I am finally back in America after more than two years in Scotland—and after two emotionally draining days of international travel. I can’t really say that I’m excited to be home yet because there are just too many uncertainties to face in the days ahead, but I know that I will enjoy my time here visiting with family and friends.
My journey has been fraught with tears and frustration and I can fairly say that this has been the worst travel experience of my life. I won’t bore you with all of the details (the madness began before I got to the train station to leave Stirling!) but I will make the following confession:
When searching for my connecting flight in Frankfurt—and being faced with one mis-direction after another, on top of the normal stresses of travel—I managed to have my first-ever travel breakdown. I was so distraught and frustrated that I collapsed on the floor (hidden behind a pillar; out of the way) and sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. After a couple of minutes, a young man working for the airline came to check on me, then sorted out my new boarding pass and escorted me to the gate.
I was embarrassed beyond belief at both my lack of composure and at some stranger seeing me cry. Still, his kindness (and the water be brought me!) helped. And I’d like to say those were my only tears, but I’d be lying. But at least the others weren’t quite so obvious and hysterical!
My little breakdown was caused by a build up of stress around my travel, leaving my flat, and other general stress things; the visa glitch I’ve mentioned in passing but will tell you more about later; my fears about my new student visa for my PhD programme, and a few pre-flight emails I wasn’t expecting. Oh! And it didn’t help that I was very hungry and exhausted by this time.
Of course, these are the same stresses that are preventing me from being super-excited about coming home to America. It’s not that I’m not excited to be home with family and friends—it’s that I have so many underlying stresses (some of which could be life-changing!) that I can’t escape the thought of them.
But, I am here now and I need to try to enjoy myself and not stress out too much about all of the stresses mentioned above.
So now that I’m back in America, what happens? Well, now I get to enjoy several back-and-forth communications with various people to sort out information for my visa. Sadly, it seems that someone who is integral to that process is now on holiday for a week and a half, which means I am uncertain when I will be able to make my new visa application. Which means I may have to delay the start of my PhD a wee bit. Which means I would get another week or so here in America, so that would be OK I suppose …
As for my first enjoyable bits to being back (which means we won’t talk about the passport control chaos when I landed!), here’s how that went:
My baby sister met me at the airport with a lovely bottle of Barq’s Root Beer which was enjoyed and gulped in the car (along with some Cheetos and beef jerky) on the way to her house. Then she made me a grilled ham and cheese sandwich with some ranch dressing for dipping. Then I fell asleep.
My first full day (Friday) has started a bit early thanks to jetlag (up at 1 am Homeland Time; 9 am Scotland Time) so I don’t know how the day will go, but I’m hoping it’s filled with more laughter than tears!
So hello, America! We’ve got some catching up to do!