As I knew it would, my vacation back home in the states flashed by faster than a modest streaker. But it was pretty close to everything I thought it would be.
I hung out in fabulously interesting Lubbock for about six days, goofing off with the cats and the fam while eating way too much. Mom and I went shopping for some new jeans because my old ones decided to fall off when I wear them without a belt, so now I actually get to wear jeans that fit me. That's exciting. My brother and I took some walks to keep my Jordanian legs in practice (kind of like sea legs, but not), and Jimmy and I pretty much went everywhere together.
We decided to have Christmas Day on Christmas Eve because we were scheduled to leave Lubbock for Raleigh early on Christmas Day. We went to bed early, as Santa refuses to stay up too late these days, and awoke to find that Lubbock had given us our second white Christmas ever. Unfortunately that meant my add-on brother Jimmy had to plow his way across the frozen tundra in his highly ill-equipped vehicle before we started opening presents. Yet safely plow he did, and people were most generous this year.
I received everything I asked for and more, including a pretty fabulous Nook from Barnes and Noble (I had told my father how hard it is to find books here in Jordan, not to mention the outrageous prices of those you can find, so he provided a solution for his reading-on-the-computer-refusing daughter.), an almost complete set of the Charlaine Harris books from Jimsies, a gorgeous dress from mon frere, and numerous other nicities.
During the proceedings, Jimmy and I proceeded to indulge in a bit of Crown Royal and Non-Dairy Egg Nog. Once finished with the presents and now two egg nogs along, we proceeded to down two Hot Toddies each, thus demolishing 2/3rds of the bottle and sending us into unprecedented peals of laughter at only moderately funny things. We watched some movies, the rest of the family laughing more at the two of us than the movie, and then I attempted to pack all of my worldly possessions into two <50 lbs suitcases for the trip to the East Coast. We settled down, and I prepared myself for my last night in Lubbock and thus the last night with my kitties.
We awoke to find that Lubbock was indeed set for a real white Christmas and that American had cancelled our flight out. SO we spent the next day goofing off, watching movies and playing with the furballs before hopping on a plane one day later than expected.
We spent a delightful two days in Raleigh, where I saw my mom's family and got to practice my extremely limited Arabic with my cousin's adorable kids (my immediate family was fairly tired of me practicing it on them and had commenced making fun of me) and then headed to Baltimore for a day and a half to see my father's family. We also played Duckpin bowling, and I got to see my dad fall flat on his face. That was memorable.
Although Mom and Dad were staying an extra couple of days, Jimmy and I conveniently had matching flights back to our respective homes, so I had someone to keep me company for the wait for the plane, which fortunately did not include the nervous breakdown that accompanied my first flight to Jordan. I also did not have an annoying guy from Delta tell me that I wasn't allowed to board the plane without a return ticket from Jordan, so my mom did not have to buy ANOTHER $2,000 refundable ticket. Score.
I had a slight scare as the weather turned nasty in Chicago, but I made it to the Windy City with only a 45-minute delay. Once there, I wandered around the terminal wondering why I didn't have a gate number until the genius that I am figured out that my flight was leaving from the International terminal. I booked it over to that terminal, through security and on to the plane in record time, jumping into my seat a good half an hour before the plane took off, which is excellent for my family's record for missing planes but still cutting it a little close by Royal Jordanian's standards.
And then the highlight of my flight happened. No one sat in the seats next to me! So I slid over a seat and had empty seats on each side of me for the entire flight. Ah, leg room! I slept for seven hours straight. That's the only way to fly.