I have made it in one piece to a rainy San Francisco Bay Area. After celebrating Michelle's birthday on Wednesday night, I was up late packing and strategizing how much to bring home (I plan to do a lot of shopping while here). The whole flight day was a bit rushed because the taxi took forever to arrive, and I had extensive security screenings in Melbourne- metal detector, customs, thorough carry-on bag inspection, and then a pat down search! The flight up to Sydney was short and sweet and we deplaned right into the gate area for the San Francisco flight. I couldn't leave the gate since I would face a repeat of the security checks listed above.
About a half hour later I was back on the plane for the 12 1/2 hour flight to SF. As expected at this time of year, the flight was full. We had some potentially bad turbulent patches (you tend to get a bit nervous when the pilot asks the flight attendants to strap in), but the pilot flew around the severe thunderstorms over the Pacific the best he could. We arrived early and I made it through customs without being searched. Unfortunately, I forgot to exchange my Aussie dollars for US money and didn't realize until after I was on the Airporter. Thankfully, my Dad came to pick me up and was able to pay for me. ;-) I'm tired and ready for bed as it has been a really long day. It doesn't feel that weird to be home, but I am finding hearing all the American accents to be a bit jarring.