Sunday, 22 April 2012

Home, home, wonderful home...

Delighted and relieved are two words that accurately express my feelings about the long journey home being over.  One-hundred years ago making a journey of over 6,000 in a 24-hour period would not have been thought possible.  Now we do it.  The flight between Tampa and Newark, New Jersey was about two-and-a-half hours.  The lay-over in Newark was close to 10 hours, followed by the six hour flight from Newark to London, Heathrow.  Both flights went easily enough--just a little turbulance on the Tampa-Newark flight.  

Monday evening (the 16th) I drove down to one of Bradenton's local Publix stores to make use of their scales to weigh my lugguage.  I had to make sure both suit cases were under 50 pounds (70 kgs).   They were under the limit, so I opted to leave them locked in the boot (trunk) of the car overnight.  

I knew it was going to be a long day--getting up at 3:00 a.m. to shower before leaving for the airport. Sissy and I ate donuts during the drive to Tampa and purposed not to cry, though it was a challenge.  I was really glad for that first cup of coffee on the flight--as we drank water in the car.  

I'd been able to pack my laptop in its case into a large piece of luggage, leaving only the carry-on suitcase to worry with for the day.  

I always like to check the websites for the amount of luggage we are allowed, and the weight limit.  I checked the United Airlines website three times, trying to find out if I had to pay for the second bag.  I thought I could take two bags.  Imagine my shock when the customer service agent told me that the second bag was going to cost me $70.(£44) to check through.  Immediately I was in tears.  The Customer Service Agent was very understanding, telling me that the website was vague, unclear.  So she checked it through for me, without a fee.  To me that was a miracle.  

The flight left Tampa at 6:00 am and arrived in Newark about 8:40 am.  My flight to London didn't leave until 6:25 pm (18:25 hrs).  So what does one do for 9 hours and 45 minutes in an Airport? I didn't have the energy or the finanacial resources to venture into Newark or New York.  Knowing I had to spend the whole day, I packed a journal, a couple of notebooks, some index cards, a knitting project, a magazine and a book.  I mentally purposed to spend some of the time actually writing.  

On Monday, the day before my flight on Tuesday (17th April), as I was double checking my itinerary, I also looked at Newark Airport's map online.  That way I knew where restaurants, food courts, toilets and shops were.  I wanted to know where the best options were for sitting and drinking tea or coffee.

Dunkin Donuts was my first port of call.  Yes, more donuts--but it was four hours since eating in the car and there are no Dunkin Donuts in England.  Dunkin Donuts like to boast about their coffee--but I found it a bit on the weak side.  I guess they don't use arabica coffee or Columbian beans!  

I did walk around for an hour, looking for a quiet-ish place to sit and write.  Caliente Cab Restaurant is next to the food court in terminal C. I explained to the waiter that I had about six hours to fill before my flight left.  Would he mind if I ordered a drink and then in a couple of hours order food.  I'm sure they see this a lot- as he approved this plan quickly.  So out came my journal, a pen, my MP3 player and my travel alarm clock.  

I spent time writing an overview of my time in Florida and some of my feelings.  After a glass of ice tea, I was ready to move on to another project.  

Donna Fletcher Crow was kind enough to answer an e-mail I wrote to her about her book-writing process.  She advised me that she does a detailed outline of the book, creating chapters along with notes of detail of the surroundings.  So, I decided to work on a book outline.  I did find that I was missing some important information, but I did make progress on what I felt should be in the book.  

Eventually I packed-up the  temporary work-station and walked across the food court and concourse to the gate. I was so tired I laid down on the floor next the window area and dozed for about an hour.  I couldn't sleep deeply, because I just wasn't comfortable enough.  But I was tired enough to zone out for a while.  

From the windows in the terminal, I could see the outline of New York.  I took some photos, but it was difficult without a extra-long tele-photo lense.  

There were several children on the flight.  I thought sure it was going to be an arduous affair, if the babies and children fussed the whole six hours.  Thankfully, once we were underway most of the children settled down and slept.  One baby did have a two-hour crying fit.  However, I had my earphones in, watching movies, which means I was barely aware of the angry crying of the infant.  I said a prayer for the mother and the baby.
That's one thing about flying I do enjoy--the movies.  John and I never go out the the cinema.  So getting to see a contempory film is a delight.  I watched War Horse and We Bought a Zoo

In a way, it was difficult to pick which film I wanted to watch, as the new Sherlock Holms movie and Iron Lady about Margaret Thatcher were also options.  

There's been lots of advertisements of War Horse, so I'll not elaborate on that.  

Whilst still with my sister, I saw advertisements for We Bought a Zoo.  I thought, "That looks kind of good.  Maybe I'll buy the DVD sometime."  When I saw it was an option on the film menu, I thought--"Good, I'll watch this film".  The film is about Benjamin Mee, a former journalist who finds himself floundering after the death of his wife.  In order to find a way to connect with his children and have a new start, he buys a zoo. 

Now here's the kicker--all the actors are American.  I thought the film was about a place in California, as it was filmed there.  NO!  The actual Zoo is in Plymouth, Devon, England!!!  Ironically, I nearly bought the book last autumn.  I may still go buy it.  

For more information about the true Benjamin Mee and the zoo, check out the website: 

I'd requested a wheel chair for transport through the airport beause I knew that walking from the plane through customs to arrivals was further that I could handle comfortabley.  I guess because I was wheeled through in a wheel-chair, I made it through customs more quickly than My Midnight Man expected.  It took us twenty-minutes to connect.  But it was wonderful to see his smiling face and to make it home.  

I've been trying to catch up on my rest and recover from my jet lag.  I did make it back to the office for work on Friday Morning.  It felt good to be on-sight to do the news sheet.  

To make coming home even better, My Midnight Man received confirmation on Friday that BA is hiring him for a seven-month contract.  

Friday afternoon our oldest daughter, "Chantilly" and her family came by for a visit.  To be on the receiving end of so much love is truly God's blessing to me.

Today was my first day back at St. Mary's Church of England.  To be back in the fold was heartwarming and comforting.  

Now that I'm back home, I must get out my social calendar and start inviting people over.  

Serving Jesus, Author of our faith,
"Lady Helene" 

1 comment:

  1. My sister and her family departed from Dulles yesterday, heading back to Romania. Dulles to Heathrow, Heathrow to Bucharest, and then a five-hour drive from Bucharest through the mountains to Sighisoara. I think they might be home now. Might. The trip takes them between 24 and 30 hours.