*For the next two weeks, this blog will become “This is Miami” instead of “This is Beirut”..but not before I talk about my flight back home..
I arrived at Rafic Hariri International Airport with only one friend to see me off..You know, it was 2:30 a.m on a Friday morning, how could I have expected more friends to come with me? I mean, it was a working and school day the following day..people have to get their sleep.
But that didn’t seem to stop everyone else!!..Families and friends swarmed around loved ones showering them with love..food..and gifts up until the last minute..It really was so sweet to watch..
Check-in and passport control went quite smoothly.. I wasn’t asked a barrage of questions like I was anticipating..the most exciting thing probably being the herd of leggy Eastern European models that sauntered past everyone - naturally attracting stares (from men) and glares (from women). They looked as if they had just left a fashion show or photo shoot..fully made up and with their hair done..I suppose these types of things are normal, as many of the flights to Europe coming out of Rafic Hariri Int’l Airport leave in the weeee hours of the morning.
We boarded the plane and I suddenly became very happy that I had decided to change my seat from an isle to a window at the last minute..Although I was given a seat in the last row of the plane..I was the only one that had a whole row to myself!
And it was the same on the second leg of my flight as well..except this time, almost everyone had a row to themselves..I really was surprised at how empty the flight was from Rome to Miami..these airlines must really be operating and such a massive loss! In any case, it makes such a difference to be able to relax comfortably and really sleep on a long flight..it’s probably why I feel so good now..
Aside from having extended leg room, the other highlight of the flight was when the crew members of Alitalia handed out delicious gelato..not some gelatinous desert or tasteless cake..but delicious Italian gelato..I was in heaven!
As was to be expected US Customs and Immigrations officials made up for the lack of questions I was asked at the airport in Beirut..I’ll spare you with the details, but let’s just say I felt like I had been subjected to an hour long interrogation! Exhausted and sweaty..I came away from it scot-free, it probably helped that I was traveling in my birthday, and was even able to keep my Lebanese sweets that I had packed for my family!!
Speaking of those sweets, they were quite popular with everyone..especially with my Step Father whose grandparents are Palestinian..and even with my brother and sister who had never tried them before!
I can’t even begin to describe how it felt to be in my father’s arms at the airport,,or how it felt to watch my brother and sister running down the driveway with “Happy Birthday balloons” when they saw me pull up, or how it felt to hug and kiss my best friend – my Mom – and my grandparents after 9 long months..
Let’s just say, I’m so happy to be home..