Tuesday, August 26, 2014


It is ironic that it took us leaving India for it to feel like home, but everyone, Elise and the kids included, agree that it is good to be home.

The jetlag was worse than I remembered it, even though the trip from the U.S.—as a whole—didn’t seem as long. No one slept on the ten hour flight from London to Chennai, but everyone held it together pretty well until the last 20 minutes. We landed a little after four in the morning and collected our bags. I put three gargantuan duffels and three car seats on a cart with a wobbly, uncooperative wheel, and struggled to make it out of the baggage claim.

As we stepped out into the muggy South Indian night, there was Sundar waiting for us. I wouldn’t have been surprised if he had been standing there for the last month…or at the very least for that last three hours, eagerly anticipating our return.

Though the jet lag seemed more acute, it didn’t seem to last as long for everyone. Except Elise.

Having been up all night, we got home around six in the morning. I left for work an hour later…just as everyone was going to bed. The next night I would sleep four hours and two hours the night after that, staying up with the kids. Pete was the next to kick, then Sam and finally Clem. Elise wouldn’t get quite over it until a full two weeks after our return. One night I sat up in bed and patted the empty space next to me. I snuck out between the slit in the mosquito net and found her typing away with her thumbs on her iPhone, her face framed by the neon blue gloaming coming off her screen. She glanced up at me and said, “Can’t sleep.”

We only gave Sam a week off before sending him to his first day of 1st grade. He made it all five days only because Friday is “Fun Friday” at his school. On Saturday, I asked Sam, "Do you want to take a nap?”

He shook his head.


"Do you need the rest?"

"Do I need the rest of what?"

Pete is swimming stronger than ever. He dives in just as if he were starting from blocks, pulls with one arm right into a freestyle stroke, and swims the full length of the pool. The other morning, I was giving him a submarine ride while the Doctor was swimming laps next to us. We raced the Doctor, me doing a spastic doggie-paddle with Pete on my back. We still beat the Doctor, though, and Pete took off for the other end of the pool.

I didn’t think anything of it, until I noticed Pete launching himself from the wall at the same time the Doctor started another lap. Me, Sam and Clementine all burst out laughing once we realized what Pete was doing. He was RACING the Doctor. AND HE WON!!

After swimming at the pool, I made leftover chicken noodle soup for the kids yesterday after swimming at the pool. Clementine came up to me in the kitchen and tells me, "I all soaking wet."

"What happened?"

"I got noodle water on my shirt."

"You mean the broth?"

"No! Noodle water!"

The boys have made a vocation of coveting new Legos. Instead of caving to their pleas, they have been given chores, one each for every year they have been on planet Earth, and an allowance of exactly 100 Indian rupees each week paid on Pay Day, Fridays. I've also told them we don't need to buy anymore legos when we have 15 models that are completely disassembled and need to be put back together. 

This is harder than it sounds, because every single lego brick we own has been combined into one large pile. So, we are painstakingly rebuilding all of our legos, made phenomenally difficult by the fact that we have to literally search for needles in haystacks in order to find the right piece to complete any one step. 

To make it easier we have dumped all the legos on the floor and started separating them into color-coded piles. Our new babysitter/cook, Rita, has even gotten into the spirit of things, by helping with the sorting.

It is nice to be home.  

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