My Trip Home - The Final Day
This post is part of an ongoing tale of my trip back home to Mississippi to visit my family. To start the story at the beginning, begin reading from October 30, 2007.
During my whole vacation I was hesitant to buy much. The airlines are so strict regarding how much one's checked luggage can weigh and I was worried that I'd go over. I'd bought a pair of shoes, three pairs of jeans, five t-shirts and then folks had given me things. Yarn, homemade peach preserves and a cookbook from Robin. A bunch of Cajun spices from Michele. Kara had sent me mac 'n cheese, Hellmann's and yarn. As it was I was convinced that I'd have to ship home some things so my luggage wouldn't be overweight.
When you're worried over something it's usually wise to check into it so you can be sure your worry will be worth something. So when I checked-in online for my flight I checked the weight restrictions for luggage. Two checked bags not weighing more than 50 pounds each.
Craaaaaappp! I could have bought more stuff! I could have bought a lot more stuff! I had a lot of money leftover!
Too late. Looks like Miss Virginia would be the recipient of my leftover American dollars that aren't worth the bother of turning them back into Euros.
On Saturday morning I got all my things packed and had to say goodbye to Sam. He was leaving to go to Memphis with some friends to see his first rock concert. He was so excited to be going to this concert I am not sure he really realized I was leaving for good. Afterwards I took the car back into town to visit Mama one last time.
Each time I say goodbye to my mother I think it's the last time. So far I've been wrong but each goodbye does take me closer to the time it really will be the last time. And this time felt more final than other times. Every trip back home is more difficult for me to accomplish and I'm afraid that this truly may be the final time I can pull off the trick. Still when it was time for me to go I tried to be upbeat. Mama walked me outside and I hugged and kissed her for the final time. "Don't start crying!", she said. "You know that's not good!".
Too late. I tried to swallow it all down but I wasn't successful.
I waved goodbye as I got in the car and when I drove off I forced myself not to look in the mirror. By the time I reached Sister's house Mama had already called her in tears. Maybe she was worried it really was the final time too.
I had to be dropped off at the airport a little early since Sister and my BIL had a dinner party to attend that evening. I sometimes think she likes to rush me out of the car and into the airport so we don't get into some long, drawn out, tear filled farewell. Still I couldn't stop the tears even though she and her family do come see me. I get to see them usually every other year.
I was there by 4:15pm and my flight wasn't until 7:00pm. I checked in my well-under-the-weight-limit luggage and then couldn't decide what to do next. I knew that once I went through security I wouldn't have any fresh air until I landed in Amsterdam, about 13 hours from then, but the non-secure side of the airport doesn't have anything of much interest. I sat outside for a while until the diesel fumes of the shuttle vans threatened to choke me and then I resigned myself to head through security. At least there would be shops and restaurants.
The only time I went into a bookstore while in America was when I was leaving it. I'd been afraid to buy books because of the luggage weight issue so I just didn't bother with the temptation. I found a book, bought it and now I think I should have bought more. I still have American money left over, even now. I stopped and had some supper and then headed to the gate where I sat for a good hour and a half.
I'd selected a great seat for the flight to Amsterdam. On the aisle with no seat in front of me. Lots of leg room! Unfortunately I'd selected a seat that was next to a 300 pound man with an upper body that went well out of bounds of his seat. He was a nice enough fellow but I suppose he's either not flown much or thought somehow that flights to Europe look like the ones you see in the movies but he seemed genuinely surprised and not just a bit annoyed that he was crammed into a narrow seat with no legroom. Welcome to economy class, my friend - next time book business class!
I spent the next 8 1/2 hours sitting with my upper body crooked sideways to accommodate his bulky shoulders and arms. I suppose I could have been cranky and told him to stop touching me and to keep his big ass body over on the side of the seat that he paid for instead of invading my in-flight real estate but I figured the misery of sitting next to someone I've royally pissed off would be worse.
I didn't get any sleep on that flight and ended up watching more movies. La Vie en Rose was wonderful but I love Edith Piaf anyway. Did you know she was a knitter? Fabulous singer and a knitter! By the way, that's another thing I never did while I was in America. I never went to the movies. Simply no time.
When our flight landed I said goodbye to my husky seatmate and his wife (and resisted the temptation to ask why he didn't lay the hell all over her side during the flight), grabbed my stuff, hustled into the airport for...what? Nothing. I had a 4 hour layover and I was exhausted. I called B to let him know I was back in Europe and I'd call him again once I was boarding the plane to Hannover so Gerd could be sent on his merry way to pick me up.
I was so tired. By now I'd been awake about 19 hours and I still had a good 12 hours to go before I could entertain going to sleep. The airport was crowded and it was even hard to find a quiet place to cool my heels for a while. I was about half scared to close my eyes anyway. I was afraid that I would fall asleep and miss my flight and I hadn't come this far to not make it back to Magdeburg.
When my flight to Hannover landed I grabbed my bags in record time and got out to the waiting area just as Gerd walked in. By now I was almost staggering from exhaustion but it didn't prevent me from having the shit scared out of me by Gerd's driving.
Once we parked in front of my apartment building I left the bags with Gerd and ran inside. This was longest I'd been separated from B since I moved to Germany and I couldn't be apart from him another minute. I was literally throwing off my jacket and tossing down my purse as I burst through the door and I was greeted by the most wonderful smile in the world and the best kisses.
Home at last.