Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Crossing the waters- flying home to family

Flying home. First glimpse of North America in six months. Serene, gray-green waterline with a layer of clouds obscuring the landscape like crumble on top of apple crisp, bits of my homeland peeking out between the cotton. I wonder what I’m feeling. This time it’s rather blank. I can’t gather why, but I think it’s because I’ve moved home once before, when I returned from New Zealand. Then it was an event- a breathless return to my old home of Portland. Today I fly into Chicago. I’m entering the city on public transport (the CTA), planning to glide downtown. It feels more like I’m a tourist in my own country. I intend to treat Chicago like any foreign city, and see if I can get a grasp of it, covering the urban sprawl by bicycle, foot and metro.

My first welcome back to the states was in Amsterdam, with the strange coincidence that I was flying through Schipol Airport at the same time as Doug & Phyllis Benson, my mom’s cousins and close family. They were returning to Jamestown, ND via Minneapolis from Olso, and me from Berlin to Chicago. I had a scant sixty minutes between flights, and they had about ninety. We thought perhaps we’d run into each other. On arrival in Amsterdam, I checked the monitors for my departure gate, and our flights were only three gates apart. So it was possible.

After speedwalking the airport halls, zipping through passport control (no questions, even though it would show that I’ve been in Europe for almost two years straight, minus seven days or so), I hurried to my gate, haggard a bit but hopeful that I might see them, watching in case they were walking too.

I neared their gate- passengers were lined up to enter the closed-off secured area. I scoured the line, and just before the gate, spotted Doug and Phyllis! We had less than five minutes, but it was still amazing to see them and take a picture- hard to believe that we managed to meet up. Somehow that made me feel like I really was going home, and I’m glad. Family is important.

Doug and Phyllis first came to visit us in Alexandria, Minnesota after my dad died. They came in a camper with their kids, and brought me along to Doug’s barbershop singing event. I still remember hearing Doug's group sing “Bridge over Troubled Water”… perhaps significant forever. And so, I go home.

(Doug and Phyllis and Sara's Amsterdam Airport Reunion)


Josh and Molly said...

Welcome home! See you in two days! A little someone at my house is eager to see you!

Dee J. said...

That is such a lovely story and what a sendoff to home - kind of like a couple angels waving you on, right?

Scott said...

Welcome home! It's curious and delightful how your travels have been laced with so much serendipity. Nevertheless, nice to be able to share a continent with you (for a while).

Sara said...

Thanks, it's good to be back and I think this one will stick for a while... but first will have to road trip the USA a bit and visit everyone. :)