Back in the USA

July 4, 2010 - Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States

Our return flight from Melbourne to LAX was aboard a Qantas Airbus A380.  We were excited about this aircraft that boasts “new levels of comfort, innovation and style.” Apparently the A380 is the largest and most technologically advanced aircraft ever built. It was definitely a nice plane with some sweet amenities in economy including: extra leg room, reclining seats, a net hammock as a foot rest, and a self-serve snack and beverage bar. Each seat had its own entertainment monitor to view movies, play games, watch the flight path on a map, or see real-time coverage via the web cam that is lodged on the wing of the plane. The web cam allows passengers to view take off and landing, as well as other moments throughout the flight. In our case, the view outside was mostly black as we were travelling into the night. Our interest in the vast entertainment offerings meant that we didn’t sleep much at all on this flight (we would pay for that on the other end as the jetlag was pretty rough).

We were welcomed back to the USA in Los Angeles with a very easy transition in customs. The customs officer was friendly and said, “Welcome home and Happy 4th of July.” The flight between LAX and Milwaukee was uneventful and landed a bit early. In contrast to the comment that I made about the correlation between our travel and the immigrant experience we learn about in my 3rd grade social studies class on our way out, this was “smooth sailing.” We were home and settled back in by the time the fireworks lit up the sky.

Meanwhile, back in Rhode Island, Dave was surprised to find a banner saying, “Welcome Home, Dave. Your country thanks you.” This was prepared to make up for the horrific homecoming he and fellow soldiers got when returning from the Vietnam War where protestors spit at them and called them baby killers. I, personally, have gained an appreciation for our soldiers and what they endure in wartime after this trip. In fact, I’ve gained an appreciation for a lot thing: other people, places, cultures, foods, and a renewed gratitude for what I have right here at home.


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