Travelling Back Home

Trip Start Oct 25, 2007
Trip End May 15, 2008

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Flag of United States  , Michigan
Friday, January 11, 2008

Okay, here's my latest installment. I haven't written as much about this trip as I'd hope to, but Andee does such a thorough job of showcasing our adventures, that I really don't have much to add after she's done. Plus, I occasionally proof her before she posts and if there's a big idea that I think needs telling, she does well to include it for me. That said, there are still things I encounter on my own, and only I can tell.

For example, take our travels for our brief visit back home. Because we arrived here a week apart, our flights back were separate as well. I will leave the specifics of travelling abroad for another post, as I have gotten spoiled sitting in Business Class, and it's worth explaining exactly why this is the case, but for now, it's safe to say that while travelling alone, it's basically 15 hours of me not talking to anyone or interacting anymore than I absolutely have to. On the plane, I drink and I sleep. If the video is good, I'll watch it. In the airports, I pray to make it through security without being flagged for additional screening, and once through I sit in the bar and (drink) people watch. I don't want to hear where they are from or where they are going. I want my trip to be over as soon as possible so I can relax. Anything else just highlights the fact that I have a long day ahead where many things can go wrong to make it more miserable.

This is why I found what happened in the sports bar in Detroit Metro so peculiar to me. I was sitting there with my beer, watching Sportscenter (finally ENGLISH!) and just unwinding a bit after the nine-hour flight that this feeling came over me. I reached in my briefcase and took out a pad and paper (ala Andee, who does this every chance she gets, 'to capture the moment'). I had an urge to capture what I was feeling that very second, as I knew I wouldn't be able to recall the intensity later if I tried. Here's what I wrote:

I never thought I'd feel so GOOD about returning to my home country. I've never thought of myself as very patriotic, unless I was watching sports and rooting for the US, but you see patriotism everywhere in Europe. Not just with sports. You begin to envy it. Maybe it's just identifying with a familiar pace of life and the attitude, but watching the airport bartender serve people with a nonchalant enthusiasm felt good to me. Seeing her move from one customer to another without a care in the world makes me smile. I can understand how foreigners could misinterpret this, maybe as the younger generation and a lack of respect or drive. But to me, it felt like I was back among friends.

I know I sound a bit scattered there, but those were the things rushing into my mind, seemingly all at once. I was excited to finally have something happen to me that truly moved me, even if the moment itself seemed trivial to others.

This little episode lifted my spirits enough to renew my energy for the remaining part of my trek home. I was anxious to get back to family and friends, even if just for a short time. As I recap this epiphany, I wonder if the same thing will happen when we return home for good in May...
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elizabessie on

know how you feel
I am from Kalamazoo, MI, and am living in Germany. I know it's a random post from a random person, but the feeling you're describing is exactly how I feel when I'm in the airport waiting for my visitors, surrounded by other Americans waiting for their loved ones, too. I haven't been home in 8 months, but my first moment of feeling true patriotism was when I was there, in the airport, and I thought, 'Wow, I'm happy to be American'.

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