Well, to say it has been a long time since my last post is an understatement. We have been back in the states for 10 months...that is hard to believe.
The last few weeks of our time in England were spent packing, selling things on ebay, and taking in a few last minute sights. We went to Winchester, England on our last day. Winchester is a small town about 15 minutes from Basingstoke. What a treasure we found, too bad we waited so long to find it. Winchester is the birth place of...wait for it...Jane Austin! Another favorite author of mine. The Winchester Cathedral has a lovely display about Ms. Austin. I had no idea that she never had a portrait made and no one really knows what she looked like. In the Portrait Gallery in London, there is a small drawing of Jane Austen that her sister is said to have drawn of her, but no one knows for sure. We spent the day touring around, having lunch in an outdoor cafe, and doing a bit of shopping.
The next day was our flight home to the US. Our friends, the McDermotts helped carry the luggage to the airport. We arrived at the airport on time, unpacked the car, looked at the departure list, and found out that our flight was canceled! In normal circumstances this really wouldn't have been a problem, but we sold our furniture, packed everything up, and we were ready to go home. I really thought Jack was going to have a breakdown in the terminal. We spent about an hour trying to get another flight, but of course, there were no direct flights, and most of the other ones were already full. I looked at my son, looked at the ticket agent, and said to her, "I don't care where you send me, just get me on the east coast of the states today!" I was prepared to rent a car if I had to...by the way...did I mention, John wasn't coming home with us? He was staying another month to finish up what he needed to do. I was on my own. The determination to get home really set in when Jack said, "If I have to stay another day in England, I'm going to get a British accent!" (as if that were some disease or something!) The agent finally got us on a Virgin Atlantic flight to Newark. Side note: If you ever have to fly across the Altlantic, Virgin is the way to go.
The children and I arrived in Newark about 8:00 that night. We went through customs, got ALL of the luggage, 2 carts worth out of baggage claim, and pushed our way through the termninal. We had to take the shuttle to another terminal to get the hotel shuttle, John had made a hotel reservation for us. We went to get on the shuttle and couldn't get the luggage carts through the doors! I was so afraid the kids and I would get seperated that I made them get on first. I then told them if I didn't get on, to go to the next stop, get off, and wait for me there! After pushing and pulling the carts through the doors, holding up the shuttle, and having 3 very nice people help me, we made it onto the shuttle. Getting off was just as complicated and just as ugly.
We arrived at the hotel, the desk clerk was nice enough to store the big bags so we didn't have to try to get them upstairs. We went to our room, ordered dinner, and then the kids fell asleep. It was about 10:00 by now and we were all exhausted. I'm getting tired just reliving it! I had to wake the kids up to eat, then we all fell asleep.
The four o'clock alarm rang at, you guessed it, 4 o'clock. We got up, dressed, back on the hotel shuttle and back to the airport. All the luggage was dropped at the curb...was more than happy to give that tip, we checked in, boarded, and 60 minutes later, landed at RDU. HOME SWEET HOME!
We made it down to the baggage claim, I looked out the doors to see the North Carolina sky, and saw my crazy sister, sitting in the pickup area, jumping up and down, and waving her arms. What a wonderful, glorious sight! She even had a starbucks moch waiting for me in the car! I love her! We were home. The neighbors greeted us with signs and flowers. The kids were happy, I was happy, and life was back to normal...or was it?