- The second we board the plane in New Zealand, Shayden spontaneously claps his hands. He does the same thing just as we leave that same plane (in Tokyo).
- As Shayden watches the clouds underneath us through the airplane window, he keeps doing his "bah"-sound for sheep, convinced he is seeing thousands of sheep for miles upon miles. He's happy as...:)
- Nobody at the New Zealand or Japan immigration raises one question why this family with 2 different passports (US and German) also has with them a toddler with yet another passport (NZ) and a different last name - and if they possibly kidnapped him... The first question comes in Germany and all is fine when we show the letter we have from social services.
- How easy Germany is when it comes to immigration checks! In Japan, we had to get fingerprinted, photo taken, papers filled out. In Germany? Nothing but showing a passport for everyone - not even a single paper to fill out.
- Staying with our Samoan friends in Auckland and feeling like you're in Tahiti - the church youth choir practicing the most beautiful songs in the garage half way through the night - awesome singing - oh, those island voices!
- Being brought to the airport by the pastor (our friend) and him insisting to buy our whole family breakfast at McDonald - staying with us until we have to board, even though it costs him a small fortune to stay in the airport parking lot for so long. But he won't have it any other way!
- Another islander joining us for breakfast (he will use our van during our absence) - and just "hanging out" island style:) - talking, laughing
- Being ushered to the business class check-in at Tokyo airport and getting VERY FRIENDLY service - no long queue - and we don't know why...
- We're all pretty much healthy again- except for my occasional coughing fits
- The airport hotel in Tokyo...
- Lufthansa - (on our flight from Japan to Germany) served the worst food (I am NOT picky) and had no individual entertainment systems - to Kylie's GREAT sorrow - she had SO enjoyed Air New Zealand and the wonderful distraction the entertainment system offered her hour after hour after hour after hour:)
- I realize HOW MUCH New Zealand has become HOME in the last 4 years. As I was packing up and getting ready to leave I was already very much looking forward to coming back!
- Rich has the "revelation" that he prefers to travel alone as compared to with the family in tow - I wonder why??? LOL (it was quite a hassle, although overall the trip went well)
- After only expecting my one brother to pick us up in Frankfurt with the rented van, he brings along his daugther and another nephew, plus my other brother drives from his home (over an hour or so drive, not sure exactly) with his whole family to the airport, just to welcome us -and then drive back home!
- Being welcomed "home" so warmly with balloons in several places, nice welcome signs, treats on everybody's pillow, the kitchen full of food (we are staying in a separate appartment at my Mom's house) - and some yummy fruit salad and pretzels...
- Being welcomed by SNOW!!! During our last visit 4 years ago, Jeremie prayed so much for snow and there was hardly any until the end of Dec. (when we left). This time, we didn't dare hope for snow, and there it is waiting for us!
- Getting up this morning to a fresh blanket of snow and going outside as a family for the first snow ball fight ever with Kylie!
- Thinking of Nathalie and missing her sharing this fun time with us - knowing she'd LOVE to be with us!
- When you jet lag so badly that you toss and turn in bed without being able to sleep for 5 hours of the 8-hour-night 3 nights in a row and then feel like a zombie all day.
- When your husband next to you has no jet lag and just sleeps through the night (except last night, when the bed collapsed in the middle of the night, but that's another story...)
- When you quickly rush out of bed in the middle of the night because you hear the door open and you're afraid Kylie's on her way outside to visit the rabbits. And when you come back inside you fumble through the dark room, think you've found your bed, plop down to get back to your sleep, only to find yourself hugging the rather hard floor with a huge "clunk" that shakes the house. Oops, missed the bed - ouch! (and it wasn't me - I was being compassionate while trying hard to hold back my laughter)
- To stay in the same appartment that my parents moved into when they got married 52 years ago (of course, renovated). Yep, my mother has never moved houses!!!
- To have Kylie use the same silverwear and placemat that I used at her age, play with some of the same toys that my siblings and I played with!
- Only my french-speaking readers will understand this one: On our second evening in Germany, we had "pate" (or liverwurst) on the table for dinner (with bread). Leilani couldn't remember the name for it very well and asked, "Is that pete"?
'nough said. Photos to come soon.