far less luggage then. a bit more strict than we are, evidently.

Silvie, enjoying his Christmas gift
Santa came!
once I found my terminal, I worked my ass off to get an earlier flight. I really, really didn't want to deal with that 17-hour layover after the exhausting week I had. I got on the phone with Qantas, and they put me on an earlier flight (10 hours earlier to be exact), and waived all the fees. amazing.

Jordan met me at the airport at midnight, and drove me to my parents' house. the next day, I woke up to SNOW! I may not have had snow on Christmas day, but this was good enough for me. and it continued to snow for 2 days. we only ended up getting a few inches, but it was snowing so hard and it was so perfect.

adam, pretending to be cute ;)
french toasting
my dad made the best french toast ever, and we hung out until my sister came over. she was in town from Florida with my 3 nephews, and I loved seeing them. we opened presents and had delicious food (always the case at my parents' house), had a few drinks, and played Apples to Apples :)

as much as I miss Darwin, I'm happy to see my American family. I still get teary reading emails from Kaye, and I get disappointed when I wake up and I realize I'm no longer in the tropics, but they're thinking of coming to the States for Christmas next year, and I couldn't be more excited! I met people in Australia that I know will be in my life forever, and I'm so grateful for everything they've done for me. for now, Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy New Year. 2011 has been unforgettable.

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