Honey, I’m Home (And I Had a Hard Day…)

The return home.

This is a blog post that was written over the course of many hours.  You should know, going in, that it has a happy ending.  — Hakunah Matata

In the end, it’s all okay…because Hakunah Matata!

I guess it really all started three days ago…on Monday.  Kate and I were in the Old City while it was raining.  I was in my lime green flip flops.  Remember this story?

Anyway, I woke up on Tuesday and something…just wasn’t quite right.  I don’t know what I did, but it was something nasty and my foot didn’t like it.  I’m sincerely hoping it’s not a stress fracture, cause that’s what it feels like…  Either way, I’m in some serious amounts of pain and it seems to be getting worse every day.  I’m hoping to get it checked out once I’m back in Dallas.

So that’s where it started.

On Wednesday, I had a slight nervous breakdown because my creativity left me and I couldn’t write a single email.  Might seem like a small problem, but I think it was the trigger.  I went to bed Wednesday night in a snippy mood.

Thursday morning arrived and it was check out time.  First, I feel I should take a moment to mourn the passing of a dear friend.  This friend has been at my side for many, many years.  Mr. Watch has been with me through thick and thin.  Unfortunately, Mr. Watch passed away at 6:40am after many loyal years of service.

A moment of silence, if you will…

I hobbled down to the housing office after relocating all my suitcases to the hallway.  I didn’t realize, however, that I needed my student ID.  The lady in housing wasn’t willing to relent, so I had to walk all the way back to my room to get my ID number.  I then went all the way back to housing just to turn in the form.  I headed back to my room to await the maintenance man.  He came in and did the inspection.  Gave the entire place a bunch of checks.  Woot!  And then sat down and crossed one of the check’s out.  Uhhh….excuse me?  He attempted to charge me for something that was there when I arrived.  And, naturally, Mr. Maintenance Man doesn’t speak English.  So I ended up arguing with him in sign language.  Luckily, he caught my drift and told me he’d take care of it.  I nodded and he left with a parting shot of “come to housing.  Ten minutes.”  Well, I “come to housing.  Ten minutes” later and it turns out, he hasn’t stopped by.  In fact, a group of us sit there and wait for this guy for twenty minutes before he walks in and drops off the paperwork.

Finally, Rob, Farah, Kate, and I get to head to campus to turn in all of our finalized paperwork.  Of course, walking wasn’t exactly my strong suit.  I hobbled and slowed everyone down.

We finally made it to campus and turned in our paperwork without problems.  I attempted to go on an epic hunt for postcards on campus…and failed.  Sad day.  Finally, I ended up at the post office to trade in my shekels for dollars.  Talk about the highlight of my day.  The way I saw it…this meant I was DONE in Israel.  Getting back my American money.  I walked up not-so-confidently to the counter and asked, “Can I get this in American dollars?”  The lady pointed me to the opposite side of the room…so I went over there and waited in line again.  As I handed the second lady my 500 shekels, she took it and went into the back room.

She came back with $100.  Which didn’t quite add up right.  I asked her about it.  She told me, “Yes.  400 shekels is $100.”  But I didn’t give her 400.  I gave her 500.  Naturally…she didn’t believe me.  But I had spent ten minutes waiting in line holding the money, organizing it, putting it in order.  I had a 200 sheq note and three 100 sheq notes.  She asked for my phone number…so that she could count the money and call me when she figured out if there was a discrepancy.  I was like, “NO!  I leave TODAY.”

So she consulted another employee and they collectively informed me that she could go back and count the money to make sure…if I would just sit for 10-15 minutes.  I told her, “No problem,” and sat down…fully intending to wait this out.

30 minutes later, she comes back around the corner and she’s surprised to see me sitting there.  She calls me over and plays the whole, “Are you sure you gave me 500?  It’ll take an hour to count the money…and it’s the managers money.”

So she wasn’t counting back there to begin with.  She was just attempting to wait me out.  Oh, I can play that game.

So I stood there and stared at her.  “Yes.  I know exactly what I gave you.”  … …

So she hands me 100 shekels.  I just look at her.  “Can I get it in dollars…please?”

She looks at me like I’m a moron.  SERIOUSLY?!  I just want dollars!  Cause I’m LEAVING.  Is this difficult?  So she goes back into the back room for another 10 minutes.  Finally, she comes back out and hands me $20 and 20 shekels.

Fine.  I’ll take it.

Knowing that I now had more shekels than I needed (that I had to get rid of), I informed Kate and Rob that there was no way I could walk all the way back to the Kfar.  So we went downstairs to the bus station and grabbed the 68 bus up the street back to the Kfar.  I then sat on my butt in the living room until 7:40 when it was time to head out.

Shockingly enough, the bus was on time.  I made it.  Woot!

We got to the airport and I went through the first security scan.  Got to go to the ticketing counter…

Naturally, one of my bags is overweight.  The other is under…but that doesn’t matter.  Cause she’s already checked.  And she’s not giving them back.  My only option is to pay extra money for them.  End of story.

So I walk over to the “you packed too much, you dipshit” counter to pay $25 for my bag that is 3 kilos overweight.  Meanwhile, I’m texting my mom, trying to figure out just how much 26 kilos is.  >_>  Cause I’m from America and don’t understand that metric crap.  xD  So 7 pounds.  It’s 7 pounds overweight.  Great.

I have NO ROOM in my smaller suitcase…and I didn’t even have the opportunity to switch stuff around.  I’m wearing two sweatshirts and still have an entirely too full carry-on.  I have no idea what I’m going to do when I get to Newark and have to recheck my bags.  American Airlines has a lower weight limit too.  How inconvenient.

Either way, I was so stressed about figuring out how to get my stuff back to Dallas that I missed the Post Office that I didn’t know I was supposed to be looking for.  Instead of finding it, I went through security.  As it turns out, I was supposed to turn in my Israeli cell phone at this post office.  Cause NO MATTER WHAT, do NOT take this phone back to the States!  That’s a BIG NO NO.  Whoops?

So I go through security…with Grace…because the rest of our thirty some-odd person group seems to have disappeared completely.  We then go through passport control by ourselves like the big kids we are…until we’re waiting on the other side and run into Rob who’s all, “Why didn’t you turn in your phones?”

Grace tried to go back and turn in the phone…but of course, we couldn’t get back through security.

So now my phone is in my backpack…heading back to the states.  Heaven forbid.  Rumor has it, there’s a $20 fee for taking it back.  Of course.

At this point, I’m just crying.  I’m in pain.  I just want to get on the airplane.  But of course, it’s raining and there’s a delay.  It comes time to board and the plane isn’t even there yet.  So I’m using the wireless internet to text my family that I’m getting on the plane soon…when of course…the wireless stops working.  But only on my phone!  So I open up my laptop and email her instead.  HAH!  Beat that!

…Well, it did.  The internet stopped working.  And then my phone shut off and wouldn’t turn back on.  And when it finally turned back on, it wouldn’t start up all the way.  And once it finally loaded all the way, it still wouldn’t connect to the internet.  At that point, we were boarding…so I shut it off and threw it in my backpack.  30 minutes later, I’m on the plane and it’s frozen.  Won’t turn off.  WTF!?!?  So I took out the battery and yelled at it a bit.

Finally, I’m sitting on the plane and a friend and I make a list of movies that we intend to watch during the trip.  I pull out my laptop, pull out my charger, plug it in.  OHP!  The plugs in THIS ROW aren’t working.  *facepalm*

Luckily, I asked a kindly flight attendant, “What’s the what, yo?” and he got it all fixed.  Got through two movies (Lucky Number Slevin and The Losers) before crashing.  And not the plane.  I mean me.  >_>

So as I write this, it’s 5:55am Israeli time…I think…Which would make it 9:55pm Texas time.

No matter how much goes wrong, I can’t help but think that by the end of the day I WILL BE EATING A FILET MIGNON AND SWEET POTATO IN PLANO!

All that’s standing in my way is immigration, baggage claim, customs, rearranging my suitcases somehow, the American Airlines check in counter, rechecking my bags, security, a 6 hour layover, a 4 hour flight, and yet another baggage claim.

LET’S OWN THIS.

HAKUNAH MATATA.

———————————

13 hours later

And so here I sit at gate A32 in Newark Airport.  I made it this far.  Immigration was a breeze, though he claimed I was too cheery at 6:30 in the morning.  Hell, I can’t help it.  I saw a Jamba Juice sign on the way to the immigration stop.  I’M HAPPY, DAMNIT!

Next stop was baggage claim.  If you know me at all, you know that this part is my biggest fear about flying.  I have this deep abiding fear that airlines are going to lose my baggage.  Luckily, after only 30 minutes of wait, my two bags came out one right after the other.  Unfortunately, the smaller of the two is a bit of a cripple now.  It’s got a bit of a gangsta lean and it’s missing a wheel.  Made it a pain in the ass to drag from baggage claim to customs (and then all the way to terminal A and to the ticket counter…).

Despite the loss, I grabbed my bags and ran off to the side to sit down and rearrange some weight.  (However unnecessary it turned out to be…) I found one of my glass artsy cups had shattered in its bubble wrap.  Sad panda.  I had to throw it away, but I took a picture beforehand.  I went through customs, no problem.  (The sniffer dog caught Melissa with an apple…but he didn’t get my pistachios!)  From there, Melissa and I grabbed carts, grabbed the AirTran and headed to terminal A to get our boarding passes for our connecting flights.  We parted ways.  Twas sad.

I got my boarding pass and went to check my bags…they were both about 4 pounds underweight.  WHAT?!  How are they overweight for El Al…but under for American (which has a lower allowance…)?  Guh.  She kind ticket counter lady let me play the weight game and take a good chunk of stuff out of my carry-on…thank goodness.  Quite the load off.  Literally.

So, I went through security again (I find it ridiculous that Israel has one of the best security systems…but we don’t have to take our liquids out or our shoes off) and bought WHEAT THINS and a NutriGrain bar.  With dollars.  o.o  Shocker!  😀

Holy goodness, I can’t wait to be home.  Just 2.25 hours till my plane takes off.  Maybe I’ll watch a movie to pass the time… >_>

——————–

Watched two episodes of Burn Notice while waiting for the plane.  I then played two hours of straight Solitaire while on the plane.  Delightful waste of time.  As it turned out, the plane was running 30 minutes early, so not only did I get home at 3:05pm…but my bags were the FIRST TWO off the carousel.  I think this is karma’s way of apologizing for the rest of the travel time.

And as I sit here, I’m falling asleep sitting up.  It’s past my bedtime at 10:25pm.  >_>  Or is it 6:25am.  I guess that’s up for you to decide…

Author: alisonlcohn

Graduated magna cum laude with a degree in Communications Advertising. Traveled a bit. Taught for two years. Administered aptitude tests for a while. Worked as a Training Associate for Guardian Mortgage and a Quiz Master for Geeks Who Drink. Obtained my Master's in Film, Television and Screen Media in London, England. Now seeking a full-time something-or-other. Nice to meet you!

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