Monday, September 24, 2007

HOME, I think?!

Last night in Kolkata!

Our little helper

Packing and repacking our goodies from India

After two weeks in India, I think we were ready to come home. But there is so much to still discover about this wonderful country, I'm sure, at some point we will be back. We set out for our return trip on Friday early evening. There was a huge downpour, our first reprieve from the heat since we arrived or maybe Kolkata was crying because we were leaving, I guess we'll never know :)

The first flight from Kolkata to Delhi was a two hour flight of aerobic exercise for all three of us. Devi was
happy, but active. We were over the seat, under the seat, into Pat's lap, back into mine. Then looking at the people across the aisle then behind us then grabbing the beverage cart then undoing my seatbelt. Exhausting in every sense of the word.

Arriving in Delhi for the last time, we were warned that the transfer bus from the domestic to the
international airport only runs once an hour and so we rushed to the sign-up desk trying to reserve a seat. We ended up with a 1 hour delay as the the first bus was full. We hulled up in the corner of the airport watching the mayhem, waiting for our bus, but not without some entertainment. A woman sitting beside us began to scream. Turns out a rat was running around our luggage; not an uncommon site in this airport. Devi loved it.

Fifteen hours of holding us all captive in a small space is not my idea of a good time, but we managed to make it through the flight to Chicago in one piece. Devi slept most of the way of this flight....thank you
God! I had really stressed about the flying with the baby, but it was working out okay. We were unable to get the bassinet with bulkhead seats, but thankfully there was an empty spot next to me which became Devi's make shift crib. Leaving at 12:15 am and traveling over Russia, Iceland, Greenland, and Canada- we never saw the sun- it was night the whole way which made it easier for us to try to catch an hour or 2 of sleep. Once on the ground we headed for the Starbucks counter for a hot sip of home....almost there!

Interesting to note that we had been carrying all these papers along with us to get Devi safely back into the country, but every time we offered up what we had prepared, no one wanted them. I guess it is better to have more than you need, but for crying out loud, we've been toting this notebook around for the past two weeks...some of the papers had even been to the Taj Mahal with us to keep them safe.

Final leg of the journey was finally here. Just 5 more hours until we would be home. Devi slept the first hou
r of the trip and then awoke out of sound sleep and decided she was absolutely positively done. She has not been too much of a crier, but when the girl is done, she means it. She could not be consoled for the next hour so I spent my time at the back of the plane with her bouncing on my hip. We unfortunately learned the bathroom habits of most of the people on the plane. In the end, everyone heard our spread throughout the plane and many of the passengers offered us congratulations as we departed the aircraft. The flight attendants even surprised us with a gift wrapped bottle of champaign to celebrate- very thoughtful.

Immigration was a breeze. After having our passports stamped we headed to a small examination room waiting for the final stamp of approval for Devi. I don't think I will ever forget the words that came from the examiners mouth. "Welcome home to the USA, Bhargabi!"

We were met by Pat's parents at the security gate. All of us beaming at our good job well accomplished. Devi even gave her Oma a smile right off. On to the baggage claim where we were met by my family; my teary eyed dad holding up a "Welcome Devi, Princess of India" sign, his friend Gail, my sister Joan, brother David and sister in-law Obra were all sporting cameras to commemorate the occasion. Our friends Ben and Denise, balloons in hand, also just couldn't wait. It was a wonderful reception after being out of touch from loved ones for so long.

Nearing the driveway, even in our blurry eyed state, we could make out a pink glow coming from our
address. As we drew nearer still, it became obvious that our house and yard had been filled with pink helium balloons that were dancing a welcome home jig in the breeze. It was a wonderful home coming. The front door was filled with signs wishing us congratulations and welcome homes. Thank you neighbors, co-workers and friends for making that experience a Moment for us to share with Devi... somehow she managed to miss it. A story that is told and retold many times over, I'm sure.

Exhausted and completely out of touch with time and feels good to be home.


The Labontes said...

So glad to hear you all made it. What a wonderful reception! She looks so sweet both helping with the suitcase and snoozing in her carseat. It was amazing to follow along. Thank you so much for sharing.
Lots of love and continued prayers,

Kristi said...

Yeah!!! You're home safe and sound. Love the pics and following your blog was so much fun!! Thanks for all of your fabulous posts. Hope the jet lag doesn't last too long... :)


Peter and Nancy said...

Congratulations on surviving the trip with a baby! We are so thrilled for you all to be under the same roof, at home, as a family. Devi is so incredibly beautiful. Thank you for posting so often, with so many details. We have hung on every word!

Love from Wisconsin,
Nancy and Peter (waiting for Anya Rashi)

Anonymous said...

Oh the joys of parenthood. I remember Trevor screaming from Denver to Seattle which had gotten completely off the original schedule and it was the wee hours for him. I cannot wait to see her and you all of course! Welcome Home!!

Michele Anwyll

To India, With Love, said...

Welcome home! I've loved following your journey, and seeing all of those photos bought back some wonderful memories.