Monday, January 25, 2010

The Longest Trip Home EVER!

I'm finally home after the longest trip home, I've ever experienced! Saturday morning F.B. drove me to the airport around 8:30am. We arrived a little after 9am so he parked the car and we wheeled my luggage to an outdoor seating area where we could spend some more time together before I went into the airport.

Philippines Flag at the airport:

Our last pictures together:

I went into the airport around 10am. My flight to Shanghai China was around 12:20 in the afternoon. Everything went pretty smoothly. I arrived in Shanghai around 3pm. Then I had to go through immigration in China just to reclaim my luggage and go through customs. So odd. I really don't understand why they make you do that if you're just transferring to another airline- it's not like I was staying in Shanghai.

When I finally got my luggage and checked in with American Airlines that's when things started to get a little crazy... first my 6:00pm flight to Chicago had been delayed until 10pm. But even worse the flight to Philadelphia had been canceled for some reason and the only other flight going out was at 6:20am on Sunday morning- when I was supposed to arrive around 12am Sunday. Ugh.

I was stuck in Shanghai China for about 5-6 hours considering I checked in around 4:30-5pm. I exchanged some money so I could buy something to drink. I ended up getting two Gatorade's... not that I could read that they were Gatorade, LOL! But I recognized the logo!

My Shanghai China, Gatorade!

I also got a pretty glass bangle bracelet for 30RMB, which when I converted online it was around $4-5 dollars.

Finally boarded my flight to Chicago around 10pm in Shanghai. It was a 14 hour flight because we had some delays getting off the ground and when landing. We arrived in Chicago around 8:30pm on Saturday. Going through customs was actually a breeze this time for me, no issues at all. I claimed my luggage and then I had to RECHECK IN AGAIN with American Airlines because of the canceled flight. They re booked me for the 6:20am Sunday flight to Philadelphia.

Then because so many people had missed their connecting flights and because it was the weekend and not many flights were going out until Sunday morning American Airlines had to put about half the people on the flight in hotels for the night. They also gave us meal coupons. I had to get some clothes out of my suitcase, but I just re-checked both my bags so in the morning all I would have to do was go to my gate since I already had my boarding pass.

Well, then I had to go outside in the freezing rain in Chicago to wait for a shuttle bus. Since it was late there wasn't many running and you had to look for the shuttle with your hotels name on it, there were so many people waiting for shuttles. It was around 9:30pm by then. There was a man from Shanghai and another girl that were also going to the same hotel I was. The man finally snagged a cab instead and insisted we both come along because it made more sense to share a cab since we were all going to the same hotel. The girl and I were going to split the cost with him, but he paid for the whole cab ride which wasn't too expensive. That was really nice of him!

Finally checked into the Holiday Inn in Chicago around 10pm. I was EXHAUSTED! I only slept maybe 5-6 hours on my 14 hour flight, but I had pretty much already been up for 30+ hours by then! I was kinda freaked out to be staying in a hotel by myself in a city I don't know. I had all the lights on, the TV on. I locked the door and put the luggage rack in front of it, lol! I didn't really sleep at all, because I was checking out at 4:45am. I think I must have had 5 cups of coffee, while I watched CNN, Dirty Jobs & Nancy Grace on TV, lol! And of course had a shower! They had Bath & Body Works products there, how neat is that?! hehe! Coconut & Lime is my Mom's favorite scent, so I took her home the little lotion.

My hotel room in Chicago:

Sunday morning I checked out around 4:45am. I had called down to the front desk at 4am to ask them to call a cab to pick me up at 5am. They did have free shuttle but since the night before hadn't been a great experience of waiting I wanted to take cab. Well... the cab was late and the free shuttle was there and everyone boarding so I just decided to take that to the airport because it was past 5am already and my flight was boarding at 5:50am. As soon as the shuttle was pulling out- the cab shows up... oh well... too late, I was already on the FREE shuttle, lol.

Airport security wasn't too bad that early in the morning on a Sunday. I got through pretty quickly and even got some Starbucks white chocolate mocha coffee (My fav!) and a blueberry muffin. Though after sipping my coffee my hands were shaking from all the coffee I had at the hotel, so I tossed out the rest of my Starbucks (ACK)! When they announced to board the plane, the lady gave a laugh and says, "All 7 passengers can now board the plane!" I've never been on such an empty flight! It was so quiet on the plane ride home.

We arrived early in Philadelphia around 9am instead of 9:20am. My luggage was already waiting by the time I got to baggage claim, since there were only 7 of us on the flight! My parents picked me up around 9:45am and I was finally home after 30+ hours of traveling, I lost track of how many hours everything took considering I went through January 23 TWICE. Once in the Philippines/China and then again in Chicago!

I was feeling pretty disoriented once I was home. It's pretty weird to come home after being away 2 months, living in another country where you develop new habits and a new way of living, etc. Pretty weird to see my room. And my girls! Ack! So weird to see my ratties after being away for 2 months! Saffy & Nutmeg were a little scared of me at first, but Cinnamon looked like she couldn't believe her eyes and Ginger kept sniffing me. Sad though... my Ginger has started getting a small tumor under her left arm. I'm going to have to get it removed probably in February once I get my first paycheck.

I'm due back at work Wednesday at 7am. So just Monday & Tuesday to recover from traveling. My shoulders, back, etc ache sooo bad from traveling! I didn't go to bed around 3pm and I woke up around 12am and did a little unpacking. Now it's almost 2:30 in the morning so I am going back to bed to get some more sleep! I'm supposed to meet F.B. online around 12pm... I miss him so much...

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