Coming Home (Part One)

Home!
It’s 8:38a.m. I’m drinking coffee in my own mug at the kitchen table. I’m eating frozen waffles.

I’m home.

I really need this coffee… and I really need to sleep. While in hostels, I got in the terrible habit of not sleeping through the night. My friend called it “power-napping” across Europe – I became so used to people coming in the dorms late, leaving early, snoring, talking in their sleep (“It’s not mine” was a great line in Lisbon), and as I’m a smart-phone carrying social media addict at home, the fact that most e-mails from New York and California rolled in between midnight and 3a.m. meant when I did wake up, I rolled over and read.

Last night I went to bed around 11:30p.m., was awake around 2, awake again from 4:30 to 7:00. I finally fell asleep. A telemarketer called at 8:18 and caused my dogs to howl at the moon, so here we are. Coffee and waffles, and a return to the blog.

I’m supposed to be going to the gym right now to retain whatever backpacker’s physique I got myself the past four months (and I say whatever because I’m slightly confused by it). In college, I managed to pack on twenty pounds junior year and gain four pants sizes (thats 4x the 2s you count by per size). I hopped on the scale last night fully knowing I was down a pant size, and thinking “way less fat + a little muscle = five pound loss to even.”

This just in – I gained eight pounds.

Built. Like. A… Rock?

If rocks could turn to mush over time.

I hate the gym. I hate the gym. I hate the gym.

Anyway, let’s go back to the 24 hours of travel that got me to this kitchen table.

I left my Barcelona hostel at 7a.m. for my 10:10 flight, got to the airport and only got checked through to Phoenix. Nothing I can’t handle. After customs, I’d pick up my last boarding pass and recheck my bag, which, let’s face it, is only checked at this point so I didn’t have to give up Pele’s knife. I imagine whoever cleans the hostel was confused to find trashcans with every article of secondhand-turned-backpacking clothing no one would ever want to wear again. All shirts, all jeans, gone. Really, Pele’s knife, my new socks and the duck scarf made it out of Europe. I grabbed an Egg McMuffin, wandered the Duty Free shop, bought a Mega-Size bag of Choco M&M’s because I still swear they’re better and decided that was a good souvenir for four kids at home.

Made it to London a few hours later a-okay.

3.5 hour layover in London, and my mind is being blown. You know when Mel Gibson realizes he can read women’s thoughts in What Women Want?

For the first time in four months, outside of hostel life and just as a solo walker, I could understand every conversation going on around me. Voices were amplified. I was unintentionally eaves-dropping on everything, and it was blowing my mind.

The Daily Mail, December 16, 2011 - "While many chaps have positive attributes, the majority are deeply flawed. In fact, in a study of 2,000 women, most ranked their partner as only 69% perfect." Oh no, not me. I work hard for this - I'll settle for nothing less than a C- of a partner.

I had a long flight ahead of me and grabbed a bagel sandwich. It came with a mince pie.

At the gate for my flight to Phoenix, a British man a few seats down called to me. “You dropped your passport.”

I laughed and told him how I’d just backpacked for four months and wouldn’t that just be awful if now I lost my passport. We talked at length about where I’d been, what I’d done, where he’d been… He says he was visiting his friend in Phoenix.

“He feels bad. I can always go see him, my job and jobs over here give you so much holiday, but his job only gives him ten vacation days a year. He can never make it.”

He lists where he’s been in the States – more than me – and said he and his buddy met in New York. “In a little city called Syracuse.”

Hey, I know that city! I tell him I went to school there and we laughed at the small, small world it is.

"A study suggests those who display a bulldog spirit might be the ones favoured by evolution. That is to say, the more a man believes a woman will fancy him, the more likely he is to try it on and therefore 'get lucky' and procreate. The report concludes that if a man is hugely attracted to a woman, the chances are she's not interested."

My flight from London to Phoenix would be ten hours and forty-six minutes long.

We took off an hour late. It was a long twelve hours that pretty much went like this:

Hour one: Sleep.

Hour two: Read awesome U.K. paper.

Hour three: Eat lunch of chicken, potatoes, chocolate mousse and salad. Consider that I haven’t done much movement since Egg McMuffin followed by holiday bagel sandwich and mince pie. I feel gross. Contemplate this for awhile.

Hour four and five: Watch Friends with Benefits. Watch Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis. Imagine neither of them ate an Egg McMuffin followed by a holiday bagel sandwich and mince pie followed by airplane chicken and potatoes and chocolate mousse. They’re so beautiful.

Hour six: Sleep.

Hour seven and eight: Watch Crazy, Stupid, Love. Watch Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. Imagine neither of them ate an Egg McMuffin followed by a holiday bagel sandwich and mince pie followed by airplane chicken and potatoes and chocolate mousse.

Hour nine: Sleep.

Hour ten: Wonder when I’ll outgrow drooling in my sleep. Oh and look, they just gave me a chicken caesar sandwich and a muffin. Am I eating feelings? No… No. Just eating because it’s there. God, I feel gross.

Landed.

Part two to come. I need to go to the gym. Besides, I can take as long as I want with this post or too soon you all get to hear about “That time I went to Target.”

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