Note to self for future reference:
2 trains + 1 hotel + 1 shuttle + 3 flights + 150 pounds of luggage + extreme jet lag = Recipe for disaster
In all fairness, my journey back to America started out quite smoothly. After a tearful goodbye to the family I worked for (have I mentioned that I am REALLY going to miss those kids?), I caught the train to Hamburg on Friday night. Once in Hamburg I hauled my bags across the street to the metro station where I took a 25 minute tram ride to the station closest to my hotel. A nice man even helped me get my luggage down the three flights of stairs separating me from the street (no elevators!). I then walked 2 blocks to my hotel and, around 9:30pm, checked in. I ordered room service and was even treated to complimentary ice cream before settling in for a short 4.5 hours of sleep before waking up at 4:00am to head to the airport.
Now, I’ll admit, I was nervous about my luggage. I knew it was heavy—heck, I literally have blisters from dragging it around Hamburg—but I wasn’t exactly sure how heavy. I had weighed it back at my apartment and knew it was right on the edge of the allowed limit and I prayed I wouldn’t rack up a fortune in fines when I placed my bags on the scale. The first suitcase I weighed was overweight by 2 kilos. However, the second one was slightly underweight and the very kind American Airlines lady let it slide. J
My first flight (to London) went very well. I was even able to navigate the monstrosity that is Heathrow Airport with relative ease and on our descent I spotted Big Ben (those of you who have been around since my adventures studying abroad will remember my obsession with this particular monument), which reminded me all over again how much I adore that city. Unfortunately, the universe must have thought I needed a little more time to rekindle my love affair with London because my flight to Chicago was delayed. For 5 hours.
Of course, a five hour delay plus a nine-hour flight meant I wasn’t getting in to Chicago until after 6pm on Saturday (which felt like 1am on Sunday to me—hello 24 hours without sleep, my name is Christina). By the time I cleared customs every flight going to Minneapolis was either gone or sold out. Every. Single. One. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how I ended up spending my first night back in America in a hotel room in the Windy City.
Instead of a happy reunion with my family I am alone in Chicago, fighting sleep in an effort to reacquaint my poor body with Central Standard Time. And, I have to admit, the situation is not ideal. But, in spite of everything, I can’t call it a total loss. After all, when the customs agent stamped my passport and said “Welcome Home,” those 2 little words I’ve been waiting and waiting to hear, something like joy tap-danced in my chest. It’s good to be home… almost