Friday, June 6, 2008

Day Two - The Plane Day, Continued

Fountains Abbey, the picture of the day

It was a really long day. I don't know how anyone does this frequently, because this flight has sapped me of not only energy but almost of any interest in having energy again. It comes back to me in flashes occasionally, but for the most part, I'm just beat.

Our flight came in two hours late, so it was about 9:30 a.m. when we finally stumbled off, last ones off the plane of course because I had to crawl around to get every last toy and Lego Indiana Jones's hat from under the seats. Zack fell asleep and stayed asleep until we were landed - he got about five hours of sleep, and he ended up being the most chipper the whole day. I got scolded by the immigrations person because I only knew my parent's mailing address and not their actual address - welcome to England, I thought.

The best part about getting off the plane so late is that our luggage is already there waiting for us, along with my dad who came to pick us up. I'm glad he did, because we took a train from the airport and I was happy to just shut my brain off and go where someone told me to. Wee took one train from Manchester to Leeds, and then a second, older train to Harrogate. From there, my mom picked up me, Ryan, Darcey, and Brad and drove us 5 minutes to their house, while my dad, Noah, and Zack took a bus.

My parents have lived in Harrogate for 6 1/2 years, and the picture in my head of where they lived was basically a typical American suburb. I didn't really have another frame of reference for it, I was picturing Eldersburg (our small hometown in Maryland) just with a pub instead of Denny's. Driving through the town, though, I was stunned. This town is absolutely charming! The main street we drove down is exactly what every Main Street in America wants to be, but doesn't quite get. It's the authentic Main Street that America tries to recreate, but ours is just a fake copy. I wished my camera had been out to take pictures, but we'll go back on Day Three and walk around. I didn't know I'd be this excited for Harrogate!

We got to my parent's house and immediately invaded with all of our stuff. I hate that about visiting - feeling like I've dumped my stuff all over, and no matter how hard I try our stuff is still everywhere. Since we outnumber my parents' family 2-to-1, it's not hard to feel like we are overwhelming their house.

The day passed in a blur of napping and talking. Ryan and the boys napped on and off, I sat and talked to my family. Man, do I love talking to my family. At 6:00 I left Ryan, Noah, Brad, and Darcey (all asleep) and took Zack with my parents to my brother Tim's high school graduation. Zack had been the surprise - all day, he'd been happy as a clam, bouncing around, no naps at all and showing no sign of fatigue. Since everyone else was sleeping when we left, we took Zack with us. Naturally, he fell asleep in the car. But when we got to Fountains Abbey, where the graduation was taking place, he popped right back up and was pleasant and happy the whole time.

Fountains Abbey was built in around 1200 and it was so beautiful! It was exactly what I came to Europe to see - old, old buildings in old fields surrounded by nothing. I love this! There is no history like this in America! The East Coast has buildings that are maybe 300 years old, but in Utah and California, 100 years is a long time. This is almost a thousand years old! I don't know why, but I love this.

This picture is Fountains Abbey, off in the distance. Isn't this what you picture when you think of England?Zack was trotting down this long aisle, I joked with my brother Drew and his wife Kim that all he needs is a couple of coconuts to bang together, Monty Python style.

This is the outside of Fountains Abbey. Funny, I never saw any fountains there.

Tim, one of 22 graduates in his class. The principal mentioned a personal story with every single graduate. Never would have happened at good ol' Liberty High when I was there.

My brother Drew with Zack. My kids love their uncles.

After the graduation, there was a party up on the base, but I stayed home to finally get some sleep. Ryan had woken up Brad and Noah so that they could sleep later in the evening, so when I got home he was putting them back to bed. Darcey stayed asleep right up until the second my head hit the pillow, then she woke up screaming.

I had held the tiredness at bay the whole day, but once I let my guard down the tiredness hit me like a punch in the face. I couldn't walk in a straight line, everything felt like it was spinning. I got Darcey, let Ryan sleep for a little while, and then made him switch with me because I just couldn't handle it. He put her back down later, but at 12:30 she woke back up, screaming again. I let her cry for a few minutes but couldn't listen to it anymore and picked her up.

I decided that if you have an enemy, what you need to do is keep them awake for 32 hours, then hand them is a Sissy Screams-A-Lot doll. It's a doll that screams unless you hold it just right, with both hands, and alternate between bouncing, swaying, and patting. It needs to be held completely vertical, and if the doll ends up the slightest bit horizontal, it starts screaming again. That's the kind of torture they wouldn't even consider using at Gitmo.

It'll get better, but this just hurts!


rachel said...

I hope you get some sleep soon! What a cool High School Graduation. Mine was a bit of a circus, so I am jealous :). England looks very cool. Maybe I will get to go there someday!

Jennifer said...

Love the pictures!

Actually, they do use baby crying tapes to "practice torture" AF pilots when they're in survival training. You are now nearly qualified to be a green beret (or whatever the AF equivalent is)!