Thursday, July 12, 2012

Bumpy Landing

My return was all set up to be a lovely festive re-entry into American life. We had tickets booked for a concert in upstate NY and a hotel for afterwards. Friends were meeting us at the show and it looked like it was shaping up to be the best coming home party yet.

My plane, with its half dead air reeking of babies and farts and cheap perfume, arrived a hour late. Our bags sauntered in at their leisure, making us twiddle our thumbs and gripe in baggage claim. By the time I walked through customs it was not the 4 o’clock I had been figuring on but closer to 6 pm. It’s all right we thought, we still have time.

So we hit the road and were delighting in each other’s company so much so that we somehow ended up not on 87 N but on 90W when we started seeing signs for Syracuse I began to wonder. We pulled over and looked at the map, yup we were going to have to back track. No worries, we’ll catch the second set.

We finally got to the hotel, threw my bags in the room and acquired directions from the front desk. Driving through dark winding NY country roads were everything looks the same we though, well, we still have an hour of the show, we’ll see some of it.

We arrived at the gate, panting holding out our tickets in triumph. Those eager to beat the traffic were already moving to their cars but the band was still going strong. We wouldn’t have much time, but it would still be worth it.

“ Your tickets have already been used.” The woman told us and we stared back at her.
 “That’s not possible, we just got here we drove all the way form New York.” I explained.
“ I’ll try them again. No, already been used. We can’t help you, can’t let you in.”
“ But I just flew here all the way from Bangkok!” I cried.
“ That’s a nice yarn.” The other ticket taker told me with a smile that said “get lost”
“ It’s true.” I wasn’t happy, not only were they not letting us in, they were calling a very jet lagged me a liar. Where was my passport when I needed it?

“ I have my ID and the credit card I bought the tickets with, here look, its even got my name on the receipt.” Fiz told them desperate to get us into the show. We did buy the tickets, a last indulgent luxury before I realize just how broke we were.

“ Sorry we could lose our jobs if we let you in.” Right, sure.

Welcome back to America,  one of my fears at least has been a reality. Australians have ruined me for friendliness, with their open smiles and laid-back attitudes. I now have a distorted impression of American hospitality.

My first impressions of home have been mixed. It has good to see my husband and family, but it all feels very surreal, like home is just another destination, one I have already seen. I haven’t had the chance to find my grove yet and we have a very nomadic summer planned. I don’t expect I’ll truly start to feel at home until fall, but that seems like a long time to be uncomfortable. 11 months is a long time to be away.

I’m getting ready now for another short trip. We are headed out to Ohio  this coming weekend. Honestly it will be a relief to be on the road for a bit. If only to put distance between me and this feeling of displacement.

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