It’s only been a week since we were back for the wedding and it feels like we never left. We would like to say congratulations to the bride and groom, Pat and Emily Rogers. We wish there had been more time to spend with everyone. Our trip home was a whirlwind and I can say on record that I never want to travel that much in short a short period of time ever again. We left Spain on Thursday morning, arrived in the US Thursday evening (after approximately 18 hours of traveling), spent the weekend adjusting (Alex was sick the day of the wedding), and then said our goodbyes, or lack of, and headed back to the airport Sunday at noon.
We arrived early and were happy to find some good ol’ American football to pass the time. We were just starting to relax when the announcement was made that repairs were needed on the plane. “Twenty minutes” was the estimate given over the loudspeaker. Everyone’s body language seemed to consent to the fact that 20 minutes airport time equals an indiscriminate, intangible amount to travelers. Surprisingly, we did have news in 20 minutes…our flight would be delayed an hour. Although that was cutting it close to our connecting flight, we were assured we would be fine.
We found a bar and ordered some food and drinks to pass the time. While Al was preoccupied with updates of his fantasy players, I kept an ear open for flight updates. (My fingers quiver with the anticipation of what comes next…) Our flight would be delayed another hour a half. The frantic drill began. We got in line with a group of half disgruntled, half anxious flyers. Those who were trying to change their flight for trivial reasons were immediately turned away. Others received new boarding passes and then sprinted away from the desk. A group of travelers to India seemed to have no options and unwillingly held up the line. When our turn came, I prepared myself to call my mom and have her come pick us up. I also anticipated the “perks” of airlines screwing up flights…vouchers, free first class upgrades, the good life. After standing at the counter for almost as long as the India travelers, we had our answer(s). We would be moved to a slightly earlier flight to Newark, and then we should “see if you can make your original flight to Madrid. It’s worth a shot.” I hated the thought of running through the crowds in Jersey and I waited expectantly for Plan B. “I can send you through Charles de Gaulle and then put you on an AirFrance flight to Madrid. You should make it in time for your RyanAir flight.” She convinced us to go with the first option and gave us a printout of Plan B to show the next agent.
I’m sure the ending is no big surprise. Plan A didn’t work (we missed it by the skin of our teeth), and Plan B was tight. But we received exit row seating (extra leg room!) and first class service on every flight. We even each had a whole row to ourselves on the way to France (not without envious glares and complaints from our neighboring travelers). I think all-in-all it was a 21-hour ordeal.
Since we’ve been back, we’ve been trying to get out and meet people. We went to our first intercambio Wednesday night. There were just shy of 20 people present, most of whom were from Almeria and wanted to practice their English. Our friend Mishu was there, as well a Turkish guy working on his PhD, some Italians, and a Pollack. We didn’t get a chance to use much Spanish, but we did meet Jon of god or “Juan de” as he likes to be called. Juan de spent a year in Northfield at Carlton college, so we had a lot to talk about.
Last night (Friday), we went out for cervecas y tapas with Mishu and his French roommate. I enjoyed sitting out at the cafes, but was not as fond of the actual bars. It’s been a long time since I have come home from a night out saturated in smoke, and I just need to say how wonderful the smoking ban is back home.
That’s now for all…in the future: mas fotos, perritos, basura, y mas…