2nd May 2012 – The Voyage Home
The alarm sounds, its 5 am. No luxury of snoozing the alarm and snatching a few extra minutes in the warmth and comfort of our beds. This is too important… if we miss this plane and we are in serious trouble, up the creek without a leg to stand on if you will allow me to mix my metaphors.
Dragging ourselves out of bed we rouse the children and get ourselves dressed. Outside the rain has stopped but the early morning light has not yet penetrated into the inky blackness. We cram the rest of our stuff into the bags and after dropping off the key we head up Lavender Street to the metro station to take us to the airport.
The night sky has been replaced by dawn light and we are already hot and bothered. Its just after 6 am when we descend into the bowels of the station and wait for the first train to arrive. Stepping on board we deposit our sacks in the space by the door. There is an air of excitement and happiness – we are going home!
We arrive at the airport and make our way to check-in.
The rucksacks disappear down a conveyor belt and we swiftly negotiate passport control and security and once in the departure hall we find some breakfast. Nothing special by any stretch of the imagination, but it fills a hole.
Once again we are slightly late setting off to the gate, but we jog a little and arrive in time to board. Singapore Airlines staff juggle the seating so that we are more or less together – the three boys in the centre seats with Tania across the aisle and me just in front of Tania.
All that was left to do was sit back, watch the dozens of movies and chose what we wanted to eat from the menu. The Singapore Airlines staff looked after us very well, and the food was pretty good once again. The 13 hour flight passed easily thanks to the movies and the boys even managed to get a bit of sleep in towards the end of the flight.
And so we arrive at London Heathrow, Terminal 3 at just after 15:30. Passport control has its usual crowd and we have to queue for 15 mins or so before we can finally get UK side and collect our luggage. As we exit into the terminal Tania and I search for a familiar face, another surprise for the boys.
There, beaming at us was Veronika, Tania’s mum. The boys ran crying “Mamika!” at the tops of their voices. We let them have their moment before we too could greet her joyously and in an explosion of conversation, information was bombarded in her direction from 3 excited boys and happy parents. What a pleasure to see a familiar face and to actually hold someone who had been on the other side of a Skype call for 8 months. I think that we all had tears in our eyes.
We made our way altogether to the train so we could catch our connection to Terminal 5 from where we were due to fly to Orly, Paris. I don’t think any of us could quite believe that we were back in England, it was all a little surreal.
We again checked in our baggage. Mateo had the honour of joining the check in lady so that he could press the buttons that controlled the conveyor belts. He was pleased as punch, but sometimes a little over eager – some of the bags nearly disappeared without their labels!! The nice lady did say it couldn’t actually happen, but it was mildly worrying all the same.
Through security once more and then airside we had a little time to wait before the flight was called. Ere long the wait was over and we boarded the plane for the last leg of our journey. A short hop across the channel to Paris during which Luca asked Mamika virtually every question under the sun, and we had arrived. Tania and I waited for the bags and the boys rushed through the exit to the waiting arms of Papi Jacques, Mami Sonja, Mikhael and Cha-cha.
Veronika said her goodbyes, it would not be long before we saw her again, and then we gleefully greeted Tania’s Dad and his family. It was so good to see them all again and there was the odd tear in the eye. We headed off to the waiting cars and sped our way back to their house, our home until we could find a place to live.
We had been on the road for 23 hours by the time we arrived chez Papi and we were all tired. The boys went off to bed, but we stayed up for a few hours longer with a glass of champagne to celebrate the return home.
Jet lagged, but happy we retired to bed – soft mattresses and soft pillows, luxury. So what if it was a bit colder than we were used to!
So, here we are, at Journey’s end – for South East Asia that is. Our new journey starts tomorrow as we begin a new life in France. Thank you to all of you who have followed and supported us during our 8 month journey. Stay tuned as we start our new one……