Thursday, August 23, 2012

Home, Sweet Home

July 1, 2012 
The day I returned home from Madrid via Zurich.  
An excessively long day, literally.

Back in 2007, when I came home from college for Thanksgiving, I wrote, "Home means not needing to take extra plastic silverware."

In 2009, and again now, I declared, "Home means drying your clothes in a dryer.  Adiós, clothesline!"

"Home, Sweet Home"
Ten months of wisdom later, I realized that the "magic of home" lies partly in being picked up by your family from the airport.  Knowing that someone is waiting there for you brings a huge element of comfort to an arrival.  After living abroad for nearly a year, arriving home is such a relief because you know that your family is eagerly waiting to hug and welcome you on the other side of Immigration/Customs and the baggage claim.  Over the year, I arrived alone at many, many unfamiliar airports for tons of fantastic weekend trips.  To be honest, there's an amount of stress that comes with plopping yourself into an unfamiliar city, not knowing exactly where you're going, where things are, how the transportation works, or how to speak the language of wherever you just landed.  Don't get me wrong; I had an incredible year and hugely enjoyed all of my fantastic trips.  That said, nothing beats the heartwarming knowledge that your smiling family is waiting eagerly at the airport for you to return.

I was so excited to return home that I went to Madrid's airport in the middle of the night, about five hours before my first flight was scheduled to depart.  I was so excited to see my family that I didn't even stop to buy snacks or use the bathroom when I landed in Chicago.  I was so excited to be back in the United States that I turned my phone on the second after we landed because I was overjoyed that for the first time in a year I could call my family without spending a small fortune on a thirty second call.

Of course, I called before the plane stopped taxiing even though I wasn't supposed to.  Hearing "Welcome to the United States!" from my parents was golden.  Hearing the customary "welcome back" from the immigration official who stamped my passport was great too.  It's a special kind of calm to be back.

And then comes the best part:

Maddie Beagle!

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