Home for the Holidays

It has been too long since I’ve updated my blog, and I attribute much of that to being out of the country over a month. Much has happened that I would love to share, but I will try and space it out so as not to overwhelm any readers.

My first trip for my holiday vacation was home to Texas, and I had a little bit of a scare when getting ready to fly. The day before I was meant to leave, I was teaching one of my last classes and informed by a student how her fiancé had had to rush to the airport to change tickets for his parents to leave that day before a strike at the airport started. It sounded ridiculous to me at first, then I began to find out that there was, indeed, a planned strike at the airport.

There had been a previous strike on Chile’s national holiday earlier in the year, which grounded several flights and upset thousands of passengers. People were stuck and the airport was a mess. I read about how airlines were now offering their passengers a chance to change their tickets to different days, thus avoiding the 48 hour strike that was about to happen. Because of this, the flight I was supposed to take filled up instantly, and I nearly panicked.

My situation was a tad different because I didn’t have a normal ticket. I was only flying standby, waiting for an open seat. This was the worst news to me, because there was a possibility of all the passengers from two days of flights filling up the rest of the flights leading up to Christmas. I just wanted to go home!

Miraculously, the strike in December was not joined by the air traffic controllers, and international flights were still planning to take off and land on schedule. It was advised, however, to get to the airport 4-5 hours early, as there were less employees and a likelihood of crazy long lines. I registered for a shared cab, which would pick you up an hour and a half before the time you wanted to be at the airport. This is to ensure that all its passengers get to the airport on time. When the cab picked me up, however, it only had one other passenger and then went straight to the airport, leaving me there an hour earlier than planned. Needless to say, I felt like I spent my entire day at the airport, unable to even check in yet, waiting around and passing the time.

Then, hooray! All my stress was gone as I boarded that plane and enjoyed, yet again, business class! I couldn’t believe that just 24 hours before I was crying over the fact that I might get stuck in Chile for Christmas. The song that kept playing in my head over and over was Perry Como’s There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays.

And indeed there isn’t. Home sweet home…there was no place I’d rather have been.

When I first arrived in the DFW airport, I was juggling a bunch of things in my hands while waiting for my luggage in baggage claim. That’s when I first realized that I could put my phone in my back pocket again. I did it slowly, suspicious of my surroundings…is this really ok? Yes, I’m in Texas. Oh that feels good:)

The strangest part was going to a public place like Starbucks, where my best friend Laura first took me after I arrived. Being able to understand everything that everyone who was speaking with no extra effort on my part…it was weird! I even had a full blown conversation with the barista just because I could. I didn’t have to prepare myself to order in Spanish – it was way too easy.

And of course, I got a pumpkin spice latte. I’d been dying to have something pumpkin, and I promised my roommate I’d bring pumpkin from the states because they just don’t have the same pumpkin in Chile. Pumpkin pies, pumpkin muffins, iced pumpkin cookies, pumpkin spice lattes…I just couldn’t get enough. I still have yet to prepare something for the Chileans to try, so update on that later.

It was incredible to see friends and family again. I appreciate all of you back home who made an effort to see me! The weirdest part now is knowing that I’ll be gone even longer this time. I got rather comfortable at home, and then just before leaving, I couldn’t get over the fact that I would be gone for 7 months! 7 months without seeing my family, my friends, anything from Texas. Of course, I love this opportunity I have to live abroad for a year, and sometimes I can’t believe I’m actually doing it, but the idea of not seeing a person for over half a year is kind of crazy. It was really sad saying goodbye.

I love you familia!!

P1000641

Cuidense. Les amo. Besos.

Also, yes, I am wearing fuzzy Christmas socks in that photo. Cozy, warm feet is a must!

Hugs,
Heidi

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