The Longest Days and the Shortest Nights

Wednesday, October 26, 2016
Huntsville, Alabama, United States
As I'm writing this final entry for this trip, we haven't yet unpacked anything except a few essentials like toothbrushes and toothpaste. It's currently the next day, but there was no time on our eight hour flight yesterday to write since I was busy catching up on movies. I know it's a poor excuse, but it's just usually what happens when I am stuck in one chair for such a long time and there are so many free movies right at my finger tips.

Yesterday (the 26th of October) was the longest day . And the night of sleep that followed, although sufficient, seemed way too short. We started our day struggling to pull ourselves out of the most comfortable bed we have slept on for a while. Breakfast came early. It was our final Swedish style meal made of bread, some slices of meat and cheese, a few veggies thrown in there, and some other odds and ends including delicious peanut butter and an okay cappuccino (I was spoiled in Italy). We ate, we dressed, we packed, we headed for the bus, and then proceeded to run around in the airport trying to find an open ticket counter since my boarding pass wouldn't print. What a way to start. Overall, we had only a few challenges in the trip home. The biggest one was trying to stay awake the entire 24 hour period we were en route to Huntsville. The idea was to be as tired as possible when we got home that we would sleep the whole night through and wake up back on our regular time schedule. So far so good!

Once we cleared security, our first task was to suit and wait ...this is how it works when you travel...hurry up and get there so you can sit and wait before you have to sit down again for many more hours. I don't like sitting before I have to sit so I walk in airports. I paced for a while trying to figure out what to spend our last few Swedish Kronor on, which turned out to be a cappuccino and some sparkling juice - both ironically Italian. The plane was on time and we headed off to Amsterdam. The process for leaving Europe was simple enough when we arrived in the Netherlands. It was a shame we were only there for an hour or so. Just king enough to clear customs, get a coffee, find the restroom, and check our emails. Goodbye Europe! Hello long plane ride...the only redeeming value of which is multiple meals and snacks, free movies, and beverages to enjoy. Plus we had four seats between the two of us!

Home sweet USA! The world is a troubling and beautiful place and I live to see the beautiful aspects of it. No matter where we go, it always feels right to be headed home . Atlanta was the closest we'd been for a while, but it just meant one more leg to go. Turns out it might have been faster to drive the three hours to Huntsville than it was getting on our 45 minute flight. I don't actually recall how long the flight was, but I do remember reading ourselves through customs, climbing on the train to find out gate, and getting there only to find out our flight was going to be loading later than it was supposed to. We decided to go for late night burritos. It actually was around dinner time (or supper as the case may be) but I think our stomachs were past that point. Maybe it was delirium. We sat on the carpeted floor near our gate to eat our burritos and avoid the blaring televisions that prevented anyone near them from hearing announcements about our flight. A desk attendant informed us of a possible delay. Then the captain got on the mic and laid it out straight for us. Our plane stank like wet dog. A new motor (he didn't say what sort of motor) had to be installed and we would most likely be moving gates to where a different plane would be landing.

Officially it was time to board but we were still an hour out from that. The lady at the desk, Yolanda, wanted to liven things up for us so she played a little game. She called out various items that people may have had, from an October birthday to a particular shade of nail polish to a disposable razor. She called out, "Does anybody have a copy of the Bible? Not digital, like on your phone or tablets. A hard copy." You'll never guess who happened to have one of those, in fact the only person in that particular holding area with one. I pulled it out of my bag, walked it up to the desk, and returned to my spot on the floor with two vouchers for a free beverage or a headset. We ended up not using our vouchers because the flight was very short and no official beverage service was provided. Plus I didn't want to cause anyone any heartache or annoyance after a slight further delay because one guy was sitting in my seat by accident and then the catering truck was delayed by the TSA.

We landed in Huntsville, grabbed our luggage, caught a cab, and stumbled into our apartment. It was late, but not that late, but it felt that late. We didn't care any more. We were going to bed. And that became the most comfortable bed we had slept on in a while.
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