This is the continuing soap opera (as one friend put it) of my return to the United States. If you’ve been following along, you know the turmoil I went through to make the plane home. I was so burned out at this point. By the grace of God, I made each of my connecting flights by minutes despite being directed to the worst possible customs line in Atlanta. I also managed to claim all my bags and wheel them over to be rechecked, despite an injured knee and toe, hobbling along at top speed.
On the last leg from Atlanta to Washington, I started to hallucinate. I’m not sure if it was the guy next to me wearing a bottle of synthetic cologne or the nasty food or just sheer emotional exhaustion, but I could have sworn the airline attendant said we’d land in Dulles. Wishful thinking perhaps. Around 11:30 PM, we landed and everyone piled off. Now I had to find my way around Reagan Airport and find out just how many hundreds of dollars a taxi to Dulles would be. I stopped the first airline attendant I saw and explained that I was expecting to land in Dulles. I needed transportation there. How far was it? She looked at me with a blank look and another attendant stepped in. He heard me asking my question, and with a rather interesting and somewhat fearful expression (Is this crazy lady for real?), he explained to me that I was at Dulles.
Oh. Well, that’s good!
Turns out, the whole Washington/Dulles/Reagan thing at the Bordeaux airport had been one giant ‘lost in translation’ misunderstanding. No one with Air France seemed to know the difference, so they had no way of setting me straight…or maybe they were just having some French-style fun with me.
It was a surreal miracle that I was now in the airport I had originally planned with a free shuttle to my hotel just minutes away. However, by the time I claimed all my luggage with the help of a strapping young porter, when I called the hotel, the last shuttle for the night had already run. No biggie. I’d just take a taxi. At least it was a short trip.
The porter was awesome. He was friendly and energetic and just the energy I needed to be in. He wheeled my stuff out to the street and hailed a taxi. As it was raining, with a suitcase in hand, he opened the cab door for me. That’s when Crabby Cabby appeared. [Please read the part of Crabby Cabby with your best Indian accent]
“Don’t you dare put bags in my car! Leave them! Leave them! I’ll do it!”
“I’m not putting anything in your cab. I know better. I’m opening for door for THE LADY. It’s raining!” my gentle porter explained with a nice roll of the eyes in my direction.
“No one puts bags in my car! I put them in! You just bring them here!” Crabby Cabby insisted just in case he hadn’t been heard.
When I was in the cab, I handed the driver my hotel information. Remember how exhausted I was? Well, I told him it was in the opposite direction. He looked confused. I took this to mean he had no idea where he was going. I said, “If you don’t know where it is, I’m not sure I’m comfortable having you drive me.”
“It is over this way! I know exactly where it is! It isn’t over there. You confuse me!”
So off we sped.
Minutes later, I was at the hotel. I paid Crabby Cabby and tipped him. I could see a bell hop thingie (what are they called?) in the door, so I ran in to wheel it to the cab. But when I came back out with it, Crabby Cabby was already burning rubber–my five suitcases sat on the sidewalk getting rained on. I’d have to heave them onto the “thingie” myself. It wasn’t like I was exhausted or anything.
The hotel room was awesome. It was a rewards freebie. I requested a late checkout and slept like a baby after letting Stuart know I was okay and following a nice hot soak in the tub. I took another bath the next morning too..and one or more a day for the next two weeks; you see, Stuart’s place only had showers. It was heaven to have a bath again after three months!
The next day, my sister, her husband, and my mother came to pick me up and brought me to my next hotel…a long-stay for which my brother-in-law was able to get me a fabulous rate. I stayed there for two whole weeks decompressing; it was a huge blessing, as I had not just a mountain, but a whole range to decompress!
It’s all very dramatic, my story. I admit living it was a nightmare of multiple dimensions too. But in hindsight and after lots of self-nurturing and healing, I’m feeling quite strong and ready for whatever comes next. In fact, one of the very first emails I opened upon returning was a notification of a Bon Chod training I’d been waiting ten years to take. It was happening in New York state on my birthday, and here I was, a five or six hour drive away! I registered for it with hesitation. Some things are just meant to be.
In fact, I must say, the flow seems to have returned to my life. Though there are still many unknowns, even the immigration paperwork here is almost complete and rather effortlessly so…nothing like our experience with the French residency package we’d been working on for months. As Stuart said, “It doesn’t hurt that it’s all in English!”
So, we’ll see what happens next…