We’ve been in the U.S. almost a week, and I want to share how our trip went. In traditional Ukarumpa fashion, a group of our friends came to the airport to see us off, despite the early 7:30 departure time! We have good friends! Some even brought donuts and banana cake for breakfast. We had a mostly happy time hanging out before we had to board the plane. It suddenly felt sad when they gave us the 5 minute warning that we had to board the plane and as we hugged everyone goodbye or “see you later” as I prefer to think. We are very thankful for these friends God gave us in PNG and will miss all of them!
By the time we boarded the 10 seater Kodiak, it had cleared up. Connor was very afraid to get back on one of these planes, but it went much better than expected. Last time we flew one he screamed and clenched onto Josh’s hand much of the trip, but it was a bumpy ride. This time he was able to have a pair of headphones and he was able to listen to the co-pilot (another pilot catching a ride home) talk to him a little about the flight. He started out very afraid, then cracked a little smile, then eventually fell asleep. When we landed he was able to tell the pilot he did a really good job of flying the plane so hopefully he won’t be so scared next time! He loves big planes so he had no trouble with all the other planes.
We passed through the capital city of Port Morseby, and were able to have coffee with friends we made back at POC. They’re going finish (going to their home country and not returning to PNG) this year so this may have been a real goodbye, but maybe we’ll get to New Zealand some day!
Los Angeles, CA where we were happy to be able to meet up with a friend from Ukarumpa! She had been in the U.S. on a short visit and was heading back to Ukarumpa. We were able to visit with her for about an hour which was a nice surprise!
Charlotte, NC where I took no pictures. The kids did great on all 6 flights! They actually slept on some of them (Connor did the best), but I don’t think Josh & I did. We all enjoyed some movies on the 2 longer flights, and then Connor would take off his headphones and announce he was going to sleep and then sleep for hours! By the time we had to board out last flight I was done. I really just felt like crawling in bed! I was so tired and couldn’t get comfortable enough to take a nap. The kids were very excited, even during the very last flight so their excitement was enough for all of us.
We finally arrived in Newark, NJ where we were greeted by family. It was a wonderful surprise to be greeted by my uncle and grandmother. My 87 year-old grandmother drove from Hazlet to Newark so that my uncle could drive us his van and have a ride with Gram home. I hope I’m still driving around and as active as she is when I’m in my 80’s. We’ve been so blessed by people offering what we need during this furlough- like this van, an apartment, beds, baby items, clothes and even a toaster as ours died before we left.
My mother wanted us to go to lunch on the way to their house. I wasn’t exactly enthusiastic about it, but decided to go with the flow since she seemed so certain it was a good idea. When we arrived, we were greeted by Josh’s parents, sister & sons that had driven down from MA; cousins from NC (that happened to be visiting NJ), my sister and another friend from NJ. The kids were off the wall crazy to be reunited with their cousins again, and Josh & I were able to stay awake through lunch. It was nice to see so many family members on our first day back.
We’ve been enjoying our first few days in America, and I’ll have to do another post to update you on that. We’ve been busy visiting with friends & family and eating many of the foods we’ve missed.