Did we ever think we would be so happy to be in Kansas? Carter and Lea returned on December 7 after a challenging journey home. Their plane left L'viv late, apparently its standard operating procedure, and they missed the connection in Frankfurt. Lea's advocacy skills (and a little bit of begging) came into play as she secured them seats on another airline's flight through Chicago and then a third airline's flight from Chicago to Kansas City. Amazingly, they made it to Kansas City shortly after their original flight would have arrived. Completely exhausted, they came home to find a cat who was truly unhappy to see the toddler return to chase her. Carter's comment upon arrival in his room was "look at all these toys!"
For the last few days, they have been catching up on sleep, grocery shopping, and housework. Returning home was like a step forward in time. Of course, some things were obvious steps forward that they expected - a dishwasher, a clothes dryer [Yes - no climbing up and down off a chair to hang laundry, no stretched out, cardboard-like clothes], water you can drink straight from a tap, packaged food at the store, and decent roads with reasonable drivers.
But more interesting was the small step forward - about two weeks. When they left L'viv, a small number of modest Christmas decorations were going up around town. Arrival at O'Hare airport was a shock. Every inch of the place was seemingly covered in lights and other signals of the upcoming holiday. Christmas ads and catalogs abound in the newspaper and in the mail, and Christmas decorations are everywhere in the shops. While L'viv doesn't really celebrate Christmas until January, it will still not have these ostentatious displays. It was actually nice to miss a great deal of the commercial Christmas hype this year. Maybe leaving the country during Advent would be wise every year!