I’M ON AMERICAN SOIL!
The journey here was excruciating. My flight left The Country 2 hours late, 1 hour which involved sitting on the runway with no clue what was going on, then 15+ hours to Chicago O’Hare. I missed my connecting flight in Chicago due to leaving The Country so late, but J, being the angel that he is, was able to get me on the following flight, which OF COURSE was delayed (for weather). It seems that at O’Hare, my flight WILL ALWAYS. ALWAYS. ALWAYS. BE DELAYED FOR SOME REASON OR ANOTHER AND I JUST CAN’T SEEM TO SPEND LESS THAN 4 HOURS IN THAT AIRPORT. So, I mulled around the airport for FIVE HOURS, picking up a copy of John C. Parkin’s F**k It: The Ultimate Spiritual Way, before spending 1 1/2 hours in the Pringles can that brought me to KC.
BUT I MADE IT.
With 5 hours remaining on the 15+ hour flight, I decided to watch a Bollywood movie. Bollywood movies are pretty awesome for multiple reasons, mainly because they always have a happy ending and the spontaneous singing and dancing is really amusing. Also, they tend to last 2-3 hours, which is great when you are trying to burn up time on a ridiculously long flight. According to one of my Indian drivers, “English movies are TOO FAST!” So, I spent a solid 168 minutes watching Shah Rukh Khan do what he does best in Phir Bhi Dil Ha Hindustani. It’s not a Hindi movie I’d recommend to Bollywood newbies, but it helped pass the time.
I met some cool single serving friends on the way. One was a 50-something year old lady who either had amazing genes or a very talented surgeon. She was my “seat mate” on the long flight. She’s a fellow American who has been living in various Middle Eastern countries with her petroleum engineer husband for the last 15 or so years. We talked about our American pets and our expat pets, the wrath of student loans, and swapped travel stories. I love travel stories. We agreed expat life is pretty awesome, even if it’s hard to grow vegetables in the desert.
I met another lady while waiting for the KC flight, a native Texan who (unhappily) wound up in Kansas. She was so intrigued by life in The Country. She and an older gentlemen nearby had all kinds of questions about living in the Middle East. Can we drink alcohol there? Is it safe? Do they hate Americans? Yes, yes, and no, they love Americans. I explained to them how many of my local students at the tutoring center have probably seen more of America than I have. I find peoples’ reactions to the no-pork rules especially hilarious. How much bacon do people really eat?!
My parents very graciously took me to Taco Bell on our way to their house from the airport, even though it was almost midnight. I was SO EXCITED to get my usual: 2 volcano tacos, beans instead of beef, no cheese. Much to my dismay, TACO BELL DOES NOT HAVE VOLCANO TACOS ANY MORE?!?!?! BUT!! They do still have the “lava sauce”: that deliciously spicy GMO goo that really made a volcano taco a volcano taco. I ordered 2 crispy tacos, hold the red dye, with lots of lava goodness and enjoyed it just the same as the ol’ VT.
This morning, I woke up and split some toast with Penelope. It always amazes me that she remembers our toast ritual, even when I’m gone for a few months at a time. Every time, as soon as the toast pops up from the toaster and I start to butter it, she starts twirling around in puffy, pomeranian excitement. She knows. Then, when I say “DOWN!” she lies flat on the floor, then gobbles up the crust pieces while I eat the rest. It’s our thing. It’s good to be home.