Thursday, October 28, 2010

Back to the Rock Pile

We finally made it home yesterday evening around 8:30PM.  Our flight from Madrid was uneventful except for the constant barrage of movies...we had 4...all rated PG13 or R.  Thankfully, we had both laptops and our own collection of DVDs going for the kids to keep their eyes off the giant screen in the plane.  Our arrival in NYC at JFK was fine until we found out our plane was cancelled due to weather.  We were redirected out of Laguardia so we had to hoof it over there using a private driver.
The whole bit about taxis was a disappointment.  Legally most cabbies won't take more than 5 people in a taxi so we would have to use 2.  It worked out ok...very providential as this guy comes out of nowhere offering us a ride in his suburban for less than the cost of 2 cabs or the airport shuttle which was $13 per person.  I was praying the whole time and even spoke to him in Spanish...he was from the Dominican Republic and was very sharply dressed in a suit.  We arrived, went through security, and made it out of New York.
We touched down in Minneapolis around 7PM and went through the same trouble with the taxi situation.  We had originally hoped to take the light rail to downtown Minneapolis and then ride the bus back home, but the buses weren't running that late up to our stop.  Thankfully, Daddy had a number to a cab company he has used before that would take us home in a larger mini-van.
The next situation was that of Jane & Gabe who were still at their host family's home.  They offered to drive them home to us which was great.  It was a tearful reunion and a great chance to debrief with the host family.  All went well with the kids while we were away which was great to hear.
Now we are back to the business of unpacking, doing laundry, restocking the kitchen with food, and catching up.  It was a bit shocking that all the kids were up at 6AM this morning...still on European time!  But we do hope to put them to bed early tonight so they can get back on schedule.

I also wanted to list a few things that helped us on the trip....

REI Clothes Line

At certain points in the trip we would wash necessary
clothes items and hang them to dry over night.  Surely this
was a Godsend.

REI camp spork - 4 pack

These allowed us to eat anywhere, picnic,
and feed the baby when we lost his baby spoon.

Earphone Y-jack

This allowed two kids or even 4 kids
with one earbud each to watch movies
and not disturb others.

Rick Steves's Packing Cubes

These were great for keeping things organized
inside our backpacks.  Stuff was never lost
or just thrown into our bags.  Rick Steves's cubes also
priced out better than anyone else's.

Land's End Packable Navigator Rainjacket

These jackets were great for the kids.
 Layered over a polar fleece pullover,
they were very warm.

The jacket folds via a little pocket in the back
of the jacket.  The little loop was great for
hanging unwanted jackets due to
warm, sunny weather onto the
stroller handles.
Thanks for the prayers, everyone!  It's great to be back home, but we sure will miss Europe.  It was a great opportunity and learning experience.  We'll never forget it!



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