Tuesday, January 15, 2008

It's a Bird... It's a Plane... No, wait, it's Jet Lag!

I feel a little bit like I’ve been chucked in a blender. I am no longer sure exactly what time zone I’m in... I tried to stay on Belize time after our return (ahead of us by 2 hours), knowing that I would then be going to England in 2 days (ahead of us by 8 hours, but 9 hours ahead for the layover in Amsterdam, then back to 8) so hoping that the net difference of 6 hours would be easier to take. Did that make even the remotest sense? I surged through while in England (I think purely on adrenaline) and slept like a log at night – average 10 hours – and managed to stay awake most nights until almost 10 pm GMT. When I returned to BC Sunday night, I got a migraine just as we were pulling into the driveway and stumbled blind up to bed. I knocked myself out with painkillers and slept 11 hours, waking at 6 am. I thought to myself – this is great; I’m already over my jet lag!!! Fast forward to 2:48 pm today when my illusions came crashing down. Mike innocently asked if I was feeling well, and I may have responded something to the effect of “the kids are a**holes”. Not that I mean that, but I seemed to be unable to censor myself at that time. Thank goodness they were out of earshot. It’s 7:30 pm now, I’m barely conscious, and I have a very long day looming at work tomorrow. Hopefully I will keep busy enough that I won’t crash until later, but the book club girls are coming over tomorrow night. I may be booting them out fairly early tomorrow!!! (Sorry in advance, ladies!)
As for our quick trip to England, all went as well as could be expected. M&D had arrived the day before Briana, Ben and I. The three of us left Vancouver Wednesday afternoon, and flew to Amsterdam. We flew in a KLM Airbus in easily the worst seats I have ever sat in my entire life. I was sitting next to two brothers from Manchester of the soccer hooligan variety. They were really funny, though, and I enjoyed chatting with them. It was a good thing we became friends, because we all ended up spooning in order to get any rest. (Note I didn’t define it as sleep, because that would have been inaccurate) The seats were sooo bad that we all had to have our legs facing the same way at once or none of us could fit. Bear in mind that none of us were over 5’9” – what would have happened if I were 6’4”? Thank goodness they had 100 movies to choose from in our personal in-flight entertainment units. After a short layover in Amsterdam, Briana, Ben, my hooligans and I all got on a short hop to Manchester. Uncle Terry and Daddy met us at the airport and we piled in for the 45 minute drive to Formby, just the other side of Liverpool. Aunty Cathy and Mummy were waiting at home for us with a cup of tea, and later we enjoyed a roast chicken dinner with potatoes and lots of vegetables. The English do love their puddings, and we were lucky enough to get a lovely lemon one before finally succumbing to sleep around 9 pm.
I slept right through to the alarm at 7:30 am, then we all scrambled to get ready before the mourning cars arrived at 9:15. We drove in a convoy to the church where Gran went for most of her life. The priest was the priest who baptized Briana, and he’d known Gran and Granddad for probably 50 years, so we were very lucky to have a personalized service. He remembered Granddad and Aunty Rita both in his sermon, and the most poignant moment for me was when he read out what Gran would have said: “Good night, and God bless.” It was as if I could hear her saying it and it was very hard to keep it together at that point. Luckily (for me) Briana crumbled first and I was only able to hold it together by consoling her. We followed the coffin out and got into our cars again, to drive a short distance to the crematorium. After another short service, the curtains closed and we all filed out. The internment was Monday, so we were unable to stay to see her buried beside Granddad and Aunty Rita, but M&D were able to be there for that. After the crematorium everyone drove to the hall we had rented. In true English tradition we all ordered a pint (never mind that it was before noon) and that was it, the liquor started flowing. My relatives have an amazing capacity for alcohol; I have never seen people drink so determinedly. I am not exaggerating in the slightest when I say they were triple-fisted. One drink in each hand, and another on the table in front of them (in case of emergency, I guess?) Thankfully there was a buffet of food, too, things like pork pies, sandwiches, sausages – basically anything that was a fatty meat or a starch of some sort. But it soaked up the booze a little although we eventually all got kicked out at 3:30 pm. Have I mentioned how cold it was? We were shivering all day – I had about 6 cups of tea to warm myself but the drafty stone buildings got the better of me anyway. We took the wake back to Uncle Terry’s where the Donnellys and Bob joined us. The Donnelly sisters are hilarious and although it was a very sad day, we also did laugh a lot. Gran had a great sense of humour so I hope she would have enjoyed it, too.
Another 10 hours sleep for me that night, and I got up to find Daddy reading the Saturday paper. The rest of the house soon stirred and M&D, Briana, Ben and I decided to head into Liverpool for a few hours. We took the train in and walked around downtown a little. I stopped at the LFC shop and picked up a jersey each for Mike and the boys, and an official soccer ball too. Uncle Terry brought Thea in to meet us at the pub for lunch (egg, chips, sausages and beans along with a pint) and then we cruised through Marks & Spencer’s. I ended up with about ten packets of cookies and cakes with no idea how to pack them home. We took the train home again and had fish and chips from the local chippee for dinner. Liverpool tied their match so we could start drinking again (!) although it was definitely lower key Saturday night. Bob came over again and brought his son Robert, who we haven’t seen in 20 years. He had his two sweet daughters with him, Sophie and Sarah, ages 4 and 6. They were very sweet and I hope they get the chance to meet my boys in May when we come over to England and Portugal. We tried to get to bed at a reasonable time since the cab was coming at 5:15 am to get us to our flight.
Briana and I woke up around 2:30 am and that was it for sleep for us. We had packed the night before, and said quick goodbyes to M&D and Uncle Terry. We got to the airport for 6 am and then had 2-1/2 hours before our flight. (Note: we saw Liverpudlians pounding the pints back at 6:30 am in the airport - shudder) We left for Amsterdam, and arrived there about an hour later. Amsterdam to Seattle was more comfortable, since Briana was on the aisle, and I was next to her with an empty seat on the other side. Ben was across the aisle from Briana and had nobody next to him. It was still almost ten hours long... by the time we got to Seattle we were wrecked. It was so hard to be so close to home and yet so far! Briana was to fly on to Victoria, so we said goodbye in Seattle. Ben and I had nearly three hours to wait in Seattle and our 5 pm flight to Vancouver was late (I was very nearly reduced to tears at that point). It was great to see the boys and Mike at the airport, and Renee had come to pick Ben up too. Ethan and Jack were very affectionate with lots of hugs and kisses for a tired Mummy.
I am happy to be home but I do need a few more looonnnnggg nights of sleep before I will be completely human again. I hope to be in a better mental state to blog about Belize soon!

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