Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Welcome Home and Happy Holidays!

I think my plea to the snow gods may have worked too well. The plane ride back to the US was fine, but I came back to 0 degrees Fahrenheit, and -20 with the windchill, plus some light snow showers on top of the 6 to 8 inches that got dumped a couple of days ago. This made for less than pleasant arrival delays because there was lots of stuff to do at the airport and not enough people around to do it, plus ridiculous levels of coldness. First we waited an hour on the runway waiting for a gate. Actually we weren't even on the runway, we were parked right by our gate, but there was machinery just hanging out at the gate and everyone was too occupied with other snow/cold related issues to help us. So we waited. Then we got off and went through passport control. And of course lots of people have connecting flights to catch and they're freaking out about still having to pick up their luggage and run to their new flight.

So once we clear passport control, on we go to wait for our bags..... and wait..... and wait. After about 30 or 45 minutes they made an announcement saying that because of the cold temperatures the baggage compartment door is iced shut and they can't get it open. Okay, fine, they have de-icing techniques because duh, this is Michigan, it's cold, planes need to be de-iced. So we keep waiting.... and waiting.... and waiting.... and people are starting to really get upset. Of course I don't have an American cell phone to call my parents, who are circling the airport, that we're being held up, but they figured it out. So after about two hours the customs officers make an announcement saying that they are not the ones holding us in baggage claim, that Northwest has to release us without our baggage, and that they are going to tell Northwest that if they don't let us go in five minutes they are going to call the news station. Well sure enough, we were released a few minutes later, without our baggage. Which for me isn't a big deal because I'm just going to my house, where I have other clothes and toiletries and stuff, but I felt really bad for travellers and people connecting to other cities. So I leave without my baggage and I called constantly the entire next day to see if my baggage had been rescued yet. Finally at 5:30 they said it was cleared through customs and ready to be picked up so my dad rescued it on his way home from work. But then listen to this, they didn't check his ID or check off on a list that someone had come to pick up my bags! He could have been anyone!

But that whole ridiculousness is over now, and thankfully I don't have to wear pajamas to my family's Hanukkah party tomorrow (the only day we were all free was Christmas!). We got MORE snow yesterday, and it was fabulous! Not the wet, slushy gross stuff I get in the north of France but beautiful, white, powdery goodness. I'll try to take some pictures this afternoon to share. Unfortunately there aren't as many houses with lights up as I remember, so I'm not sure if people are worried about their electricity costs, or if they've all gotten to old to put up lights, or if a bunch of other Jews have moved into the neighborhood, but it makes me a little sad that there aren't as many lights as I was anticipating. I've been trying to sleep, but jet lag is murder (I woke up at 6:45 this morning!!!). I've seen some friends, and I've been having fun playing with my Kindle. This is the coolest thing ever. I'm very excited about having cheap access to English books when I get back to France. And of course I've been lighting the menorah (actually a chanukiah, but who's paying attention) and eating latkes (fried potato pancakes). And oh man, I went to the grocery store with my mom last night and it was about the most amazing experience ever. There were so many options! There were so many international food choices! There were so many soy and tofu products! They had cream cheese! And bagels! And wow, we have so many frozen and junk food and cookie options that it is at the point of ridiculousness.

Happy holidays to all!


Jennie said...

I want a Kindle!! It seems so expensive though...

Andromeda said...

Ohhh I am so confused on whether we will have to recheck our bags or not, we're going paris->detroit->dc with only an hour and a half between flights . . . well, it all worked out for you, so I'm sure we'll be fine. Happy holidays!!

au soleil levant said...

The Kindle is everything it is cracked up to be.... and yes, expensive! It was a gift, luckily for me, although since I had never heard of this thing I didn't even think I wanted it! But I soon changed my tune.

Andromeda, YES, you have to collect and recheck your baggage before you get on your next flight. On a normal day this shouldn't be a problem. But remind yourself that if the weather is bad, your next flight will be delayed anyway so don't worry about it too much. Good luck! Safe travels!