Friday, August 24, 2012

Two Week Countdown

I'm starting to get really anxious and excited about going home.  I haven't been back to the USA since I moved to Czechland three years ago.  And now, in two weeks I'll be on a jet plane headed back to Atlanta.

Most people can't believe that I haven't been home yet.  But with the time and expense involved it just doesn't make sense to go for a week.  By the time I recover from my jet lag it would be time for me to come back.  Plus people here don't seem to realize just how big the USA is.  Hell!  From Atlanta to Los Angeles is a six hour flight.  And I'm going to visit both.  I'm going to spend 28 days at home which will also be the longest vacation that I've ever had in my entire life. 

But, who's counting?
I'm using airline miles so my flight connections are little odd.  But at least I'm flying business class which will make the journey easier.  Plus with business class I will be able to check in two bags, at 32 kg (70 lbs) each.  That makes for a lot of souvenirs from Europe for my family.  And once my bags have been emptied I will fill them up with necessities for my trip back.  

I figure it will take me about 24 hours to get home to Atlanta.  I start with a 3 AM bus from Brno to the Vienna Airport.  Then it's an Austrian Airlines flight to Paris where I get on an Air France flight to Montréal, Canada.  Apparently, I clear U.S. customs in Canada.  Then it's a Delta flight back home to Atlanta.  The return isn't so crazy but will probably be something like 30 hours with a flight from LAX to Atlanta then on to Paris and back to Vienna30 hours!?!?  That's like flying to New Zealand.

Atlanta Skyline
It will be so good to get back home to the South for a little while.  I'm so ready to hang out with Steven and Michael who I haven't seen since our trip to Paris last year.  After a week then it will be time to catch my flight to Phoenix, Arizona.  Like many Californians, my parents retired to Arizona a few years ago and they now live about 100 miles away in Prescott.  I'm going to visit with them for three or four days and then we are all going to drive to California.  We will visit with my Uncle Kevin for a couple of days.  He wants to take us out to the lake and show us his new boat which will be fun.  I will also go visit my grandmother's grave.

Then it is on to Orange County where we'll stay with my sister and her family.  I can't wait to see everyone.  My niece is now 10 years old so she remembers me.  But my nephew was 1 year old when I left for Europe.  And even though he's seen my on Skype it will be interesting to see how long it takes before the shyness wears off.  While I'm back in California I, for sure, want to hit the beach at least one day and would like to go with the kids to Disneyland or something.  And like every true, born and raised, Southern California boy I plan to make at least a couple of visits to In-N-Out.

Almost a whole month back home sounds like a long time but I'm sure that it will go by quickly.  I will try to see as many people as I can while I'm home.  Steven and Michael are throwing a little welcome home cocktail party in my honor the day after I arrive which I'm super excited about.  I plan to do as much clothes  shopping as I possible can.  Compared to the USA, clothes in Czech Republic are super expensive and the quality isn't as good.  I only plan on taking enough clothes for maybe 3 or 4 days so that I'll have as much room as possible in my suitcases for new stuff.  People here are also hitting me up to bring them back electronics because gadgets here are, at a minimum, 30% more expensive.  I've already placed my order for a new camera which will be $200 cheaper than if I buy it here.

The hard part now is work.  I'm in the process of trying to wrap up as many loose ends as possible so that my stand-ins won't have as much to do.  I'm sure that the next two weeks will fly by which is good because I'm ready to get on that bus to the airport now.

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