Friday, December 28, 2007

Christmas in the sky; we're down under!

We are here! I am looking out over the bay, in my brother and his wife's beautiful apartment in Sydney. The first morning, we woke up to the sounds of monkeys screaming at each other in the trees. It was before 6am. We all got up and met outside on their deck with binoculars to look for the "monkey" birds - it was Kookaburras, laughing at our American ignorance. So many different and amazing birds and trees. I'll take lots of pictures. We need to buy a reference book to give everything a name.

The journey here was two days, and three plane rides long. We flew to L.A., then to New Zealand and then to Sydney. The only difficult ride was the one to L.A. Gillen was dehydrated and they were limited on the amount of water they had on that particular flight (!) and he'd stayed up really late the night before and had woken up really early... He was in his biggest and most dramatic mope state, to date. Nicolas and I wondered how he/we would survive this for 20 something more hours. But then, in LA, I gave them (all three of them) the ipods I'd spent the past two days loading, two small shuffles for the kids and an ipod classic for Nicolas, and all were tamed by the sounds of their favorite tunes - High School Musical, Amy Steinberg, Harry and the Potters, some hip hop, some Christmas for the boys and U2,Reggae, David Sedaris, This American Life, lots of music I'd just discovered on the "e music" site (25-50 free downloads to start)- for the farmer. Then we entered the New Zealand airlines plane! It was a behemoth - two stories tall, wide comfortable seats with individual screens and hundreds of movies and TV shows, games and music to choose from. The Flight attendants wore elfish Christmas ribbons in their hair and were so friendly that one could start to believe that they were excited about spending their Christmas serving us in the sky. Gillen's headache immediately disappeared. He was in love with all of the sweet ladies who kept bringing us good food and drink (yes, good!) and that flight was over before we were even uncomfortable. Just shows how much kindness and some care to details begets kindness. The Delta crew back in the US were giving us what they got. And, I have to say, that people in this part of the world are extraordinarily friendly.
Getting some perspective on the journey and picking places we'd want to go next, at a huge wall map in the New Zealand airport.
Pointing out the last leg left of our journey, from Aukland to Sydney.

It is newly summer here and not yet too hot. Just right! It stays light until really late and then, the setting sun shines through their stained glass windows to cast even more pink glow upon my already rosy niece. I am so happy to be warm, to be with Kenneth and Naomi and to have Nicolas off of work for a month!!Nicolas, the mango of my eye.

But I am particularly gleeful about all of the opportunities to hold sweet, new, joyful little Zoe J.


kelli said...

Glad you arrived safely, that's a LONG flight! But how exciting! Thanks for blogging, excited to hear more when you get a chance.

Alecto said...

What a great place to be this time of year! My brother got married in Sydney six years ago in November and it was the longest series of flights I'd ever been on - NYC to San Francisco and then direct to Sydney. There were a bunch of parents making that flight with kids and they did it brilliantly. I don't know if they still do it but six years ago you could get on a tour group that climbs the bridge (well harnessed and all that). It's a beautiful city and amazing country. Have a wonderful vacation!

Deanne said...

Glad to hear you all arrived safely and hydrated ;). Enjoy the sunshine and family fun!

littlepurplecow said...

I am so thrilled for you all and can't wait to hear and see more from your journey. Christmas blessings to you, Nicolas and the boys!

julie said...

wow, how exciting, so glad we get to share the details!

Have a wonderful, wonderful time!!

mindy said...

Hey! We've been thinking about you guys and hoping for a pleasant journey. Glad to hear all is well. Merry Christmas! Big hugs to all...have a blast!

Madeline said...

Hello! thanks for posting. I am so glad to be able to stay in touch so easily from so far away. It's truly an amazing thing this cyber space, isn't it?

Alecto, we may do that bridge climb. It is expensive and there are two hours of training first so we aren't sure.

Hope you are all having a good holiday.

Danielle said...

Glad to know you guys arrived safely and are having a wonderful time. Enjoy your romantic getaway!

We made the gingerbread houses Christmas Eve and had so much fun—it was a three-day event! I'll post on organic learning soon.


Angie said...

Oh, Madeline - I am living vicariously through you and your descriptions are perfect.

So glad you arrived safely and am looking so forward to hearing every detail!

Have a wonderful time.