After two very...very...long days of flying and waiting, we are back in Oz. We had a wonderful time seeing all of our family and friends, and feel so blessed to have been able to take such a long time to do so much travelling. Here is a link to pictures from our adventures at home:
(You don't need to have a facebook account to see the pictures, just copy/paste the link)
The flights back were okay. The layover in LA was pretty much unbearable. 10 hours of waiting to get on a 15 hour flight is dreadful. I mean, you are dreading the 10 hours in the airport, and then on top of that, dreading the next 15 hours of wanting-to-sleep-but-having-a-hard-time-sleeping-because-airplanes-are-uncomfortable. Ben and I could barely keep our eyes open by the time we boarded in LA, and then it seemed to take FOREVER to get our dinner. All we wanted to do was sleep, but we were afraid that if we did fall asleep, they wouldn't give us food and we'd wake up starving. After we ate, we managed to pass out for a long time, although we're unsure of how long. Time warp! Melbourne was no big deal, and flying from Melbourne to Sydney was like a piece of cake! It's only about an hour and a half of flight time. Then we had about four hours to kill in Sydney. This is where the interesting part happened. Instead of booking our whole flight through, we booked Perth to Sydney and Sydney to Perth separately. It saved us a few hundred dollars, and we didn't think it would be a big deal. WRONG. Once we got to Sydney, we had to pick up our luggage and re-check it, because we had booked separately. When you fly internationally, most airlines let you check two bags per person, instead of one. We thought we might have to pay an extra fee for our extra bag (we managed to have three instead of four, whoohoo!) like $50 or $75. Worth it, because the cost of shipping is ungodly. When we got up to the desk, the girl tells us it's an extra $15 per kilo...our lightest bag weighed 18 kilos. (That's $270 for all you that are too lazy to get your calculators). She wouldn't budge. We told her we were coming from Boston (remember at this point we had been awake for about two days, were emotional from leaving home anyway, and got crappy sleep on the airplane) and could they please do anything else for us. She told us we could talk to Customer Service, but they would tell us the same thing (she said that this happens all the time). So I started crying because I was so stressed. We got to Customer Service, and talked to equally non-budging girl. We told her our situation and told her how far we'd come, and could they please just do it this one time? She finally called some guy over, and we talked to him and told him the same situation. Then they had this weird little code-y talk with each other and took us over to "Counter 1". When we told the woman at the counter our situation, she didn't even hesitate. She said, "Oh no, I'm not going to charge you guys". And really, why should we be charged? We booked one flight separately (and it was all the same airline, mind you! It's not like we were trying to get away with it and had switched to a different airline!) but we were still coming internationally. Thank God we stuck to our guns, our else we could have been almost $300 poorer.
Ben went into work at 8:30 the morning after we got back (it's okay because we were up at six anyway!) and worked a full day. He is at work today doing a big Quality thing. We are still adjusting our internal clocks, but I find it really convenient. When you are 12 hours off, you are able to choose what you want your internal clock to be like. You get to reset yourself! So my plan is to start normally waking up at 6:30ish. Instead of it being painful for me to wake up that early, I will naturally get up at that time, which will give me the extra time I'll need to get ready for my new job at the Art Gallery! (Here is my new place of employment: http://www.brag.org.au/ )
Oh yeah, I am the Audience Development Officer at the Bunbury Regional Art Gallery. It's 72 hours a fortnight (36 hours a week) and I'm on a great salary! I promote the gallery, set up events, work shops, tours, write grants and find sponsors. I'm so excited for such a different career path.
We are thinking about doing Sydney for New Years this year...will keep you all updated on adventures in Australia. Can't wait to be home for good!