Our flight from Paris was pretty ideal. We left Paris in the morning, and had an airplane that was only about half full. This meant that our family of three actually had five seats, so I spent a fair amount of time stretched out, sleeping. Amelia charmed everyone on the plane, and had several temporary grandmas to sit with and be read to by. Jeff slept some too, and all in all it was pretty relaxing. I needed that time to just chill, and although I usually get really antsy on long flights, I found those 10 hours to be really pleasant.
We had a connecting flight in Salt Lake City, which we really had to run through the airport to catch. We made it, and piled into a very full, cramped little jet for the short flight to Portland. Amelia was thrilled to be seated in the very back, where the flight attendant sits during takeoff. She studied the flight safety instructions intently and grilled our flight attendant on all of the pictures. Then, she lectured every single passenger that walked past us to use the bathroom on what to do in case of fire, water landing, or need for oxygen. “Just sit down! Everything is under control! The flight attendant will use the fire extinguisher!” Mind you, this was all after almost 20 hours of travel time, with only one hour of napping. She just couldn’t stop talking, until she fell asleep in the middle of dinner that night.
When we landed at 5 p.m., the sky was dark and pouring rain. Everything was wet, gray, and not very exciting. We were drenched and exhausted by the time we arrived at our hotel in downtown Portland, only to find out that a mistake had been made in reserving our room, and they were not expecting us. We worked it out, but it was a little stressful and we ended up moving to a much less elegant hotel the next day. From the time we arrived in Portland, I had a weird feeling in my stomach, like something was really wrong. I had been prepared to enjoy our time here, and had worked hard on being positive and open to good things even though we didn’t necessarily want to be back here yet. Between the awful weather and the mixups, the realization that we have no home and are not sure what we’re doing here, that uncomfortable feeling only got worse.
The two things I’d really, sincerely looked forward to doing in Portland were eating and seeing people we know. Unfortunately, I continued to feel ill, and couldn’t keep any food down. Things got worse and worse in this regard, and on our third night here we ended up calling a cab to take us to the emergency room. I had become extremely dehydrated, hadn’t eaten for several days, and was apparently in terrible condition. Let me state for the record that I had never been admitted to the hospital, apart from giving birth to my daughter. This time, however, I managed to get admitted to the ICU for 24 hours! All in all, I stayed in the hospital for three days.
|My view of Portland from my hospital bed…|
It was a terrible way to come back to the States. I didn’t get to eat good Portland food for a week, and I only saw one friend during that time. We didn’t have health insurance, a car or phones, and the very worst part was finally being released from the hospital, exhausted, and not having a home to return to. Our very noisy hotel room in the middle of downtown was nothing like home. It was sad. Fortunately, Jeff’s parents live about an hour away, and were willing to have us stay there and feed us while we all healed up from the turbulence of the week. Meanwhile, Jeff interviewed for the position in Misawa, Japan. This was also really disheartening. We think he’ll be offered the position, but we don’t think this is a good time to move there, which means a much longer transition time for our family. And, of course, we have both been feeling so devastated for the people in Japan, feeling so vulnerable as human beings on this planet. This gives us perspective, as well: things aren’t going great for us right now, but we are safe.
|I finally enjoyed a nice long walk along the riverfront this morning, in spite of the rain!|
Now we are back in our hotel downtown, and the experience is different. We are enjoying going to happy hours, walking along the river front, and being in the middle of this interesting city. We’ve seen friends, and are feeling a bit better. We are borrowing a car for the week, and we have cell phones. In a couple of days, I will be visiting my siblings and their families in Washington– I have really missed them, and am SO ready for some good laughs around the dinner table! So, even though it was a very rough re-entry, we are recovering and hoping to genuinely be enjoying ourselves soon. We don ‘t really know what we’re doing, or where we’ll be living in a few weeks. The adventure continues!