We were down to our last week in the UK for who knows how long. We met up with many of Chris’ friends and had wonderful sunny barbecues. Time has already taken its toll on my memory as I don’t have specifics. But I do remember that last day when John snapped a photo of us with all our luggage–the only possessions which would be with us for the unforeseeable future–tears were shed, and we were dropped off at a hotel.
There was a sunset, and a final taking stock as what we had just done began to finally set in. We were leaving. I can still remember the slight despair and fear.
Chris had us up at 4 am to catch the first shuttle. I had a mouthful of yoghurt to try and settle my stomach against the barrage of coffee I knew was to follow.
I must take a moment to say–if you have never pre-cleared immigration, go to Ireland and fly to the US. You arrive and stand in line smelling fresh, fairly rested and only slightly nervous. I didn’t have my 7+hours on a plane to panic and think of what to tell immigration officers “Please sir, let me back into ‘my’ country, and my totally legit husband who will NOT be working here”. Nicest USA immigration officers EVER. The only small hitch was there was no picture of our luggage, so we were ushered into a small room to wait while they found our bags (which weren’t lost) and watched a strange cartoon. Also, we eavesdropped on an interesting conversation of a woman with a green card but lived in London–the officer was not pleased but his message wasn’t getting across to her. I often wonder whether she chose to live in the USA with her son and keep her green card, or forfeited it and lived in London some more…who knows?
Its not a terrible flight from Ireland to the East Coast. Short, and I feel like every flight I take now a days is shorter than those from my youth. Either I perceive time differently, or air planes have drastically improved…I hope its a combination of the two. I watch chick flicks and Chris watches action movies (so stereotypical, I apologize). Syncing up to watch a scifi together is pretty torturous as someone is always ahead of the other and either laughs or gasps giving away whatever climax to the other.
When we land, we stroll out with the domestics, hug my mom and dad and begin a long drive fueled by sweets and pho. Welcome to America. And Freedom.