Monday was probably the longest day of my life, literally and figuratively. It lasted I think 38 hours (literally) and involved four flights with two babies across the world’s largest ocean (figuratively).
But we are home and there’s no place like it. We left Okinawa at 11 am and were back in Lawrence by midnight. The boys were troopers; Pete ate and slept and Chip didn’t break down until the flight from LA to Dallas, and I let him. He deserved it, and only spent about a half-hour sobbing on the floor (despite the fasten-seatbelt-light being on). People were remarkably tolerant, and for that I am very thankful. The China Airlines (just one of the fine carriers we flew) stewardesses lined up to take pictures with him and slipped him an extra roll and apple juice at breakfast. Our transpacific flight flew into LA, which I’ve never done before. It fulfilled my expectations of looking like the opening credits of “The Hills,” and we even flew past the Hollywood sign. The air was clear and bright and it was a random and sunny welcome back home.
Now I’m here I don’t know what to do with myself. There’s a mountain of navy paperwork to keep me busy, of course (today I had the novel experience of registering as an “evacuee” with the US government), but anything else has proved to be a challenge. It is so wonderful to be with my family and so strange to think about the way I left my life. I don’t even think I took the trash out as I left my house… I am so happy to be home and relatively free from worry, but I feel a little bit like I ran away. The Japanese can’t leave, after all. And I have no idea what the future holds. I want to go back to my little Hayama life, have everything just like it was, and say good-bye properly this summer as planned. And I would love to see my husband sometime in the near future. But things have changed and I don’t know if I can drag two little boys back across that ocean. I am, as they say, at sea.
It’s not like I have to decide tomorrow, I guess. The past few weeks have been so full of big decisions that I feel like I have to make another one soon. I should just stop and enjoy what’s left of March in Kansas, and be so thankful I have a home to which to go. And be thankful that that home is probably the least likely in the world to get a tsunami.