Monday, September 11, 2006

Coming Home

Our journey home proved to be long and testing.

We left early Sunday morning, before the sun came up. After saying goodbye to grandma and grandpa, my dad, his two older brothers and me packed our luggage in the van and headed for Chiang Kai Shek International.Our first flight was from Taipei to Osaka, where we had an excruciating 9 hour layover. We took turns napping, getting food, reading, putting coins in the massage chairs, and doing sudoku puzzles. Only after 7 hours did I realize that they had free wireless in the airport. The time would have gone a lot faster if I had discovered this earlier . . .

From Osaka, we crossed the International Date Line to Honolulu, Hawai'i (you pronounce EVERY vowel). After 7 hours on a plane full of Japanese tourists, the smell of fresh air upon arrival was welcome. We passed through customs, hopped on a city bus, and headed for Waikiki Beach.

What a way to end the trip: sitting on a sunny beach, warm sand under my feet, and a cool breeze blowing across my face. I jumped in the water and tasted the salty water on my lips. After a couple of hours on the beach, we walked to the bar and grabbed some food. Having eaten mostly vegetarian meals for the past nine days, we both ordered steak. We took in the beach scenery as we sipped on Hawaiian cocktails and inhaled the salty air.

Our next flight threatend to end the good mood that we were in. After reaching the mainland, our captain came on the PA and informed us that we would be making an emergency stop in Phoenix. Apparently, a woman was experiencing some medical problem during the flight, so we had to drop her off. This only made me more anxious to get home.

After another two and a half hours in the air, we touched down in Minneapolis. Our luggage arrived and we drove home. A hot shower and some breakfast was my way of kissing the ground.