Sooner or later I’ll get caught up. In the meantime, I plod forward...albeit backward.
So I left off roughly at the Louisville airport the day after Christmas. I’d been checking the storms online and it wasn’t clear how bad the winter weather was going to impact our travel. We did need to travel through Minneapolis and that was some cause for concern. They are generally good at dealing with winter weather but one never knows since many of the connecting flights were coming in from other stormy places.
One thing that I’ve noticed about traveling with an infant/toddler, particularly with a ticket originating from Africa, is that check-in is normally a 45 minute affair minimum – not including the wait in line. There is some stupid rule about requiring a paper ticket. There is a lack of awareness about where or what Burundi is. There is often something about the way the ticket was prepared. There is occasionally something about them using a new system or whatever.
This time was no different. It took close to an hour and the woman worked very hard to figure out our situation. We were apparently able to get to Minneapolis but not from there to Boise. It’s a very long story but the challenge was to get to my sister’s by the next night for the big family gathering. It didn’t look promising. Ultimately we decided that we’d be better off getting to Minnesota and then take our chances on getting a flight from there to Idaho.
|Americans and Aussies|
We said our farewells to Steve and Liz and by around 11pm we were in Minneapolis. Once there we spent another hour or so trying to figure out our flights for the next day. It was finally decided that we’d have to go on separate flights in order to get there before evening. Wearily we caught a shuttle to the hotel. We’d only be there about 5 hours but it was worth it for a bed and a shower.
There’s a stereotype about earnest, happy and friendly people in this part of the US. I have to say, I think it’s generally true. The cheerful man at the airport was all that and so was anyone else that we encountered.
After a short night, we dragged ourselves back into the shuttle, to the airport, to our separate flights and on to God’s country.
|Either my dad or Yaser Arafat|
When we arrived, I was still ill and Priya arrived with bad headache that caused her to miss most of evening number one. We weren’t off to a great start.
|the family headed down Brundage Mtn.|
Nonetheless, once in Idaho things move pretty quickly, as they always to for us when were there on vacation. Events are tightly packed into a short span of time that requires lots of driving, changing towns and, I should say, lots of fun.
|Kylie and mum|
Stop number two was McCall. It’s sort of Idaho’s 2nd ski resort after Sun Valley. Two of my sisters have condos there now so it appears that our family is migrating in that direction for our mountainous activities. The next three days were spent sledding, skiing and hanging out with family. The weather was cold, obviously, but nothing like the temperatures the year before.
|Kiran and mum|
Afterwards it was off to Kimberly to spend time with my parents. I always enjoy going there and it was a nice, relaxing couple of days. Then it was back up to Boise where we finished our time in Idaho and prepared for our return, shopped, etc.
On the way back we had a full day stopover in the Netherlands. Some friends of ours that we met in Burundi now live in the Hague. We were a bit jet-lagged but we took a short nap and then we spent an enjoyable afternoon bicycling around town and having a nice early dinner before heading back to the airport.
|a good day on the mountain|
Upon our return to Burundi the following morning, I went straight to work. Our offices are on the way to town from the airport and I thought it made sense just to dive in. I’m not a good sleeper so it turned out to be a wise thing. I made it until late afternoon and then went home a bit dazed.
|Kiran and Priya in the Portland airport|
Now several weeks later, it seems like ages ago. Definitely a world away. Nonetheless, we’re happy to be home and into our routines. As snowstorms batter the US, we go to sleep with the fan on and make our weekly trips to the beach. The good job, good friends and good climate are enough to keep us here for a while longer.
|cycling in the Hague|