We made it back to American soil! Woohoo!
But first, we had a few last walks on beautiful Swiss soil. The weather was very lovely for us our last little bit.
We had lots of stuff to do, but it didn't get really stressful until the last few days, particularly the last day, when the workers were in our house whacking out walls and stuff while we were trying to carry all the last bits of our stuff out. Before that we gradually did little things, signing papers and getting them notarized, taking loads of furniture and things to different people, packing up our suitcases and last things, etc. Brett took a lot of boxes to Germany and mailed them on the second to last day, and like I said, the last few things we carried out was in a total stressed-out state, but we got it all out in the exact nick of time to sign papers and hand in the keys to our apartment, and I was very happy when that was finally done. Luckily our neighbors, Renate and Lamin helped watch kids and took some things for us.
Our second to last night, our friends Kathi and Rolf had us over for dinner. Kathi got tears in her eyes when she hugged us goodbye, and I felt sad to leave. Kathi actually looked at our apartment for us before we even got to Switzerland, and welcomed us in and took good care of us--getting the kids and I presents on all our birthdays, etc..
We had lots of goodbyes at church on Sunday too, but I didn't have my camera then. Josh and Karin Wilson came to our ward instead of the Burgdorf ward to see us a last time. Some nice friends thought ahead and gave Ethne birthday presents for her big 8th birthday.
Then on the night before our flight, we stayed at a couple's house in our ward, Doro and Michi, who fed us dinner and were so kind. Michi actually was going to New York the same day as we were flying, so he got up and went super early with us --4:30 am --to help us get luggage and kids through the airport. They are amazingly nice like that.
This is how we found Wyatt and Orrin that morning when we went in to wake them up:
So we got up at 4:30 and drove to the Zurich airport. Then we flew to Frankfurt. Then we flew across the ocean and across the United States to Las Vegas. That is a really really really long flight. Luckily Wyatt did take a pretty good nap on the floor in front of me. It was really sad though when we flew almost RIGHT over Salt Lake City and know we would just have to go back. I thought about inventing an emergency so we'd have to stop, but decided against it. It was just how crazy one-way tickets worked out as being the least expensive.
When we got to Las Vegas, it was about 11:00 pm our time, and we still had a 4-hour layover until our Southwest flight to SLC. The poor kids (and me).
We thought it was awful that we had a 4-hour layover but it was actually a good thing it ended up being so long because it took almost that whole time to go through customs, get on the shuttle and get to the other terminal that was way a town away, then get all our luggage checked in (we were thanking our lucky stars we had decided to mail half our stuff because there was no way we could have handled twice the amount of luggage we had). We had enough time to drink a jamba juice before we had to board the plane again. And we forgot that on Southwest they don't do assigned seats, so we didn't preboard, and just came on last, which meant of course there were no seats together. It didn't end up being too big of a deal - we just stuck the older kids in random places between two strangers, Talmage promptly fell asleep against the person next to him- and I think they moved one person so that Orrin could sit next to Brett, and I held Wyatt and he was so exhausted he fell asleep before the plane even took off. I was saying prayers of gratitude that his exhaustion produced sleep instead of hysteria, which sometimes happens to babies. Then it was just a short flight to SLC where we got in around 8:30, making it a good 24 hours since we'd gotten up. This is how 24 hours of traveling looks (this is the floor of the SLC airport):
We did lose our stroller, but I figure that is an easy sacrifice to the Flying gods and we didn't have any poop or vomit, so all in all, it was a pretty good flight.
Then my wonderful wonderful in-laws, Kris and Mason, picked us up and took us to their home where we crashed into bed ever so grateful that that was over and there are no plans in the foreseeable future to ever cross oceans and continents with six young kids again.
Now all we have to do is get a job somewhere, pack up, find a place to live and move there! :)