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April 10, 2006
Travel day, the day we have dreaded for quite some time now.  The day starts off early and chaotic.  Bags have to be outside the door by 7am, where once again they are mysteriously picked up by something and magically appear where we need them an hour later.  Then checkout by 7:30 where I settle a rather disturbing hotel bill as each time we even pick up the phone it costs us $35.  All the families have to gather on the infamous purple couches, and then it’s back to the airport we’ve been living in for the past 3 days.  We all have to check in, and wouldn’t you know that I become the lucky one who gets picked to have his bags plowed through.  My friend Mike laughs at me, and Katherine tells me it’s my fault for being slow and the last to get in line.  However, after they plow through my three bags which are roughly the size of small automobiles, I get the last laugh by being moved to the head of the line.

Zoe waits it all out patiently and in no time at all we are through security and off into the main part of the airport.  The security is a breeze and I am truly thankful that I don’t have to take of my shoes or take my laptop out of the bag.  We meet our friends Mike and Anne again and head for some more good old fashion American friend food and chow down breakfast at the burger king.  At this point we are all dreaming of fresh fruits and vegetables, and one more meal of tator tots and eggs is not looked forward to.  Zoe scarfs down some more eggs and Katherine and I set off on the continued search to find Gracie a snow globe.  We find one at last in the Disney store and I am depressed that I’ve flow across the world and am forced to get my daughter her snow globe at the Disney Store.  Finally we all collect at the gate and a look of foreboding hangs on everyone’s faces, as it does for the other passengers who come and sit down only to realize that they are about to board a plane with ten babies all foaming at the mouth.  Finally we board, each of us finding our home for the next sixteen hours and settle in the best we can.  Katherine and I go on a frenzy trying to make the three seats home.  We yank all of the magazines out of the seat back pockets and fill them with toys, bottles, and every other distraction we can think of.

I won’t spend too much time speaking of the flight, after all what’s the point.  It involved lots of squirming, lots of laps around the airplane where a lot of people goggle at the cute baby.  Zoe did great, I don’t think she cried once.  Got frustrated a few times trying to fit herself on a plane seat when trying to nap, but all and all not bad.  Our other friends Cheryl and Chuck’s baby had 2 ear infections and I’m still not sure how they survived the entire thing.  We were all miserable, all tired, but we all survived.  Arriving back in Newark we were welcomed home to the good old USA to Homeland Security guards barking out orders and basically screaming at us to get in line and “move along.”  It was the antithesis the clean, peaceful, and well run Hong Kong airport.  Newark was chaos.  We were thrown into lines, collected our luggage, and then our luggage was tossed into a pile where you just pray it finds its connecting flight.  One gentlemen in front of us went on a 10 minute long rant about how the US has the worst highways and the worst airports in the world.  However it ended well for us when Mike and Anne’s aunt and uncle greeted them with Pizza, and we invited ourselves along.  Newark may have lousy airports and highways, but it has damn good pizza and we enjoyed every bite.  Zoe of course did her best to grab every bite she could and we quickly learned a new food that she liked.  Actually we hadn’t yet found a food that she didn’t like!

After saying goodbye to our friends it was back in line for American security and grabbing our connecting flight.  Getting back on another plane was about as much fun as tap dancing on a bed of nails, but you’ll be amazed at what you can do when you have no choice.

Getting home was great.  The air was cool and crisp, and not 90 degrees with air you could drink.  Both of our parents were there to greet us and best of all we got to grab Gracie and give her hugs until she couldn’t take anymore.  Zoe got to meet her new big sister and her grandparents, and we all headed home to where our friend and family had really hooked us hope.  Our friends Kate and Rob had filled our fridge, dinner had been made for us, it was all great but we were just ready to get to bed.

I’ll give a brief summary of the next couple days, needless to say they involved very little sleep.  Zoe got to meet her new dogs, lots of friends and neighbors, and had her clock seriously screwed up.  We literally went 72 hours without a lick of sleep.  By Thursday we were drunk with exhaustion but Zoe has slowly started to make progress where we can now get 5 or so hours of sleep…not in a row, but five total hours.  She has adapted fine.  She plays with her sister, still loves a good bath, eats as much food as you can throw at her, and wants to be held all the time.  She hangs around her mama as much as she possibly can, and likes to tackle her big sister.  She has a new jumping seat that she absolutely loves and literally jumped in it today until she passed out asleep draped over the seat like a piece of laundry.

We really couldn’t have asked for a better experience.  Granted that changing her diaper is still like wrestling a scared pig, but everything is really wonderful.  We’re dead tired at 8 pm, but wouldn’t trade that, and it’s great watching the two girls interact.  This morning they all piled into the bed and Zoe passed out on me while Gracie watched cartoons.  All great stuff.  We miss our friends from the trip, living in hotels like that kind of reminded me of college again.  Going down 3 doors and knocking to see if anyone wants to go out for some food, but hopefully we will all keep in touch.  Now that this blog is coming to an end, we’ll have to figure out a way to keep the story going, because it’s really not ending is it….it’s just beginning.

Love,

The Marcus Family:  Paul, Katherine, Gracie….and now Zoe