Party in the USA

Whew, it's been one heck of a week.  I finished my last class a week ago and then we spent most of last week packing and giving away our stuff to get ready to move back home.  And boy did we have a lot of stuff to give away.  Even after only one year of living in Saudi, there was so much stuff that we accumulated that we just could not or did not need to bring back with us.

Thankfully, we were able to give away or sell almost all of it before we left.  Of all the stuff pictured, we ended up with one small pile left at the end that a friend very graciously hauled to the recycling center for us.  We even managed to give away our leftover dried goods, which means less wasted food!

After packing, repacking, cursing the amount of stuff we have, and weighing our bags half a dozen times we finally got everything packed and ready to go.  Packing and purging stuff wasn't all that was on our mind; we were also still fighting to get all of the "required" documents for Algebra to come home with us.  Steve ended up having to make an impromptu trip to Jeddah on Saturday night to pick up the final papers.

The two flights home certainly were not as bad as they could have been.  The traffic in the Jeddah airport was much lighter than we expected; we thought it was going to be more along the lines of last November when we went to Cairo.  The only hassels we had were the stupid service fees that Lufthansa tacked on to the pet and extra baggage fee.  Lord knows why they need an extra service fee, because the first fee is paying for the service they provide, so it's just a gouging mechanism.  Steve valiantly argued with the check in guy to no avail, but sometimes the fight is more important than the win.  I wouldn't mind as much about extra fees if they would just disclose them from the beginning.

Both of our flights, to Frankfurt and then to Detroit were long and we both only managed to sleep a little.  I spent most of the flights watching movies.  I watched an old episode of Glee, Water for Elephants, Gnomeo and Juliet, and Mary Poppins.  Gnomeo and Juliet was as awful as it sounds, I promise, although it did have a few funny one liners.

In between our two flights we had a seven hour layover in Frankfurt, and I'm disappointed to say that it was mostly miserable.  There wasn't a lounge we could buy into, so we spent the time trying to get some sleep on the not so awesome airport seats.  The airport as a whole was also a bit confusing to get around.  When we first got there, we were trying to get to the food court area, which we could see through the glass windows, but we didn't realize that to get to it, we had to go through security.  Thankfully, the info booth was staffed with helpful workers who pointed us in the right direction.

Overall, Algebra did a great job traveling too.  She was scared almost the entire time, but wasn't overly loud and most people (including the flight attendants) didn't even realize she was on the plane.  After all the hard work that went into getting all of her travel documents in order, not one single person asked to look at them. Not in Jeddah, not in customs, not anywhere.

Since we've been back, we've been enjoying some of the finer aspects of life that weren't available (or at a reasonable price) in Saudi, like this tasty egg sandwich made with an English muffin!

We also went to see Harry Potter yesterday, and it was totally worth the extra wait!