Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Way Back to the U.S.

It rained decently and for longer than 30 minutes for the first time since I had arrived in Israel the day that I left Be'er Sheva for the airport. It was cloudy and misty most of the day and really started raining shortly before I left.

Heather, one of the girls on my program, had the same flight as I did. She also had an Israeli boy friend who was going to drive us to the airport so that we didn't have to shlepp our bags on the train and such. That was nice, but his car was smaller than she thought and we traveled the hour - hour and fifteen minutes to the airport covered with suitcases.

We got to the airport basically at the right time to get through security (they did the standard questions and also asked me about one of my suitcases, I assume to make sure that I knew its contents) without problem, look in a few stores, get an overpriced dinner, and wait at our gate for about 30 minutes before boarding started.

The El Al plane was nice and my 12 hour flight between 12:05 a.m. in Israel and 5:20 a.m. in Newark went relatively quickly. The food was good and we had plenty of options for movies. I only slept for about 5 hours though, which while not horrible, still left me tired.

In Newark, we went through Customs which was opened at that time only for the El Al flight with a bunch of confused Israeli Jews trying to figure out what to do, which was even more interesting with my welcome to the United States: English signs, English Christmas music, and Christmas music :-). I said goodbye to Heather and then dragged my huge suitcases to the next terminal to check in to my flight. My American Airlines flight to St. Louis though was not until 11:00 a.m. so I decided to see if there was an earlier flight that I could get on. There was and I flew standby at 8:30 a.m. which allowed for a much more reasonable layover.

Security stopped me in Newark and searched me and my bags, which was kind of amusing since all they saw were things in Hebrew and some souvenirs from Israel. I made it back to St. Louis on the standby ticket with one of my bags. One of the bags though didn't make it out of Newark until the next flight so American brought it by my house when it got to St. Louis.

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