I've been trying to decide whether is more enjoyable -- the journey across the pond or the journey home. In some ways I vote for the outgoing journey:
- I'm excited about getting a break from childcare and having several days of uninterrupted adult time.
- I've usually been working hard in preparation for leaving, so the relief of just sitting in the airport or on the plane is more acute.
- I usually have several books that I've been saving to read while I'm gone, so breaking into the first one feels like opening the first of all the Christmas presents.
- It's the beginning of the trip, so I'm just excited in general. That first day away feels like the first book -- the first of many exciting days away.
However, this time the journey home felt much more restful.
- It's always more relaxing at the end of the trip. While I'm usually fretting over schoolwork on the outgoing flight, I tend to take a break on the way home, so I can read those non-school books or watch those movies with peace of mind.
- The flight doesn't represent one "night" of sleep, so I'm less concerned about actually getting some sleep, and more able to relax with a fun diversion.
Anyway... coming home was so relaxing this time around. (Come to think of it, it was last March as well. Two blessings in a row!) I was somehow upgraded to Economy Plus, with extra leg room, and then I had the two seats by the window to myself, as the flight was only half-full. The plane was somewhat chilly, so I drank a glass of wine, snuggled under a blanket, relaxed on the window and let the warm morning sun shine on my neck and shoulders. It sounds silly to describe it now, but it was utterly blissful. I did the crossword, dozed, read parts of Stumbling on Happiness and Acedia & Me, and watched the X-Files movie.
Whereas I usually have a long layover in Chicago O'Hare, this time it was a mere 3 1/2 hours, which is actually the perfect length of time to accomplish the following:
- get through Passport Control
- collect my luggage
- get through Customs
- recheck my luggage
- take the train to my next terminal
- realize, once again, that I'm at the wrong terminal to get my next boarding pass; walk to that terminal, collect boarding pass, and walk back
- proceed through security once again (since I left the "secure" area when I left the international terminal)
- locate a Chili's on the way to my Lexington gate, have a burger and check email
- get to my gate with 30 minutes to spare before boarding
This is very doable and stress-free. Which is good, because I inevitably crash sometime around now. By then, it's around midnight England time, and my body's ready to sleep, but I still have several hours before reaching home. But my shorter layover meant that I arrived into Lexington around 9:00, where someone was anxious to regain her mommy. Although I'd mentioned to Billy that they could stay home (as I was delayed until 9:45pm), he said that she was looking forward to "getting my mommy from the big airplane." They watched my plane taxi to the gate, and while Billy collected my bags, I was subjected to the delighted cries, kisses, and snuggles of a Wunchie. The best part of the trip home?
"I missed you so much while you were gone, Momma. So much. So SO much. And then you came back to me!"
No question about it -- arriving is better than departing.