Welcome to America

I’m back in the States!

Sorry posting has been so sporadic (use it in a sentence!) as of late, but I couldn’t mention the overall arc of my trip because it was a total Christmas surprise to my mom.

The trip back was surprisingly smooth, as I took the time to review the United website before actually catching my flight and found out all the restrictions/issues etc. I checked in online and paid for my second checked bag – all before I got to the airport! Wahnderful, especially since the last time I took an international trip I was fined 300USD for my bags being overweight. That sucked.

When I arrived in the waiting area in Zürich the first people I saw were a bunch of overweight older guys wearing cowboy hats. A woman behind them talked loudly about the features of her iPad and of buying her husband a baseball mitt shaped cover for his for Christmas. Nice. I was really worried I’d be sitting next to one of them for the nine hours over, but ended up next to a young woman about my age.

Whenever I fly I always check to make sure there is at least one baby on board. I hate flying (it freaks me out) and I figure I have a better chance of being spared by the Universe if there’s an infant/toddler also trying to make it home on my plane. The day I’m put on a plane with the Retired People Who Love Traveling club is the day you’ll see me on the news as “Man Runs Out of Plane, full story at 11.”

I was reading an article about morality police in Iran while sitting in the Dulles waiting area as the guy across from me discussed remodeling his kitchen with someone. The news being piped in brought a story of another clash between Church vs. State, over a Nativity scene. “If they don’t like it here, they should just leave,” says a deeply accented woman. Yes, I’m in America. The flight into Dulles had had a shaky landing (so shaky I thought I would puke), and as we prepared for takeoff the captain’s voice came over the loudspeaker to let us know it was “windy up there” and we’d have a bumpy flight. Oh, good. For about a minute as we were ascending I calmed down and sort of felt like Kiki in that one scene in Kiki’s Delivery Service when she’s flying out to wherever with Gigi and then a thunderstorm hits and I was like, “Kiki made it!” and then the plane dipped and I lost that. Looking around the cabin I didn’t see anyone else who seemed so sure we were all possibly doomed for. I held on for dear life.

But now I’m back in Charlottesville and I’ll be getting around to posting the rest of my Europe trip soon! So soon! It’ll be fun, so stay tuned.

P.S. That includes the last of Paris, Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Berlin, fyi.

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Friends In Other Places

And now for a brief break from Hangzhou-pallooza…

My friends Meredyth and Ashley have set out on a cross-country (U.S.) road trip and started a blog to document it all, 3901 Miles. They’ve also got a cool postcard thing they’re brave enough to be doing, so if you realize they’re stopping in your town you could ask them to drop by and give you one (for more about how that works and to make sense of it you can read their blog). Meredyth is going to be teaching in Malaysia on a Fulbright starting this winter, so if and when she starts a blog about that experience I’ll be sure to link to it here as well!

Also, my friend Annie is starting her own overseas adventure in Granada, Spain, where she’ll be teaching English to the lil’ Spaniards. She’s just started blogging – linkage is available to your right.

Last but not least, while we’re on this thread, I’ve added a bunch of sharing buttons to the bottom of each post so you can more easily spread your appreciation for my cunning wit (read: off-color jokes) and incisive political observations (read: pictures). Yay!