My laptop is dead / Quick thoughts on being home

Every writer’s worst nightmare happened to me on the 14 hour flight from Hong Kong to Chicago…I opened my laptop only to find it suddenly, distressingly unable to boot.  Luckily, I have an “AppleCare” protection plan, so getting my baby fixed is as simple as going to the Apple Store and dropping off the laptop.

Sadly it will be about a week to fully fix my laptop, so posting is likely to be quite light this week.  I do have access to my in-laws computers, but it’s just not the same as curling up with my laptop and babbling here on the blog.  Also–all my pictures are on the laptop.

Sigh.

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With that in mind, I want to share some quick thoughts that I may later expand on.

The flights

  • Other than it being a ridiculously long journey from one side of the planet to the other, I have to say that for the most part I had a drama-free journey.  I was very lucky in that for the most part, the people I encountered were friendly, made an effort to help me, and we were spared the “children don’t belong on planes” crowd (at least to our faces).
  • For all that Elanor is a draining child (she’s just really really really active and strong-willed) she is a truly amazing traveler.  She had a few short crying jags (usually as she was fighting sleep), but in total probably cried for less than an hour of a 30 hour journey.  She slept, she watched Elmo, she “read” her books, she played with the counting app on the iPod, we sang a few songs.  She handled the airline food far better than I did (which is to say she actually ate, and I ate food I’d brought).  She slept more than me.  I don’t know what I did to deserve this, but please let any future child(ren) also have whatever good traveler gene she inherited from Ravi.
  • The biggest potential for drama was when I had to gate check my rolling carry-on bag in Hong Kong because the plane was at capacity and the overheads were full before I got on the plane.  I use an attachment called the traveling toddler (15 usd on amazon) which attaches your car seat to a rolling carryon such that the carry-on’s wheels turn it into a pseudo-stroller.  I balance E’s bag on top of the carryon and push it like a stroller through the airports.  Gate checking my bag meant that I wouldn’t see it again until the luggage carousel after immigration at O’Hare…a very long walk from the plane.  Without the carry-on I had a sleeping 20+ lb baby, a giant car seat, a backpack and two tote bags.  And a bad back.  Luckily, the flight attendants and ground crew hooked me up with a luggage cart on the breezeway, and I just put E (in the carseat) and the totes on that.  Potential crisis averted.
  • I was also very lucky that we managed to not need the (1) spare clothes in the carry-on (2) back-up spare diapers in the carry-on (3) sippies  or (4) other assorted crap in the carry-on during the long flight.
  • The absolute worst part of the flight was when I got to the gate in Chicago and the gate attendants announced a “creeping delay” that “might result in a cancellation.”  I almost started crying…I was 2 hours from home…NO NO NO NO.  That the sky went black and a mix of rain and tiny pieces of hail were then vomited by the massive clouds didn’t help things.  Or the knowledge that there’d been an earlier cancellation.  Luckily we got into the air only an hour and a half behind schedule.
  • The gate attendant in Chicago (after I’d been traveling for 24+ hours and was out of patience for stupid people) refused to pre-board me because “families take too long to board so we don’t pre-board them.”  Would anyone like to point out the logical fallacy in that statement?  YES, families take too long to board so you start boarding them BEFORE they hold up a line of 100+ people to detach their car seat from their carry-on, put their bag away and have to be in the aisle to correctly install their car seat into the aisle seat.  Whatever…she was far outweighed by the wonderful attendants on all the flights who stopped by to say hi to E, who were very sweet about getting her milk/juice when the cart wasn’t going around, and who helped me find a solution in Chicago when my carry-on and I were separated.
  • In Hong Kong and Chicago I’d been very polite and respectful, waiting until the plane was empty to remove the car seat and reattach it to the carry-on.  In Boston, I was like “I don’t care that there aren’t any motherfucking snakes…I want OFF of this motherfucking plane.”  A fellow passenger carried two of my bags while I carried the car seat off the plane and hooked everything together on the breezeway.  I then practically RAN to baggage claim.

Time Difference

  • The first person who whines about the one hour time change in the US tonight (for daylight savings time) to me is getting it.  We are dealing with a 12 hour time inversion.
  • On Friday E woke up at 3:20am and was placated by Elmo until 5:30 when her grandmother took her.  She stayed awake until about 2pm when she crashed.  I tried to make her be awake a few times, but all that resulted in was Elanor using Kate’s lap as a bed during dinner at Bombay Mahal (Kate joined us after having dinner with her dad–I did not deny a friend dinner so I could eat).
  • Today (Saturday) she woke up at 4:45am.  We are seeing forward progress in the right direction.  Luckily she has a joint birthday party with my dear friend Aimee’s son at 3pm, and all the kids should keep her (over)stimulated enough to stay awake late enough that gaining an hour shouldn’t set our progress back…much.

BEING HOME

  • Mostly it’s weird how not weird being home is.  It feels seamless…like I fell asleep, had a weird dream about living in some crazy place called Singapore, and woke up the next morning.  I’m sure that will pass as I keep finding stuff that’s changed (what the hell happened in Davis Square?) but in general I feel completely at home here (duh…it’s home).
  • My exact words to Kate were “You should be prepared to restrain me…I want to get naked and have an orgy with Target” (my apologies to my parents and my in-laws).
  • I never thought I’d say this…but OHMYGODILOVEBABIESRUS!!!
  • I also love prices in the US.  I’m sure Kate and Curt were sick of playing the “guess how much I pay in Singapore for this” game.  Kool-aid…1.97USD…I pay 7SGD, which is 5USD in Singapore.  Just as I was over the sticker shock…I’m dealing with reverse sticker shock.
  • I don’t think I’ve ever hugged people as tightly as I’m hugging them now after not seeing them for six months.  Prepare yourselves accordingly.
  • “I’m in from Singapore, want to come meet me and do X?” is the best and most effective question EVER.  My thanks go out to Curt’s boyfriend for letting me hijack their Friday night, and to Kate for turning around and coming back to Moody Street to join us for dinner after having dinner with her dad on Moody Street.  I will do my best not to become drunk with power 🙂
  • COOL AIR, I love you.  FALL, I love you.
  • Elanor remains unconvinced that shoes are necessary in this part of the world and keeps removing them and getting cranky when I keep putting them back on her.

Stuff I miss about Singapore (I know, I didn’t expect this either!)

  • The sound proofing from the thickness of the walls.  After Sue took E yesterday morning, I could hear everything downstairs far more clearly than I’ve become used to hearing muffled sounds in Singapore when E gets up with B.
  • My helper…it’s a weird for her not to be around.  Meanwhile, she turned what I considered a week-long project into a day project out of boredom.  I may come home to find a hole polished into a window…I keep telling/txting her to relax and watch some tv but she tells me she wants to keep busy.
  • I’m blanking, but I was telling Ravi that there was something else too.

If you don’t have my US number, I put it on facebook.  You can also email me for it if you need it.

This entry was posted in Boston, Culture Shock, Flying, headdesk moments, Random Stuff, Travel, US. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to My laptop is dead / Quick thoughts on being home

  1. kierstens says:

    Welcome back to the states! I’ve noticed a couple more things on this trip back too (I’m in Denver at the moment). Namely: holy cow it’s dry! Is your skin cracking like Ccoco puffs? Secondly: Americans are so friendly! Really, I love that strangers talk to you with big goofy smiles on their faces!!!
    Enjoy !

    • Crystal says:

      I’m totally getting chapped. My lips, my skin, E’s…I’m not used to the dry air anymore.

      I noticed how friendly everyone seems… And NewEnglanders aren’t known for our warmth! It’s also nice to crack a joke and have people laugh instead of looking at you strangely.

      When do you head home?

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