For those of you who don’t know, the Daileys are back in Bellingham. In fact, we have been back for almost two weeks now. Looking at the blog, I see that our last post was on Switzerland, which now seems like months ago. Let me fill you in on our remaining time in Germany and our trek home….
After Switzerland, we took a train (three trains, actually) to Ramstein, Germany. There is a U.S. Air Force Base in Ramstein that typically has a number of flights back to the states each week. Before we even tried for a flight, however, we had some housekeeping to do. When we left the U.S., Ray was still considered active duty, but as of October 1, he was officially retired and we all had to get new IDs to reflect the change. This also meant that we dropped to the bottom of the list for Space A priority, but we hoped to be well ahead of the active duty, spring break crowds that retirees avoid like the plague.
We also made a short trip north to Hanover to see our host daughter, Jula. Jula spent her sophomore year with us 3 years ago. She is now in her final days of her senior year. We spent the morning wandering around the city and learning a little more about Jula’s hometown. It was so much fun to see her again and we hope to get back to Germany to visit again soon… hopefully when the weather is a little warmer!
Once we were back on base, we rented an apartment for 5 days and prepared ourselves for the mile walk to the terminal and back until we could catch a flight out. As luck would have it though, we still had our rental car for 2 days and got to drive instead of walk. On our last day with the car, we made it out in the early afternoon and landed at McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey Monday evening, just missing a hop to McChord (AFB just south of Seattle).
Although we were practically sleep walking, we found a car to take us the 45 miles to Philadelphia, made a hotel reservation, and booked commercial tickets to Seattle for 5 a.m. the next morning. We fell into bed fully clothed and exhausted at 10 p.m. and woke at 2 a.m. to start the final leg home. We could have opted for a 5 p.m. flight rather than a 5 a.m. flight, but we were all anxious to get back and, after a short layover in Chicago, we reached Seattle by 12 p.m. Tuesday. Ray’s mom (the only person we told we were home) picked us up and returned us safely to Bellingham.
And here we are… 215 days, 16 countries, and 40,711 miles later.
We are slowly adjusting… trying to figure out work and school schedules, cooking our own meals, driving a car, not having a new adventure every day. It is going to take some time. There are some definite positive points to being home, but there are also some negatives. It will be interesting to see how the trip has impacted all of us as we adjust to our new life back home.
When I am a little more settled, I plan to look back at posts from the beginning of the trip and compare what we had planned to what actually happened on the trip and how that has impacted our return. I also plan to do a little FAQ. If you have any questions that you would like me to address, please let me know.