Once I realized I was ready to go home, there really was no reason to hang around Sydney any longer. The longer I stayed, the more money I spent and I was running extremely low on funds as it was. So I searched the web and found the cheapest and soonest flight I could find. It happened to fall on Friday. This was Monday.
I booked the ticket and called my brother, who was shocked to hear I was coming home so soon but extremely excited to pick me up from the airport. We arranged for me to stay at his place in the city for several days before he would drive home for fall break, by which we would surprise my parents.
Over the next few days I couldn't write. There was too much going on inside the apartment and around my mind. I closed my bank account, paid off my debts and used up the rest of my pre-paid internet. Meanwhile, my parents were under the impression that I was flying to Perth on Friday. When they asked who I would be staying with I described them as "a middle-aged couple with a dog", little did they know I was referring to them!
As I sent my last text messages before boarding the plane and losing cell service for good, I was intrigued to read that my parents were meeting my brother and his fiance for dinner on Friday night, the day I was coming home. My brother excitedly told me everything was taken care of on his end, I just needed to get home safely!
My total flight time was relatively short compared to what Jacob, Matthew and Patricia had endured. I traveled a total of twenty-four hours to make my trip home, though it felt like much more because of the time hop my body had to endure.
I flew from Sydney to Auckland, Auckland to Houston and Houston to Oklahoma City. The first thing I saw when I got off the plane in Houston was, "DOUBLE BACON QUARTER POUNDER WITH FRIES" and just beyond that: "CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE ICE CREAM SMOOTHIE." I smiled big. Man it was great to be back in the USA.
Another great sensation was hearing both Spanish and Okie being spoken on the flight to Oklahoma. I was back with my people. Back where I belong.
After claiming my ridiculously-sized suitcase one last time, I turned around to see my brother and his fiance walking towards me. We all hugged and laughed and then Grant told me we had to hurry to meet our parents. Apparently he had been really pulling strings to make all of this work. They were still under the impression that it would just be Grant and his fiance meeting them for dinner, so my return was to be a huge surprise, just as we planned.
Grant, Faith and I drove straight to Bricktown where we met my parents at Toby Keith's Bar and Grill. I took only a few steps towards the table before my mother stood up and rand towards me with open arms. Happy tears fell gently on my shoulder as she hugged me. She was truly overwhelmed and surprised. Next I hugged my Dad who also was surprised at my arrival. Grant and I had pulled it off. They had no idea!