Dear sweet baby Jesus, it is good to be home.
As much as I obviously love travel and the expat life (reference The List), there is truly something magical about being home …not to mention human contact.
Since I’ve been a weird reclusive loner for the past 4 months, I’m so enjoying reconnecting with friends and family.
And a word on the actual travelling itself:
By God I love to fly. Firstly, airports. There is so much with which to entertain oneself- trying on 19 different creams in Duty Free! Drinking 7 consecutive coffees! Lounging on the floor reading magazines at The Newsstand and not buying a single thing! I’ve been chastised by diligent employees for that last one more times than you might expect. It also plays a substantial role in my unfortunate habit of arriving at the gate last, just as the doors are about to close. Sometimes a girl just gets lost in a Vanity Fair, you know what I mean? I suppose it’s incredibly fortunate that I possess this rather unwarranted affection for airports; in this most recent trip, I spent a hearty 9 hours in the Tokyo airport. I was 2 flights in at that point and still not even halfway through the journey, so this inborn airport cheer helped me not do things like throw babies, etc.
And if airports receive this kind of praise, imagine my frenzied euphoria inside the actual plane. (Note: this applies exclusively to international flights; see: free wine, warmed Moist Towelettes, and 12 meals within 15 hours.) The flight from Tokyo to LAX was housed in one of those impossibly gigantic planes- 9 seats in a row. A sweet, sweet blessing from heaven placed me in a row of 5 seats with just one other woman; no doubt it’s needless to say that she and I behaved exactly as though we had found ourselves at a particularly appealing sleepover, bouncing jubilantly in our seats and gushing wildly at our good fortune (“I’M SO HAPPY!”). In the most seasonally-appropriate fashion, it was a very ‘Buddy-the-Elf’ moment. Or several moments.
This arrangement called for, begged even, creative body positioning. There would be no bent necks in barely reclined seats on this flight, oh no. You know what I’m talking about: an unruly and uncertain knee jammed into the seat back pocket, a jaunty ponytail sloping into the aisle, to be grazed and tangled by every passerby en route to the bathroom. I even once awoke with my seatbelt, not low and tight across the hips as urged by the flight attendants, but slung, Rambo-style, from below the waist to above opposite shoulder, affording me, certainly, a reduced-calorie serving of protection with an extra-generous helping of potential strangulation. The aftermath of these endeavours by my neighbor and I indeed strongly resembled a junior high slumber party; all 5 pillows and blankets were utilized and irrevocably entangled amongst plastic cups, rogue salt & pepper packets, and a few of those discarded towelettes.
For all the lying (laying? I don’t even know) down I did, I actually slept very little. In the Bangkok airport, I had picked up Gregory David Roberts’ Shantaram. On initial inspection, this choice seems idiotic at best- the book itself weighs in at an approximated 27,000 pounds. The points lost in heft, however, were made up for a thousand times over in content- it’s a story so exquisite and enthralling you want to, like, lick the pages to absorb it more fully. So tell me, which books do you like licking?