its only 8am here in seattle and i should be waking up, but as it turns out, i just never went to sleep.
over the course of the last 17 days i have lost a day, then gained a day, then lost another day…i was a full day behind my normal pacific time orientation in new zealand and then adjusted to a 12 hour time change when we arrived in africa. my body isn’t quite sure what to think.
i had this great plan to sleep on the flight from south africa to amsterdam and then stay awake for the flight from amsterdam to seattle…we were to arrive home at 2:30 and i figured i would keep myself up until 9pm and sleep like a rock all night waking up this morning somewhat oriented to the time.
it was a good plan.
i did manage to sleep on the flight from south africa…we lucked out and had a fairly empty flight so i had a whole row to lie down in. i sleep over 8 hours of the 11 hour flight. it was glorious! (words rarely heard in the context of flying) i got to keep my feet elevated and that left me with unswollen feet. any woman who has been preggo can tell you that is glorious in and of itself. then we got to amsterdam and found out the flight was delayed 4 hours….once we finally boarded we then had to sit on the runway for another almost 2 hours and wait for the plane to get de-iced (what a change amsterdam weather proved to be from the sauna of african heat!) and waited its turn for take off. by the time we took off, i was fighting heavy eyelids.
so i slept more than half of the second flight. so much for the plan.
we got in at 8pm and spent the next two hours dealing with customs and baggage claim while our good friend matt circled the airport waiting to take us home. the line for customs was long…it was a big plane and we were seated near the back. it had seemed a good spot during the flight- close to the “potty” – which i visited every hour or so. but standing at the back of that long line, waiting to be drilled by US customs officers, i gave our seating a second thought. so rather than be bothered by it, i called my mom and let her know we’d made it back from our literal trip around the globe in one peice. we handed the customs officer our passports when our turn came. he smiled, asked the normal questions, and stamped our papers, and i thought to myself “that was easy”.
we went to get our bags…which all were already waiting on us, patiently riding the circular path around baggage claim 2. we loaded the 3 bags and the guitar up and marveled that they had actually arrived on time from johannesburg. again i thought “that was easy”
we pushed our cart through the baggage area and handed our stamped passports to the man at the last check point, lugging our ridiculously heavy backpacks. he asked where we’d been, glanced at our lovely passport photos, but instead of sending us on he ushered us to the right where bag searches were taking place.
so much for easy.
we waited for almost an hour while 3 uniformed customs agents unpacked 3 large suitcases, the guitar, both of our over-loaded backpacks, and even my shopping bag full of stuffed safari animals for the baby’s room. no one could accuse these guys of being the tiniest bit less than thorough…gums wrappers even got a second look! i grimaced as they looked through my undergarments, removing each one by one..shawn winced as they wiped down his expensive camera gear. they grilled us with questions…where have you been? with whom? why? who paid for your tickets? did anyone give you anything in africa? how long were you in amsterdam? what has been your itenerary over the past 3 weeks? etc etc. they often asked the same questions again…they took our social security numbers, asked if we’d ever been arrested, and swiped our passports again and again.
looking at my clothes dirtied with african clay scattered about, i started to even feel guilty. all i had was clothes and books and stuffed animals and some little art peices i bought from an africa primary school we visited in zimbabwe and i felt guilty. i can’t imagine how guilty some would feel if they were actually doing something illegal.
those customs agents know how to do their job.
eventually the USA decided to let us back in…thankfully, just short of a strip search.
i was tempted to complain….then i thought about the place where i had spent the last couple of weeks. i thought about the government there…how it holds the people down…changes money frequently to make sure no one can get ahead, won’t subsidize school so that all children can go, has practiced genocide so recently that everyone is scared to say anything against their tyrant of a leader (who just moved the election back another 2 years..can’t even imagine it)….i thought about that a little bit as we loaded our bags into matt’s waiting blue jetta and decided to skip complaining about the inconvenience we had just experienced.
i am sometimes one to point out everything wrong… i don’t know who made me the critic…but i sometimes can think of lists and lists of thing that frustrate me about american politics and culture- but man, we just don’t know how good we have it here. its not perfect..corruption exists, but it pales in comparison to the corruption our african neighbors know.
i feel thankful and sobered by our trip.
there will be many stories to follow… i am having a little culture shock and just beginning to process the trip…but many stories to follow.
in other news, we have narrowed the name search. not that i am sharing the names, but its fun to think about the little person flipping around inside me as a person with a name…i still have quite a wait, but every day the urge to know this little one’s face and personality is steadily growing. i find myself gazing at shawn, wondering if he/she will have his jaw line or nose or thick eye lashes. i wonder if he/she will inherit his wavy hair or my stick straight strands.
i have so struggled to enjoy this pregnancy…africa cured the issue. i fell in love with my ever-growing bump and the amazing feel of the baby kicking and tumbling around inside me. our baby is super active…i wonder when he/she sleeps?!?! that comes from me, i am afraid. shawn can feel the baby kick now and its a really beautiful thing to share and marvel at…
oh, and i fell in love with my hubby all over again on this trip. more about that later too.