Well, all good things come to an end sometime, even my much-anticipated R&R.
After the initial flight hiccup I ended up with a first-class seat on the way home. I've always wanted to have a first class ticket on an overnight flight. Since this was likely going to be my only chance I psyched myself and wasn't able to sleep a wink. Mostly I stayed up thinking 'Wow, first class! This is so fancy!' I arrived home exhausted after 1 full day of travel, 2 cover-to-cover airline magazines, 3 flights, 4 in-flight movies and more hours than I care to think about waiting in line with my obnoxiously non-rolling carry-on bag. (That's the last time I make that mistake...)
Back in the States I accomplished almost everything on the list I've been working on pretty much since I landed in January. I bought clothes and sailing gear. I got my eyes tested (both nearsighted and farsighted! I didn't see that one coming). I slept in, I ate a bagel (one of the very few not readily available items in Nigeria), I walked my beloved dog.
Definitely the biggest event while I was back (in fact it was the reason I planned my R&R when I did) was my grandparents' 60th anniversary reunion. They did an amazing job planning and managed to invite basically everyone we've ever been related to, ever. Only a few family members didn't make it and most of them had pretty good excuses (those who didn't - You know who you are and you're in big trouble.) It was really the chance of lifetime for somebody who doesn't live near family to actually see people. I've been out of state since I graduated from high school and I had no idea how much I've missed. There were babies everywhere! And kids that were babies the last time I saw them were taller than me! I guess it's my turn to feel old. Who knows when we'll all get together again, but I'll be looking forward to it.
After all the good times with family I finished off my trip with a week-long training class back in the DC area. For those in the know the class was "Crash-Bang" and it was everything I hoped it would be. It was equal parts exciting, empowering and sobering and I learned a ton - hopefully skills I'll never need but would be grateful to have if trouble strikes.
I rounded off the trip with whirlwind 24 hours in DC. I walked the key bridge and had a mega-nostalgia moment remembering all the moments, big and small, I've had nearby. In many ways DC is becoming almost as much a home to me as the Midwest - kind of scary thought! I managed to squeeze in a barbecue and met up with several good friends. Sadly I couldn't see everyone but maybe next time.
Naturally since I just got back to post I'm planning my next trip out of the country. Stay tuned, it's coming sooner than you'd think! (And much sooner than I realized...)