Friday, June 30, 2006

Lost in Amerika

26 hours, 10 time zones, 4 airports, 3 flights, 2 lost bags, and 1 traveling baby later...and we're back. Back in the proverbial land of milk and honey for the duration.

After having been on the ground now for a bit and gaining some perspective, the trip really wasn't that bad. I can't say that being awake for 26 consecutive hours (can't sleep on a fucking airplane) was ideal, but the inevitable tarmac delay getting out of Kiev, followed by the even more predictable failure by Air France to treat us even remotely like paying customers, had to be expected.

Seriously, you almost have to admire the balls on this little piss ant French airline for choosing to pass on helping a family traveling with a newborn get on their flight in a timely fashion, while instead ignoring them for hours on end while they wait in the bowels of Charles de Gaulle Airport. Almost. Should've known better, but that won't happen again.

But my son, wow. Going into the mammoth undertaking which affectionately became known around our house as "THE TRIP" we had expected Scout to be like most babies we'd encountered aboard aircraft in our travels...cranky and crying. Not the case with this one, as it turns out that he's a real trooper. Nary a peep from this flyboy as even takeoffs and landings couldn't phase him. If anyone ever earned their wings and lived up to a moniker...the Scout did at a mere 8 weeks of age.

Starting this sojourn across the United States in Southern California visiting with my folks before heading on to the Rockies and our former home in Colorado, before eventually settling in Atlanta, I'm finding that not only was the timing just right to come back to America, but that I really did miss the old girl.

Sure, absence makes the heart grow fonder and the gig and digs in the Captial of the New South make for as smooth a transition as one could ever hope for in an international move, but it's more than that. I missed family. And yeah, I always missed the 'rents and the extended Atlanta family, but ever since that kid came into's just meant more.

I want him to not only see his family once in a while, but to grow up surrounded by those people who love him the most. I want the best for my son and I saw the opportunity and grabbed it. Do I feel a little pang for the expat scene, the flexibility and freedom of it all? Sure, but just a bit.

And yeah, I'll admit it...there's nothing like the comforts of home. TiVo's and tacos go a long way when you've been sequestered in the former Soviet Union for 3 years, of that there is no doubt.

But I am so grateful for the Ukrainian experience. For the trials and the tribulations, the good and (most of) the bad, and for frustrating me so much sometimes that I felt like a CCCP simian, stuck in lower earth orbit. That country, and it's people, will stay with me for the rest of my days. My marriage, a revolution colored orange and my son, all par for the course in these times and I'm forever changed because of it.

Ukraine left her mark on this chimp, and although I've splashed back down to earth...I will take the littlest monkey back to the lauchpad someday.

born down in a dead man's town.


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