One | Two | Three | Four | Five | Six | Seven | Eight | Epilogue | Acknowledgements
Chapter Eight: There's No Place Like Home
Paden slept for the first seven hours of the eleven-hour flight, with just a twitch or two here and there. This gave Mom and Dad a chance to relax and catch a few Z's themselves. But I, apparently, had still not learned my lesson about the airline meal choices for EVA Airlines. Dinner was served quite promptly after we were in the air and cruising. The choices offered to me were a Pork dish, and "Beef and Noodles". Trying my previous logic of "beef is beef", I thought it best to avoid the Pork, and "Beef and Noodles" sounded to me like Beef Stroganoff. BZZZZZT!!!!! Sorry, thanks for playing, would like a copy of the home game? The beef was actually recognizable as beef, but the noodles were something hereto unknown to Yours Truly. They looked like fat Spaghetti noodles, almost pencil-size in thickness, and Tofu-colored. They looked appetizing, but looks were deceiving. They had a consistency of stringy rubber, and a taste to match. I ate the beef, my salad, and my Oreo cookie dessert. More weight loss.
Paden awoke after his seven-hour nap, and checked out the surroundings from the lap of Dad. He, of course, had to check the integrity of the plane's construction, the chief tool for testing being his teeth. He chewed on the armrest, the table, and tried to chew on the window. The bottle seemed much tastier, however, and soon he was yawning and wiping his eyes (a habit we have since come to associate with the "I'm tired but don't know it" condition). A few minutes later, he was back asleep in the car seat. Did I say, We Rule!!!
Since we were travelling back over the dateline, we gained the day that we lost on the way over. As such, we actually arrived on Friday before we left on Friday, if that makes sense. We touched down about 2:30pm. Unfortunately, being the first on the plane due to kids means being the last off for the same reason. But we waited patiently, with Paden still snoozing away. Finally, the aisles were clear and we started to gather our stuff. Lynne decided to carry Paden in the car seat rather than wake him up. Who am I to argue with logic like that? Of course, and as usual, we were at the furthest gate from civilization, and the hike to the Immigration area was long enough that the next plane's worth of people were passing us in the corridor.
We arrived at the Immigration area, with Paden starting to awaken. We took him out so that he could see all the people and all the cool things going on around him. We were luck in that we were allowed to go to a different line than the rest of the passengers because we were bringing in an adopted child, and apparently there is a bit of paperwork to be done at this point. We handed the DON'T-EVER-OPEN-THIS Visa to the INS Agent, who promptly opened it with the ripping ceremony usually designed for Christmas presents. She checked all the documents, and despite our corrections and statements, had a tendency to refer to Paden as "she". No matter. With a simple "Welcome to the United States", we were off towards Baggage Claim and Customs.
On the way, my cell phone rang , and my brother, Justin, was letting me know that he was outside at the curb, ready to pick us up. Getting our bags was surprisingly easy, as it had taken us so long to get off the plane after everyone else had gotten off. We were through Customs just as quickly, and soon loading everything into Lynne's car with Justin at the wheel. Paden met his first new relative, and both seemed to be very happy with each other.
Through San Francisco, across the Bay Bridge, and into the Caldecott Tunnel, and we were home.. Home, at last. A few pictures of our arrival, and Paden saved the exploration of his new digs until later; there would be plenty of time for that. Still in his Hawaiian shirt, he fell asleep soundly in his new bed.
The next few hours were showing the house and the dogs to Paden. We knew the jealousy would show itself from the dogs. After all, they had been the "babies" of the family. Oh, well, both are here to stay, so it will just take some time. Paden seemed to like his new home, although carpet seemed to be a novelty. And there were tons of new things to touch, taste, and generally explore.
All in good time, my son. All in good time.