Travel Update #3: Not with a bang but a whimper

You know what? I don’t think I have 22 hours worth of memories from our last 22 hours of traveling. I know I wasn’t sleeping for most of it (sadly), so I must just have selective amnesia. Or maybe nothing really happened.

Here’s the little I remember:  We ate guacamole in the Chicago airport. It was as good as I remembered it. (Also, I made a bowl of guacamole yesterday at my mother-in-law’s house, and ate the whole thing myself. I might do that again today.)

Airport security is as paranoid as ever in the U.S.A. At least we were only flying the week of the 10th anniversary of 9/11, and not the actual day.

The pilot on our Chicago-L.A. flight invited my kids into the cockpit, flipped all the switches and lights for them, and had a fun little conversation. I’m pretty sure Raj’s ambitions have now switched from fireman to pilot. Axa, however, still has firm career plans as the owner of a gelato shop.

Raj spilled one entire glass of orange juice an hour into our trans-atlantic flight, but most of it ended up landing on the plastic bag containing the airplane pillow, blanket, and earphones, and I was actually able to take it to the bathroom and pour it down the sink. Miraculous.

I have now seen both Thor and The King’s Speech, although I did not watch Pirates of the Caribbean 4. Reviews will be forthcoming.

I wish I could say I kissed the ground, or had any real feelings at all upon entering the United States. But I didn’t. I just feel kind of numb looking back over the past 18 months that we’ve been away. It’s been quite a wild ride. I look back at everything we’ve done, and wonder how it all happened. Answering the questions of the quizzical officer at U.S. passport control just made it all seem more unreal and unbelievable.

I can’t really make sense of the whole picture, but I remember the individual moments, vividly. Walking along the Arno in the rain. Catching frogs in Ireland. Building an igloo in our front yard in Italy. Standing inside the Roman amphitheater at el-Djem.

I wouldn’t really say that coming back here is like waking up from a dream. Because I feel like I’m still somehow stuck inside the dream. I keep looking around for something I think I’ve lost or left behind, like my passport, or that extra carry-on bag, or my travel neck pillow. But really I think it’s myself I’ve lost.

I can’t really say where I am now, and I have no idea where I’m going. I just hope that I’ll find myself again somewhere, sometime.

3 thoughts on “Travel Update #3: Not with a bang but a whimper

  • November 10, 2011 at 6:28 pm

    I feel that way after 20 years between my Air Force brat life and now. Does it *ever* go away? That surreal ‘should I be here? Is this real? Am I in an alternate reality, here?’ feeling… it’s sometimes quieter than others, but honestly, I have that a lot. I feel your pain on that.

    I swear, sometimes the entirety of life seems surreal.

  • September 9, 2011 at 8:39 pm

    I felt like this after only 2 weeks away. I can’t imagine how it is for you after being gone for months! Best wishes!

  • September 9, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    You absolutely will find yourself again! And I’m so glad you’ll be (relatively) close by while you do it!


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