It’s really not a small world after all

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Many moons ago, when I first moved to Norway and telephone calls were much too expensive for my budget, I was forced to write letters. Sit down, put pen to paper and write. That however, was not the hardest part. It was the waiting. It could take weeks, sometimes months to receive a letter in return. I felt far away, isolated, living in a garden of exile.

Facebook, FaceTime, Skype and Messenger are what now connect me (and everyone else) with the outside world. They enable us to feel close to people far away, which in turn makes the world seem smaller.

After living twenty-seven years in Norway, my husband and I recently bought a condo in my home state of New Jersey. The plan is to use it as a vacation home. Fly back and forth several times a year. Most of my family and a lot of my friends live there. Plus three Grandchildren! The condo is located at the Jersey Shore, about 25 minutes from the beach and two hours from NYC. Just perfect! Happy! Happy! Me.

But… Nothing is ever easy!

We just got back from our first mini-vacation to our new place and this is how it went…

We had a one hour drive to the airport (early in the morning). Fifty minute flight to Oslo. One hour wait before boarding. The flight across the Atlantic took approximately seven hours. We landed at 1:30pm in Newark NJ. Not bad.

I have a US passport, my husband has a Norwegian one. He has always been able to follow me through the US Citizens only line, at the Customs and Border Protection counter. Not anymore. Instead, we could either split up or both go through the Non US Citizens line. Knowing I’d have to wait for him anyway, I went with him.

The Non US Citizens line was long and slow. It took crawling at a snails pace, forever, to see why. Out of fifteen counters there were only four open. People were yelling to the officers guarding the line that they were missing their connecting flights. Babies and small children crying deliriously after long flights and their parents, tired and stressed trying to manage them. Elderly people pleading for assistance. I also noticed a pregnant woman looking drained and pale, inching her way through the line. We stood there like animals waiting to get in out of the cold. Welcome to America!

In the end, it took two hours for us to get through. I planned on saying something to the officer at the counter about the long wait, but after seeing how grumpy and unfriendly he was, I chickened out. It took another couple of hours to get through the airport and car rental agency. Of course we got stuck in traffic, so what should have been a one hour drive, took two. That’s like sixteen hours from door to door.

We stayed for one fun-filled week before heading back.

Our flight left the gate on time at 7:00pm. We sat on the runway for quite a while before returning to the gate, to fix an electrical problem. A short time later, with the problem fixed, something happened that I have never in all my years of travel seen before. Some of the passengers wanted off the plane! I don’t know if they were spooked because of the electrical problem or what… But they got off and then we had to wait for their luggage to be removed. We finally took off just after 10:00pm. It was a smooth eight hour flight.

Needless to say we missed our connecting fight and had to wait seven hours in Frankfort, Germany for the next flight home! In the end it took twenty-six hours to get home, which is more than double the time it should take.

Arriving safely is what really matters… And we’re going back in August 🙂

 

 

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About maggiemyklebust

I grew up on the Jersey Shore and now live in Norway. I have also lived in Houston and the Netherlands. I have written a memoir called Fly Away Home.

Posted on April 28, 2015, in all things American, silly stuff, Stories in general, travel and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. oh geez! Glad you made it home! I think I would have gotten off the plane too! lol

  2. That sounds like a nightmare! I got exhausting just reading about the ordeal.

  3. Wonderful news that you will have a place to come home to, as well as kids and grandkids to visit. So sorry about the long wait. I remember when we landed in Britain with two little kids, they had a person whose job it was to identify families with small children, people on crutches, and anyone who needed extra help, and he waved us over to the short line. It was so CIVILIZED. When we returned to the US after an exhausting day with tired little kids, no such courtesy. But even with all the inconvenience of travel, it’s worth the wait! So glad you made it home safely.

  4. I hope your next trip is uneventful😁 So happy for you with the new place to come visit your family and friends!

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