Hello. I am blogging at you once again from Jenworld and not some lovely location across the Atlantic. Our trip home was, for the most part, uneventful. We made it to Heathrow without any difficulties, checked our suitcases (the same number we arrived with and not more), and grabbed some coffee and hot chocolate to sip on while we waited to board. The flight left on time and was pretty easy the whole way.
That said, our final descent before landing was hairy. The plane bucked up and down like the Vomit Comet, which caused me to grip an armrest and Pete’s hand very tightly. I also scrunched my face up to the point that my mouth and eyebrows met in the vicinity of my nose. And, in the midst of all this, I was balancing an open barf bag on my lap. I’ve got skills, yo.
There’s a reason why I rarely go to amusement parks with my family and it’s the fact that I don’t like rides that are spinny, flippy, twisty, turny, uppy, downy, and so forth. I most definitely do not like that funny feeling my stomach gets when it feels like I’m weightless (in terms of gravity, not in terms of my very own weight; I’d like to feel light as a feather all the time). So to say that I was unhappy during this part of our journey is an understatement.
I’m sure you’re thinking that I’m overstating things a bit and that the descent through the cloud cover wasn’t all that bad, so let me give you two illustrative examples of how wild it was. First of all, the guy across the aisle from us actually used his barf bag (repeatedly) for its intended purpose (as opposed to, say, making puppets or filling it with miscellaneous trash), which meant that I was trying to calm my stomach while the scent of fresh vomit wafted up into my nose. Second, after we landed and finally escaped our metal torture chamber, there was a paramedic waiting outside the plane’s door to come in and assist a passenger.
Believe it or not, this was only my second worst flying experience ever; the first one being the time we flew back from Houston and hit turbulence so bad that I truly thought we were going to die. But we didn’t die then or yesterday, so that’s good.
We got off the plane, went through passport control, gathered our suitcases, and then went through customs. Here’s some advice for you: If you ever visit England and step foot on even a tiny bit of grass, don’t mention that on your customs declaration form, because you WILL be pulled aside for a mini interrogation regarding your activities out in the countryside. And, it’s also wise to warn any children you might be traveling with NOT to speak at all during this non-waterboarding event and also not to mention that there were chickens at the country-ish home you visited. No, really, it’s best to just say that you were always in a very urban setting, where grass doesn’t even grow, much less harbor Mad Cow, and that you didn’t even think about animals, much less encounter any.
Also, when the customs officials ask you if you have any food in your carry-on bags or checked luggage, they are really only interested in if you’re trying to smuggle in meat or fresh produce. They are not interested in the bags of French and British Easter candy that you’re trying to discreetly bring into the U.S. in an attempt to help out the Easter Bunny, who will be arriving 12 days later. So there’s really no need to mention cocoa products to the uniformed officers who have the power to make your re-entry to your native land more difficult than necessary. Luckily, other than an extra screening, it wasn’t too difficult to claim our citizenship and enter our country, but it was a hassle we didn’t appreciate after a long day of traveling, with more to come. (And yes, I know that they’re just doing their jobs, blah blah blah.)
After all that, we finally got back to our car, whereupon Elegant fell asleep approximately 17 seconds after fastening her seatbelt. It was 6:15 EST, which meant it was 11:15 GMT (a.k.a. our internal clocks). Unfortunately, we had a two hour drive home, which was made a bit longer by the rather large storm we encountered 30 minutes from Jenworld. If Pete (the driver) was feeling a bit sleepy, he certainly jerked to attention with the first lightening crash and all the subsequent ones, not to mention the almost total lack of visibility due to the heavy curtain of rain pounding down from above.
At this point, I’d just like to mention that it was sunny and in the 60s when we left London and rainy and in the 50s when we landed in DC. Between the rough landing and the rough weather, I really think that Mother Nature believes deep within her windy heart that we should have stayed longer in the home of Cadbury’s chocolate, really terrific professional football (a.k.a. soccer), steak and ale pies, free-flowing cups of tea, Colin Firth, and the Royal Family.
Once we got home, I started sorting laundry, which took me 15 minutes. Then again, it was 12 days’ worth, so I shouldn’t have been at all surprised. I managed to get one load washed and in the dryer and another load in the dryer before collapsing in bed at 11 (or, 4 a.m. GMT).
Usually, when we fly east to west, I’m awake by 5 a.m. the first day, followed shortly thereafter by the girls, then later on Pete. Today, I woke up at 4, but was able to go back to sleep until 6:15, which is our usual week day wake up anyway. It turns out that Graceful woke up at 5 and Elegant at 6:15, then Pete by 6:30. So that wasn’t too bad. We picked up milk on the way home last night, so we can eat a normal breakfast before I go invade Whole Foods with a rather lengthy shopping list. The girls are home today so that they can acclimate, so at least we didn’t have to face a school day on top of everything else.
So on that note, I’m going to sign off for now. I have loads of stuff to sort through, including the goodies I bought for next week’s blog giveaway, plus I need to stash the Easter candy and deal with the shopping bag of Boden clothes the girls got. While I am happy to be able to sleep in my own bed again and have more than just a small assortment of clothes and shoes to choose from, I will admit that I am sad our vacation is over.
Happy Wednesday everyone!
I so loved seeing you.
It’s good to be home! So glad you all had a fab time.
We have all enjoyed your trip. Today is for relaxing.
A few thoughts:
1. Turbulence - how awful! I’m a terrible flyer, and am seriously considering asking my doctor for a 4-pill valium prescription this summer: 2 pills for the flights to France, and 2 pills for the flights home.
2. So, are you now a tea drinker? I will have plenty of Tetley’s here in August, and any other kind you might like to drink, if you let me know what it is.
3. The rain storm you’re describing on your drive home sounds very much like the one Josie and I encountered on the outskirts of Québec last summer. I’m sure that now you can see it was no wonder that we got lost.
4. Glad you’re home safe and sound.
We lost four kilos - about $100 - worth of serrano ham to Customs/USDA when we returned from Spain. I assume it went into the trash, although I would actually have been happier had it been eaten by a USDA official.
What makes the story even sadder is that when I contacted USDA before our next trip to Spain to find out just what the rules were, the woman there said there was no reason that they should have taken my ham. Wrongly taken ham. Oh the humanity.
Welcome home! Isn’t it funny how you can be so worn out and ready for home, and yet also completely heart sick for the trip to be over?
Also - I am so ready for a vacation! I’m going to LA next week for work, and then the Grand Canyon in early May, but those trips will be tornadoes of work chaos. So instead I’ll look to the end of May and my trip to Rocky Mountain. We’re taking the in-laws and having a long weekend. Off to Google to find a cabin…
Honey, you need a NAP.
Welcome back! I’m glad you had such a great time!
Welcome back! Glad you had such a fabulous time!
Ugh. I was on a flight once that was so bad people used their barf bags. The smell alone was enough to make other use theirs! Glad you’re back safely.
I hate flying anymore these days.