Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Back in the States

I have been back in the States for exactly one week now. And it feels good. It's like I have become hyper-aware of all things American. And super proud and happy of the support towards soldiers. I love seeing cars with ribbons on them, and houses with flags flying out front.

There were a few highlights of the trip. First one was meeting someone who had served with SFC Paul Smith. I was waiting to get on my plane in Frankfurt, and I noticed a man with a memorial wristband bearing Smith's name, so I approached the man and asked him about it. He said that Paul Smith had been one of his best friends and they had served together. And then he mentioned that their brigade (I am not sure on the details of the exchange anymore) was kind of like the sunnyboy of the units in Iraq until the week SFC Smith was killed, they had suffered no causualties. And they lost 9 guys, 8 from his company (the guy I was talking to), in the span of 5 days. I didn't know much else what to say, but I thought it was pretty cool to have met someone who had known Smith.

The second highlight was getting select for random testing on my hand luggage, and the lady swiping my backpack with the testing pad, putting it into the machine and an alarm sounding which said: "Explosive Traces Present." I just laughed, kind of amazed, and the woman then looked at me and said they had been having problems all morning with the machine and that she knew I didn't have anything, and waved me on my way. Let's just say that didn't incease my opinion of those stupid security checks at airports. Obviously she had been doing her own version of racial profiling, because so far no Anglo-Saxon blondes have blown up airplanes, but still...just shows how stupid those random checks are.

Third highlight was going through customs with my two charges: two 14 year-old German girls on their first trip to America: my cousin's daughter and her best friend. The customs official asked me why the girls weren't American. I replied: um, because they are German. And he was all discombobulated. And then I realized what was wrong, and I said: ooooooh, they are not MY children. And he then looked relieved, and he said, yeah, I was wondering with the birthdates. And I said: oh, you mean, because they are Irish twins? And he replied, yes. Anyways, because we 3 girls were all giggling and laughing at him about thinking that I was their mother, he stapled the visa waiver of one of the girls into the other's passport, and then when he realized that he got even more flustered. And when we walked away from the booth, we realized that he had forgotten to fingerprint and photograph one of the girls. So, basically, 14 year-old German girls can slip through certain procedures of the Patriot Act.

All in all an interesting trip, and I am extremely happy to be home in the good old US of A!

7 Comments:

Blogger Teresa said...

How wonderful! I hope you are having a fabulous time... sure sounds like it. *grin* Wish I was closer, I'd treat you and the girls to dinner out.

4:12 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Welcome home.

10:33 PM  
Blogger Jen said...

Some day I'll have to tell you the story about going through security at the Stuttgart airport and the discovery of a certain something in my suitcase that doesn't translate well in German. :)

1:32 AM  
Blogger katiedid said...

I hope you have a great time back here in the US, and that you and your cousins enjoy your time. Have a blast!

2:16 AM  
Blogger unknownchum said...

Welcome back -
Your re-entry story makes me think of the time my best college friend and I were leaving Paris a couple of years ago...The baggage check guy reversed our passports. I noticed that the final security checker was looking a bit quizzical, but we must have looked innocent, or maybe it was the fact that we both have brown hair.

4:34 AM  
Blogger AlliCadem said...

The security people in Stuttgart took away my wine opener and my tweezers, saying *best German accent* "We do not allow those things to fly on Luftansa."

I got my passport issued to me in Turkey from the American consulate. It looks like I bought it on the black market. Seriously. Everyone FREAKS out when they see it and they ask me a barrage of questions. I always have to show like three more IDs every time I produce my passport.

Welcome back to the USA! Here's what you need to do: Go to Walmart on Sunday at 3am. It's SWEET. (For all of you who don't know what I am talking about, you can't buy shit on Sunday in Germany. Hell, after 4pm on a regular day, everything is closed!)

6:44 PM  
Blogger Blaez said...

Welcome home! Wish I was closer to Cali so I could take you out for lunch or a movie... Anyways.

Welcome back and hope your vacation is great.

6:09 PM  

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