We arrived back at our home after 28 hours of travel.
The girls were good on the flights. Elena acted up a little, but we still received many compliments from people on how well-behaved she was and how she was the best baby and didn't cry and so forth.
The comment we heard most about Juliana - "wait, you have TWO babies?" She slept practically the entire day.
Lufthansa airlines wins "Best Airline" award for us. The in-flight food was delicious, they provided us with two bassinets for the babies (which helped immensely), hot washcloths, and stuffed airplane plushies for the girls. Lufthansa employees also boarded us first in Munich. In Kiev, at the start of our trip, everyone else shoved ahead of us and Lufthansa employees forced a break in the line for us (which was great, because it was freezing and raining and we were carrying babies).
The airport in DC was horrible. We only had 90 minutes to get to the main terminal, go through passport control, get our luggage, go through customs, go through security, get to the new terminal, and board the flight. If we had not broken in line in front of 500 people (yes, we got permission from UA) at the security screening, we would never have made it to the plane in time. The designers of the DC airport apparently received kickbacks from the people who make escalators. Ride an escalator up, walk a bit, ride another one down, walk a bit, up, walk, up, walk, ride down. This is very difficult to do when dragging a cart with luggage. We were either running like a squirrel as fast as we could (carrying the girls) or standing in a huge line. When we finally made it to our gate, the plane was boarding.... and overbooked. The ticket agent had our information pulled up, but was not paying attention to us. He asked over the PA system if there were three volunteers to give up their seats. He was boarding people from two flights and said nothing helpful to us. Kelly was in tears at this point. Finally everyone else boarded and he called the passenger's names who were not present. There were our openings - the three people did not show up. We ran and ran down a covered sidewalk and boarded the plane a couple minutes before takeoff.
Kelly's family and my family met us at the airport to welcome us home. It is so good to be here again.
We all went to Ruby Tuesday's for dinner. It was good to have a real salad and a real hamburger again. It was good to read a menu in English again. It was good to have free refills on drinks again. It was good to have ice in our drinks. AND it was VERY GOOD that we were able to eat without cigarette smoke polluting the place.
After dinner was a three hour drive back to Chattanooga. We rode, family drove. Neither of us was in any shape to drive.
It is like waking up from a long dream or visiting a forgotten place from childhood. I wandered through the house - I found that my motor memory of where the light switches were located had faded. I had to hunt for the switches. It was like a dream, though - I remember this place. The pantry is full of food that is labeled in English. We can drink water out of the tap and it won't kill us. The water is clear and not yellow.
The dog seemed very excited to see us again. It was so wonderful to sleep in our own bed again. It has been a long journey. Thank you all for your support.
More updates will follow.