Saturday, August 25, 2012

Day 16 -- The Long Return Home

Our travel-back-to-Ohio day came way too quick.  We had to wake up around 6:30 on Sunday morning in order to make it to the airport in time for our 10:30 flight.  We got ready, finished packing, ate microwaved ham/swiss crepes for breakfast, and were soon toting our luggage to the metro.  We purchased our metro/RER tickets for the airport and went through the turnstile (which proved a little difficult with the suitcases, but we managed).

We had to switch metro lines once in order to get to the RER station.  It ended up being a nice transfer because the next metro line was just across the platform!  I had been prepared to lug the suitcases up and down stairs and through the tunnels to get to the right line, but we just walked off one train, crossed the platform and got on the other.  Once we got to the right station with the airport RER line, we did have to walk a little bit with our suitcases, but this station was made with suitcases in line (escalators and instead of turnstiles, there were doors that opened to let you go through).  Because we transferred from a metro to RER, we had to re-insert our tickets to prove that we had paid for all legs of the trip.

We soon found ourselves in the airport and found the right line to check-in.  We attempted to use kiosks but they wouldn't work, we finally figured out because we were flying international, they had to personally "check" our passports and such.  Once we unloaded the suitcases and got our tickets, we went through border patrol.  They had a sign in French and English that had a little translation problem.  It said something about no pictures in the Shengren area, not exactly sure what Shengren means. . .  

We had to take a shuttle after going through border patrol to get to the right wing.  Once we found the "L" wing, we went through security and found our gate.  While waiting for the plane (we had less than an hour), I bought a sandwich and water for us to split.  When it was time to board the flight, the line got extremely long (because they have to check everyone's passport again).  We just sat in the waiting area for awhile until the line was getting shorter.  But when they started calling all rows, we decided to just bypass the long line and go through Sky Priority line because we'd purchased the upgraded economy comfort seats in the front.  We were able to bypass the big line and just walk on the plane -- thanks Steve for the upgrade!

Even though our flight from Paris to Minneapolis (yes, we entered the US via Minnesota) was over 8 hours, the time seemed to fly by.  We spent the entire flight just watching videos.  We watched 2 together -- Hugo & Horrible Bosses - and watched 4 separate.  I watched The Artist & The Help while Steve watched Immortals & Wrath of the Titans.  Sometime between all those movies, we were served 2 meals -- chicken/mashed potatoes/salad/roll/cookie & cheese/meat calzone with ice cream.  We gained 6 hours on the flight and landed in Minneapolis just past noon.

Going through customs was a little stressful.  I had filled out the form and put that we brought chocolate back, but the first guy said I filled it out wrong and I needed to claim the food.  Then we picked up our luggage and feared our chocolate being confiscated.  So I was all stressed out about losing my chocolate - ha ha.  When we went through the final stage with our suitcases, the guy was confused why we claimed food when we only brought back chocolate.  He just laughed it off and sent us through -- whew!  We rechecked our suitcases, went through security and found our gate.  We were just thrilled to be able to understand everyone around us and use our phones again.

Our flight back to Columbus was short and quick.  I just read on the flight and Steve played video games on his phone.  By the time we got our suitcases and were back to our car, it was going on 7 pm local time, but it felt like 3am.  We decided that we should probably stop and get some food which turned into a fiasco.  We first tried a Burger King, but the dining room wasn't open.  So we went through the drive-thru and ordered but it was taking way too long.  So Steve just left the line (to my dismay) and we went through a Wendy's successfully.  After eating, we returned back on the road and tried not to aggravate each other.  We were both really tired and just wanting to be home.

We got home just after 9 and were both in bed asleep by 10.  Ha ha.  Our bed hadn't felt so good!  We sure missed our house, the big open space, the green grass (which looked like a jungle in our yard) and the comforts or our "big" shower, bed, and pillows.  We both slept pretty well, but both had to be up early.  Steve was out of the house by 7:30 & I was out by 7:45.  We retutned back to reality with Steve returning back to work and me having a CT Scan.  Nothing says "Welcome Back to America" like 2 bottles of Barium and an IV for contrast.

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