Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Repatriated Routine

The boys are home. They arrived after 36 hours of travel and processing.

Repatriation is a dicey business when living overseas as a Department of Defense dependent. The boys had to have orders that authorized their travel. Multiple forms were completed, reviewed, and completed again. Security checks were done at multiple points, and finally they boarded a plane filled with other dependents, most of which were under age 10. Also on board were 60 family pets and 46 baby strollers.

The evacuees flew to Denver Colorado, where they disembarked into a hanger and were processed again for their connecting flights. At the hanger representatives from the American Red Cross, the USO and Military members from local bases handed out snacks, carried bags, and assisted weary travelers. I heard one story of a full bird Colonel who walked one dog after the other so they could "do their business." Soldiers bounced babies, and played with young kids while parents napped, and a Sergeant-Major changed diapers. My younger son received a hand knit hat from a member of the USO and bags of snacks.

Finally, after another eight hours of processing they were able to get on their connecting flight that would bring them home.

They miss Japan. They miss the culture and the food, their friends and the routine they have become accustomed to. Now we have a new routine: I pamper the boys and makes all their favorite foods. They do about 3 hours of homework a day, catch up on American TV and talk to their friends online. We all go for walks on local trails, do housework, run errands and try to simulate some temporary form of normal.

I like having them here, but they can't wait to get back to Japan.

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