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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Made it.

I really hate the day we make the long haul to the States. It is a day that goes on and on and there is no way to avoid feeling really crummy at the end of it! But all in all, it was a smooth, uneventful trip. We left our house at 7.30 a.m. Stockholm time and headed for the subway. We always bring extra luggage so we can fill it up with delights from the US. Fortunately we have big bags that nest into each other thus lessening the number of bags we have to lug through town. The subway is a drag with bags. Down the stairs, onto the train, up the stairs. It was a busy time in the city as kids and adults were heading to school and work. One major complaint I have of the Swedish people is that they think nothing of pushing, shoving, and crashing into you. To make matters worse, they say NOTHING when they do so. No excuse me, or oh, sorry about that. Just simple (and in my opinion), rude bashing. Drives me crazy. So when I was struggling with my big 'ol bag while heading up the stairs of the subway, I was shocked and thrilled when a young Swede took one of the handles on my bag and asked, Can I help you? It was a very redeeming experience in the midst of the sea of bashers and crashers.
We noticed immediately that the airport was not very busy. Our flight was not full which is good news for us because we had plenty of room. But signs of the struggling economy definitely showed their face at the airport. When we landed at O'hare, it quite apparent that fewer people are traveling.
The flight seemed long this time around. Bad movies, my cold was rearing its ugly head causing enormous discomfort and in spite of the extra room, it wasn't all that comfortable. But the crew was lovely and we were able to land on time as the blizzard that was forecast for Chicago never materialized.
I marveled at how bright the sun was as we began our decent. The day was crystal clear and you could see the entire Chicago land area spreading out beneath our wings as we came into the city over Lake Michigan. I was taken aback at how much daylight was streaming around me. At noon the sun was blazing in all its shining glory and I realized that I hadn't seen it that high the sky since October! I actually had to shade my eyes are we landed as the combination of the glistening sun reflecting off the snow white ground was too much for my mole like eyes to handle. It was wonderful and painful all at the same time.
It was freezing cold in Chicago, minus zero Farenheit so I was glad to feel the warmth of the sun through the window. Customs was easy and we were on our way to terminal 1 for our final leg up to Minnesota where by the way we had heard that the temperature was hovering around minus 9!
We stopped for a snack and marveled at the huge plate of homemade tortilla chips that were placed before us. We browsed around the book store to see what titles people were reading. We sensed the excitement of Obama's inauguration, the home town crowd happy to draw attention to their President and away from their governor. It was great to be back in the US in spite of the jet lagged fog that was buzzing in my brain.
We arrived safely and soundly and braved the winter chill on the way to Doug's parent's house. It's warm and cozy inside and it really is beautiful outside. But I think our time outside will be pretty limited! We got to the house at 5.30 p.m., 12.30 a.m. Stockholm time, so all in all, about a 17 hour trip door to door.
Our tradition is to eat dinner at one of our favorite burger joints. Doug's sister joined us and we got in on the premier of American Idol. I'm immersing myself in magazines and making a list of the places I want to visit favorite shoe store DSW, Target, Talbot's outlet, Bath and Body works. It's fun to be back.
It's 4.00 a.m. and my jet lagged mind won't let me sleep anymore. I sense that a nap will be a part of my day today! I'm looking forward to seeing family and friends and enjoying having nothing I have to do.
Even though it's cold, the daylight is a welcome addition. It wasn't dark until almost 5.00 p.m. yesterday...quite a switch from the 3.30 p.m. sunsets we've been having. And oh that high noon sunshine. Even at minus 9, I think I'll have to stand with my face turned to it for a bit today.