America, F*** yeah!!!
I am back in the USA. What a journey it has been....
It all started yesterday at 10 am Chilean time (I guess about 6 am California time?) when I got to Pudahuel Aeropuerto (Santiago, Chile) to begin my crazily long trip back to the land of chimmichangas, Lincoln Navigators, and Celebrity Fit Club. My first flight was from Santiago to Sao Paulo (Guarulhous), which was weird. It was odd being back in the city that I had lived in for 8 months, but not being able to go anywhere or visit anyone. My flight was delayed 2.5 hours so I spent a total of 4 hours in the airport, speaking Portuguese with people (didn't realize how much I missed it, ay!), eating weird, freeze-dried sandwiches, reading Anjos e Demonios, and chewing Trident azul claro compulsively.
My flight finally took off after 10 pm -- 10 loooooooooong hours to Chicago O'Hare. It was the coldest, most uncomfortable flight ever, and despite downing 2 Tylenol pms, I could not sleep. I kept trying to prop the little airline pillow on my shoulder and then rest my head on my own shoulder, but gravity kept holdin' me back. Dang it!! When I got to Chicago, I was in a daze, and it was weird hearing chatty American voices all around me all of a sudden.
I really knew I was back in the US, litigious land of the free, when I stepped onto the moving sidewalk to go to my terminal, and a recorded voice above me said, "Caution, the walkway is about to end. Please look down." THANKS for that. Later, as I was getting onto the tram, another recorded voice said, "Please do not try to enter tram when doors are closing." Holy mackeral. America, America.
Once in the terminal, I had another 2 hours before my flight to San Francisco, so I tried to check my email ($5 for 15 minutes, whaaaat!!!). As I was sitting there waiting for my gmail to load, a lady with fright bangs came up behind me and said in that special nasal, Chicago-y voice, "Heeeey, you can check your emails here?" I turned slightly, smiled, and said, "yep." She said, "Well, son of a gun! How much does it cost?" I said, a little embarrassed, "Uh, $5 for 15 minutes." She said, "Holy smokes, that's expensive!" Then she stood there and looked over my shoulder for a few uncomfortable seconds before making her merry, Midwestern way down the terminal. Again, holy mackeral.
My flight to San Francisco was uneventful, except that I sat next to an old lady who smelled funky and bit her fingernails. Oof. The light at the end of the tunnel was landing in this beautiful city and seeing my mom waiting for me at the baggage claim, wearing her green velour Juicy-esque sweatpant outfit and BRASIL shirt. I missed her so much! My dad showed up a few minutes later -- he had gone to verify that I was in fact on the plane -- and I was thrilled to see him too. I immediately regaled him with the bottle of Santa Julia Malbec that I had been carrying around with me (from Mendoza) for the last few days -- don't tell, but it only cost me 9 pesos ($3 US)!
We drove back to my grandparents' house, said hi, picked up my cousin Catie, and went for some sushi (f*** yeah!!) on Irving St. Then my mom, my cousin and I hit Stonestown Galleria, where I bought 4 books in English, tried on clothes at Abercrombie, and ordered a blended coffee drink at the Nordstrom Cafe. Yep, I'm home.