US Visit Part 1: Home Sweet Home
The time finally came. My first trip back to the US since moving to Sweden. We had grand plans of doing some shopping and seeing everybody and eating everything working out regularly and this and that... We stretched ourselves thin of course. There just wasn't enough time. We were going to do our best though.
The flights weren't so bad. Swedie handled it like a champ. She was 6 months pregnant at the time of the trip. It was actually good to have the layovers (Amsterdam and Atlanta) so she could move around a bit. Atlanta was the first stop in the US so you have to deal with customs. I swear the people in US Customs have the social skills of a rattlesnake. There's the short angry fat lady that rolls her eyes after "helping" you to the next line. Then the phone nazi.
- Sir! You see the sign! No cell phone or camera! Put yo camera away!
Jeez. Welcome to America! Poor guy getting yelled at like that in front of everybody. I made sure not to take my phone out though. The oddest thing was that there was no smell. It's like it was sterile in there. That's kind of understandable I guess, but I took note of it. So we go through and get our bags and go into the airport for the final flight to Miami. Finally. We went from the sterile nothingness of customs into the food court of the airport. It hit me immediately. Fried! Something was fried. Something was fatty. I'm HOME! I couldn't decide where to go first. The fat boy in me was turning backflips. I wanted a burger. A really greasy burger. Some fries maybe. So many decisions. What do I get? A wrap. I got a freaking wrap. It was delicious, but not greasy or fried. What was I thinking? ESPN was playing on the TV inside the restaurant. They were talking about football! Man. This was going to be great. I finished my healthy wrap and beer with a smile on my face.
We got to Miami and one of my best and oldest friends came to pick us up. She and her husband always take care of us when we come home. I can never thank them enough. Now was going to be different because now they have a daughter that I hadn't met yet. She's adorable! We caught up for a bit and then went to dinner. Our to do list included a trip to Olive Garden. Check! Braised beef tortelloni. Check! I called my aunt and set up for breakfast. She was going to make me some fish and grits! If you don't know about fish and grits, you need to find out about it. It's delicious! I tried watching some Thursday Night Football, but my body was not having it. That comfortable couch swallowed me up. Eventually, my boy told me to go to bed. I finished my beer (it's the right thing to do) and went to bed.
We woke up and went to breakfast at my aunt's house. My phone told me it was 26ºC (79ºF). Yes Swedish readers. It was that hot in November. I needed to buy some shorts. We'd have to go shopping after breakfast. My aunt hooked up some delicious fish and grits. I ate until I was completely stuffed. Then I snuck a little bit more in just in case. My crazy aunt talked at an unreasonably high volume as usual. She loves to laugh and I love to make people laugh so we have always been a match made in heaven. I told jokes and she laughed and made me repeat them so she could laugh again. She gave us clothes for our unborn child as well. She's so sweet.
We went shopping and I realized why our Swedish friends all shopped so much when they visited us in the past. Everything is CHEAP! I couldn't believe it! Of course it was the week before Thanksgiving, so stores were gearing up for Black Friday, but man this was amazing. I guess I took it for granted. I had lost weight since moving to Sweden (their airport doesn't smell fried), so I really needed some clothes. My pants were literally falling off of me. This shopping spree was fun. Swedie was too pregnant to do clothes shopping, but that didn't stop her from getting accessories. Spending money never felt so good!
Of course we made the rounds. I saw my grandmother who tried to feed me fish and grits again. She had made some blankets for the baby. They are so nice. I don't think she got the memo that we are having only one child. She made enough blankets for the Wu-Tang Clan. She must have started making them a couple of years ago. We saw a few of my cousins. I definitely had to see my favorite uncle. He's like a father to me. We had planned to go to a Dolphins game while I was home. The weekend was filled with visits, shopping, good food, alcohol, card games and music. I love my family and I love my city. Unfortunately this leg of the trip was near over. We had to attend my brother's wedding ceremony in Georgia on Monday (3rd time's a charm). That's a seven hour drive, so Sunday night we'd have to leave.
Sunday came around and it was Dolphins game day. Swedie had never been to a live game before. She was excited. She had a shirt and everything. She was so cute with her baby belly rooting the team on. The game was good. I guess the seats are very comfortable because I saw three separate people sleeping at the game. How do you do that? One guy slept through the entire stadium doing the wave four or five times. The game was exciting. Miami did what they always do. They fought a close match and found a way to lose in the end. It came down to the last second of the game. It was a good game to go to. Especially for Swedie's first. It was also my uncle's first game. I couldn't believe that. I'm glad I got to share that with him.
Almost immediately after the game, we headed up to Georgia. We were an hour away from our destination when my brother got pulled over for speeding. Then we found out that his license expired in 2009. He argued with the cop that he was allowed to do that since he's military. This only got dumber and more frustrating, trust me. In the end, the cop was right and my brother was wrong (imagine that) and he had to give his license to the cop. So his fiancé had to drive the rest of the way. I just sat in the back seat shaking my head. It turns out, his fiancé drives like a blind stuntman. So in my mind, I knew that I was going to have to make that loooong drive to Maryland after the wedding. And I hate driving. Until next time...