Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Ithaca bound

Moving house is always difficult. Managing an overseas move while caring for Oliver, with all his special needs, seemed next to impossible. As much as we hated the idea, Shami and I decided that it made sense for me and Oliver to return to Ithaca ahead of him. I'd get a head start on settling in, paper work, medical care, and getting services for Oliver up and running. Shami would stay behind to tie up loose ends in Australia, not the least of which was emptying our place of two and a half years of stuff. He could manage much more easily without appliances or furniture (or an overnight feeding pump!) by himself than we could with Oliver.

But there was just no way I could travel alone with Ollie... the three of us barely survived our last trip to the US. This plan only became a real possibility because our good friend Fernando came to our rescue. Fernando had been observing at the Parkes telescope, and he was returning to New York City at roughly the same time. He offered to rearrange his travel plans in order to escort me and Oliver from Rozelle to Ithaca, door to door. It was a tremendous undertaking, and we are forever grateful to him. Chivalry is not dead!

It felt like a whirlwind, saying goodbye to people and places, and packing and planning. But before we knew it was time for us to leave. The task ahead was not made any easier by starting out on a 40 hour trip with only 2 hours of sleep. But we were off nonetheless.

Farewell to Rozelle Travellers only beyond this point
The taxi was packed and waiting. Our friend and neighbor Abi and her son Felix saw us off.
Saying goodbye to Shami was very hard.

Quiet airport moment
Shami spent as much time with Oliver as he could, and worried that Oliver would forget who he was.

Leaving on a jet plane
Our United Airlines 747 taxis away from the gate. (Shami says: And in the foreground, the new Airbus A380 in Qantas colors.)

Baby bassinet Ollie and Fernando in LAX

On the long flight from Sydney to LA we got lucky with bulkhead seats and a bassinet. Oliver barely fit, but I made a little nest for him, and to my relief he was actually able to sleep off and on for a portion of the flight, giving our arms a bit of a rest. And finally, we made it to California!

Our flight out of LA wasn't until evening, so we booked into a hotel room to regroup, clean up, wash feeding tubes, and rest as best as we could.

Fernando, bag Rambo Wiggles at LAX
Fernando, Bag Rambo! Don't mess with him, he'll carry all your bags whether you like it or not!
Oliver enjoyed spreading out and watching his favorite Wiggles DVD.

We had two more flights to go. From LA to Philadelphia, and then on to Ithaca. It was not easy... and I won't even go into the problems we encountered with the airlines losing our luggage in LA. I kept reminding myself that every minute that passed brought us one minute closer to Ithaca. And finally we arrived!

Ithaca was very COLD. When we stepped off the plane onto the tarmac the temperature was 7°F (-14°C), and the wind whipped icy snow in our faces. But it felt so good to be home, I didn't mind.

Arriving in Ithaca

It was wonderful to have my family greet us at the airport.

Ithaca airport First taste of Ithaca winter
Ollie on the drive home, looking out at the snow and wondering what happened to the sun and the Iron Cove Bridge.

Snow! After a long travel day
Ollie and Mum in front of our new house, "The Garage Mahal."
And finally, Ollie asleep in his new crib. What a long trip...