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June 11th 2010
Published: April 19th 2011
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Friday, June 11th:

All packed and ready to go to the airport!!! Had to leave a few non-essential items behind, but no big deal!  My mom and dad were scheduled to leave the same day because the trip to the airport, in Frankfurt, is a three hour drive (both my aunt and my uncle took us there…they probably wanted to make sure we really were leaving…LOL…kidding!)! Kenya’s and my flight was scheduled to leave at 10:00 a.m., and my mom and dad’s flight at 2:00. We got to the airport around 8:30, and saw that the security lines were really short, so we all decided to go eat our last breakfast together. We all got the exact same thing to eat: a platter that had a roll (with butter, orange marmalade and Nutella), a croissant, and salami and cheese slices…yum!!! I really will miss these kinds of meals! Anyway, when we walked back to the concourse, the security line had grown quite a bit! I started to get really nervous because we had only allowed ourselves about 15 minutes to get to the gate for boarding! It was a super quick “goodbye” to everyone!! My heart started beating really fast because I knew we were cutting it short!

It turned out, that the line that we were in was just for checking our passports and boarding passes! We had to go to the gate where every four gates have their own security x-ray machine. I did not know that when we arrived, so when we got to where our gate was, we went through the line, got in the lobby for the four gates, only to find out we went into the wrong gates!!! We could see our gate right through the window next door! I was very panicked by then (10 minutes past boarding time!!!), and asked if we could just go through the employee only door since we did already go through the screening. They advised us that we could not. OMG! So then, Kenya and I had to RUN for the next set of gates…with their own security line again!!! We each had a heavy backpack, and I had the rolling shopping cart that we had bought in Florence…I tell you what…I was so absolutely panicked that I started crying, thinking that we were going to miss our flight…so just picture it…me running…and huffing and puffing (a bit out of shape)…and crying!!! Kenya kept telling me that everything was going to be ok and she kept being such a great encourager! When we finally got to the security line for our gate, we asked if we could cut because our flight was about to close. I was still crying a little and was completely sweaty!!! I could totally see that they were thinking…”what is this lady’s trip”? Isn’t that what they look for in terrorists…sweaty, clammy, pale, slightly panicked people?? So, of course, I got the pat down (even though I did not in the previous gate…and thank God it wasn’t a full body cavity search!!!!) hee hee…they assured me they would hold the flight, so I felt a lot better! But I tell you what…I was sooooo MAD that I did not have an opportunity to purchase a bottle of water for my flight!!!! Can you imagine…a 10 hour flight having to ask a flight attendant for a cup of water ever hour??!! Phew…but we made it…thank the Lord!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The flight to Michigan was very uneventful, and I watched the three movies that I should have watched on the way over: “It’s Complicated” (hilarious!!!), “Dear John” (again, because I didn’t finish on flight over…did not like ending), and “Avatar”. I was a very happy camper when we reached Michigan and I got my bottle of water!!! Since we had an hour and a half layover, we went shopping! Kenya was really excited to get a Michigan State t-shirt and I found some really pretty earrings at the Brighton store!

When we finally arrived in Seattle, it was 6:00 p.m. and the sun was shining! We waited forever for our suitcases to show up and one didn’t even make it…of course it was the one with all of the chocolate and souvenirs!!! Thankfully they located where it was, and promised that they would deliver it within the next twenty four hours to our home! Boy, were we happy when it arrived!!! 

Eric was elated when we finally called him to come pick us up! We had so many stories to tell, and were a little jet-lagged, but were happy to be home after a month away from our everyday life!!

Some highlights that I wanted to mention:

• Traveling for a month, with two carry on suitcases and two backpacks was very liberating, and I will probably never check a bag again! We each felt that we had the perfect amount of outfits to wear.
• Traveling to a foreign county, with just myself and my daughter, was completely safe and gave us the gift of bonding like never before…I will cherish and treasure the memories created on this trip!
• Learning just a bit of the language helped us tremendously and made for being treated with respect and kindness from strangers.
• Meeting up with my mom and dad, mid-trip, was awesome…again, we had that special bonding, and have created the most wonderful memories that Kenya and I can treasure forever!
• I know that I will, one day, go and live in Italy…specifically in Tuscany…it was the most magical place I have ever been to, in my life!!! I’m serious!!! 


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