Friday, October 22, 2010

One trip home....

This is a long one...but hope you enjoy it!

One trip home…..

I flew back to Australia from my hometown of Olympia, Washington yesterday. It is a long trip and no matter how many times I fly that route, it never gets any shorter-24 hours from the Seattle airport to my front door.

Of all the things I could write about I choose to share some of the people I met along the way….

Peggy, sitting next to me at an airport café in Seattle, while I was waiting to fly to LA for my Sydney connection…we started to chat. A hip grandmother of 70, flying to LA to look after her 3 grandchildren, while her son and his wife went to Florida.

Peggy also told me about her other 2 children, deaf daughters aged 34 and 37, both teachers with masters degrees in education. Peggy shared how nervous she was as this flying without her husband for the first time. She was a bright sparkle of a woman with beautiful blue eyes and a sweet spirit.

Soon my flight was called…

I find my seat, next to a woman in her late 30’s. I say hello, and she hardly looks at me. Over the course of the 2 and a half hour flight to LA, I find out this woman has flown from Florida to Seattle that morning for a business appointment, but upon landing finds out her father was in a horrible car crash in LA and on life support not expected to live. I could tell she was in shock.

She talked quietly to me off and on the whole flight and I just listened. What a difficult decision it was to change her plans, even under the circumstances as she and her father were estranged. Once she got to LA she still had a 2 hour drive to the hospital. I still just listened. Once the plane landed and we got off, I simply gave her a hug.

I arrive in LA with 3 hours before boarding the jet to Sydney. The airport is massively busy but knowing I will be sitting for hours upon hours on the plane, I force myself to go for a long walk, finally settling in a coffee shop.

Soon my flight was called.

The plane was full.

The couple who became my seat mates were already seated as I took the window seat. We start to settle in for the long flight when an announcement was made informing us were would be taking off an hour late. The couple and I look at each other, sigh.

“Going home or over for a visit?” I ask…

The answer in broad Aussie accent: “We’re going home to Australia…we’ve just been to Las Vegas to get married. And then we stayed in the States another 2 weeks for our honeymoon.”

Tell me more!

They had already been together for 10 years and had 2 children, but wanted to get married on 10/10/10…which is exactly what they did, by Elvis of course! They said so many people wanted that date, they were scheduled 15 minutes apart and every single chapel was booked.

They then rented a limousine to take them from Vegas to the Grand Canyon.

I told them “I like your style…”

So for the whole hour while we waited for the big bird to take off and while the rest of the passengers grew restless and grumpy, the 3 of us had the most wonderful conversation about their 2 weeks. They were giddy, happy, fun, loving and excited to share their experiences with me. They also couldn’t wait to get home to their 2 children.

We finally took of, and 14 hours later there are the shores of Sydney.

I have flown into Sydney dozens of times over the years….the first time in the early 80’s as a wide eyed backpacker fresh from months of travel in New Zealand. Now I fly there several times a year with my jewellery business.

Flying into Sydney, seeing land for the first time in a 14 hour flight-the cliffs and beaches, there’s the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and although I still have another flight to Brisbane….I know I’m HOME!

For anyone who does these long trips, you know at this stage one is in a “zone”, and although I do travel a lot, I am no exception. I look around the airport at the freshly showered bodies who have no doubt slept in a bed all night. I am crumpled and rumpled spacey and sleepy and wired…the usual. I’m looking forward to seeing my husband AND my puppy. But I have one more flight. And I have to take the commuter bus from the international terminal to the domestic terminal for this last leg of the journey.

Sydney to Brisbane.

The entire plane is full of “suits” flying from Sydney to Brisbane for a day of business; this is an 8 am flight.

I take my seat and immediately 2 of those suits sit down next to me-I am barley able to say good morning…one snaps the morning paper open, the other instantly open his laptop.

I close my eyes…and land in Brisbane.

And just like clockwork there Chris and puppy and all is well!

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