A Surprise Homecoming

At three in the morning on Saturday, January 12 in Sydney, I booked a flight home. My flight left at 11:55 on Saturday, January 12. So yeah, I gave myself eight hours to sleep, pack and get myself to the airport. It was all standby so I was lucky to get on both flights home: Sydney – Los Angeles and Los Angeles – New York.

This was all possible thanks to my friend Kylie. She works for an airline and put me on her staff travel. This means that I can travel on on several airlines for about a quarter of normal prices. I had actually booked a flight home for Christmas from Indonesia, which was $1100 but quickly realized I couldn’t afford that and a $1500 flight to get back around the world to Australia. On staff travel I paid less than $800 to fly Business class from Sydney to New York and New York to Melbourne.

So anyway, I arrived in NYC on Saturday evening and crashed at my friend Mel’s place (the only person I told I was coming home). She called Charis and Lau to come over and we had fajitas and lots of wine!

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Mel, Charis, Lau, Alex ~ Charis, Lau, Mel

The next few days were a blur due to the extreme jetlag and the mixture of PBRs with Jameson. Ugh!

I showed up at my old school on Monday (after NO sleep!) and surprised everyone. Between running around saying hi to everyone and administering some assessments (that time of the year again?!) the day flew by. A bunch of us grabbed dinner and drinks after and I was back to school the next day. It was so fun getting to see all my friends and also all my old students. They have all grown so much and are all doing so well.

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Top row: Santos, Pamleberry, Kohm

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Henderson, Kim, Yang, Mack, Mary, Alex, Jax, Mel, Alison

I booked a train ticket to Albany on Wednesday but ended up changing it to Tuesday because I couldn’t wait to get home to see my family and especially Gemma! No one at home knew I was coming home except a dear friend Silvia who I texted Monday night to see if she could pick me up at the train station. She brought me to my family’s restaurant where I was hoping at least someone would be there! I walked in behind Silvia because my dad happened to be sitting right in front of the glass door. I think he did a quadruple take before saying “Get the fu*k out of here!” about ten times. Then my brother came and hugged me all while I still had Hugo on my back in a very busy restaurant. I didn’t understand what my brother was trying to say at the time but basically that my mom was at this house with Carolyn and Gemma. So my dad drove me over to the house where I got to surprise them too. They thought it was just my dad but then I pooped out and said, “Hiiiii!!!!!!” The looks were great and I wish I recorded it! The best part was that I finally got to meet Gemma! I was glad she was still awake because I was a little worried she would be sleeping already! She was so perfect! She looks blonde in our first picture together, which is kind of funny!

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Nick came home a little later with some food and we all enjoyed dinner! I was still out of it from the jetlag (worst I have ever had). After dinner I went back to my parents’ house where I got to see my cat Charlotte! She is so cute! And she remembered me! 🙂

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Charlotte, Tarla, Party Girl

I happed to come home just in time for the Wine and Dine Event. What a coincidence! 😉 I joked that I went from backpacker chic to socialite sleek. Some highlights from the weekend!

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Top left: with Silvia; Big: My parents! ;); Other 3 photos by T.R. Laz

I spent the next few weeks catching up with family and friends, babysitting Gemma and spinning at The Revolution.

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Top row: Aunt Lynn with Gemmy, Ryder, Ryhan
Bottom: Fusco clan!!

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New York State Museum with my girls (Jess, Chell, Tiff, Britt & Kris) and their little men (Nico & Mason)! And the little bump is Rylee! 🙂

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Chell’s baby Nico and Britt’s baby Mason!

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Pam, Vicki, Alex

My mom even made a Thanksgiving dinner that she promised for me when I came home. Many important people were there, not to mention the delicious food!

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“Thanksgiving”: With Britt and Tiff; Yono & Gemma, SISTERS!! with Gemma

I decided I wanted to go back to Australia by the February 12th since that would be a month. I knew the longer I stayed the harder it would be to leave again. I cried when I said goodbye to Gemma and I knew it would only get worse. So I sucked it up and booked my ticket for Monday on Saturday. The procrastinator that I am, I didn’t start packing until about 9am on Monday morning when I had a 12pm train from Albany to New York. I did however clean and organize a bit a few nights before but never had a chance to really go through the stuff I needed. I barely finished, took a quick shower and was out the door with minutes to spare.

I got to Penn Station and grabbed some last minute things at Kmart before meeting my friend Sofia for a quick coffee. I took the LIRR to the AirTrain to JFK which was very easy and got me to JFK just in time. I was worried I wouldn’t get on the flight since it is standby but they put me on right away and I even got Business. Which meant I got to hang in the Business lounge. I have been to a few lounges but this topped them all! I strode in with my backpack and $12 Walmart purse to a land of amazingness. A self-serve bar of wine, spirits and even bloody mary mix. There was plenty of cheese and crackers, granola bars, sandwiches and even a huge bowl of M&Ms. Because of my new fear of flying, I downed a few glasses of Shiraz with my snacks. My new friend Ganesh hooked me up with a huge cup of M&Ms and an US Weekly to take with me on the plane. What a guy! And don’t you even think for a second that I didn’t stuff granola bars, cookies, and chips in my Walmart purse before leaving that lounge!

This has been the longest travel day I’ve ever had. Even more than on the way home because I had to start from Albany. I left at 12pm on Monday and now it’s 5pm on Tuesday in Albany and 9am on Wednesday in Melbourne. I did sleep a bit on the plane so I’m hoping that it will just seem like a normal night of sleep and waking up the next day (even though it’s two days later).

I’ll be staying at The Nunnery, which looked very swanky and is located in a neighborhood that apparently has a lot of Italians. Sounds good to me! My friend Mimi (the girl we picked up in Albania and took to Israel and Turkey with us) will be meeting me there as well. Then on Thursday we will meet up with Jax and her friend Briana. I went from no Valentine to three! Lucky me! 🙂

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One response to “A Surprise Homecoming

  1. Awesome Alex!! I wondered why I had no advance notice of your homecoming! Now I know why! Lol 🙂 it was great to see you, wish I was there traveling with you, looks like a BLAST!!!!! You better make it home for my wedding October 5th or better yet the bachelorette party and shower in August (no definite dates yet) Love you!!!! Have fun!!!! Xoxoxox 🙂

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