I won’t even pretend that I knew/know what time we arrived.
I do know that we got stopped by immigration coming in because- AGAIN – they couldn’t find X in the system. A very helpful officer led us to another desk, checked the email attachments I had saved on my phone, and told us that the Visa office had mis-entered X’s passport number. That’s why the attendant at JFK hadn’t been able to find it. I sent him a mind-message of thanks for giving us the benefit of the doubt and pushing us through anyway.
We cleared customs and gathered our boxes- most of which had been ripped, opened and searched, or crushed in transit. As it was such a huge load, we were instructed to wheel our trolleys over to a green line set apart from other arrivals and await the sniffer dog. A sleek black pup nosed its way across our things, pausing a few times, but never sitting down. I breathed a sigh of relief. I was pretty sure I hadn’t packed anything suspect, but I have a deep-seated fear of K-9 units (long story for another time).
Merv, our Rotary host counselor was awaiting us just outside the doors. I recognized him from his Facebook photos and our one, spotty, Skype session.
Throughout our journey, I had been having periodic episodes of “Holy shit, this is actually happening!!!” It still felt gauzy- this idea that we were actually moving to Australia. The sight of Merv, though, set it firm. My eyes stung with tears of gratitude.
We exited the airport into gorgeous 75º sunshine and breezes. We loaded up the truck and trailer that Merv had brought to collect us, and headed for our AirBnB.
Scott met us outside the door of our temporary home. Merv took off to return the trailer, and give us some time to collect ourselves before picking us back up for a tour around the city. We took turns showering and wandering around the garden behind the house.
O pointed out a papaya tree, several birds making unusual (to us) sounds, and a GIGANTIC spider. X flushed the toilet repeatedly to see if it really did swirl the opposite way. It does.
Merv returned and drove us around some. I tried to memorize street names and landmarks but, after all the travel, my brain was just mush. We agreed to meet again the following morning at 9am.
B, X, O and I walked to a nearby grocery store, bought a few things and came home to collapse in a heap.