Our last day was a sad and very expensive one. First thing I did was call Dominic to say "good bye" and give him the projector. Then we took all the luggage outside and I returned the keys to the office. Next, my cousin, Kelly and I hailed a cab. After saying our good byes, we were off to London Heathrow airport. This was the first time the children had been in a London cab. Now the experience was complete!
We drove by many of the places we had visited (Baker Street, Kensington parks) and were there in about 40 minutes. The cabby was nice. People tend to treat service people as a service, but they are people too. It doesn't hurt to be courteous.
Below is London Audi. I only know bout Nissan, Honda and Toyota, but after driving my friend's Audi, them proper!
Welcome to London Heathrow
It is a whopping 70 pounds and we have arrived. It couldn't have been any other way. None of our family and friends drive a big enough car for a family of 4 and 8 pieces of luggage (and nobody offered, lol!) and the train would have been way too hectic. We joined the queue for American Airlines to check in one bag each.
Then I called Mizanne via pay phone to say bye because she had offered to come by the airport but I didn't have a UK phone or wifi access (need to check my bank account to see how much the call cost, lol). We went upstairs and head to security. Up to this point I was having a really o.k. day. The nice gentleman tells us to join the family line which is shorter and less incriminating. Then I made sure to wear no bangles, earrings, belts, etc. so I could go through the machine without beeping. I took off my coat and the guy told me to take off my blazer. I told him that I took off my coat and taking off anymore would be indecent exposure. He laughed and let me go through. I was wearing a see through black sheer shirt with an animal print bra. So as life would have it, Olivia goes through and I beep!!!!! The lady asks me to take off my jacket and I refuse, lol. So she asks me to open it and I get a proper feel down. If mi did love woman, mi woulda turn on....and in public...definite fantasy fulfillment....NOT! I was so embarrassed. They did it to the woman in front of me too who was also a black woman....after she done rub mi up and down with her hands, she gets the metal detector and rubs it over my chest and it beeps like crazy. Nuh di damn animal print bra! Suh next time...no belt, no jewelry, no bra...lol! We get through that and proceed to find our gate number which was not printed on our ticket but to be located on a prompter in the hall. This is now 9:30am and it says that gates wont be announced until 11:15am.
I could have waited for Mizanne after all. I felt so bad. But it wasn't just me traveling, so I had to go with the flow. We walk further and it's like we entered a shopping mall. You are surrounded by perfumes, colognes, tons of designer stuff. I ask an "officer" to take a pic with the girls. Olivia is hesitant at first, but Picture Peggy never misses a photo opp.
We head to Bridges for breakfast. I don't recommend it. Few breakfast options and their eggs are wet, the toast is wet, and the bacon is wet.
Olivia never liked her food so Matthew put cereal into her hot chocolate. I thought this was so gross, rolled my eyes and wondered ....
but she loved it! Ewww. Honey cornflakes and warm chocolate milk with whip cream. She is gonna blow!
I had a really good time with Shan, Kiki, Steven, Candace, Andrew and Matthew last night. I wasn't tired, but I was very sad. I don't think I uttered more than 3 sentences during a 5 hour flight. Can someone say DEPRESSED?!
We have loads of time, so we walk. This teddy bear from Harrods was 1700 pounds. You know how I roll. Anything for my Livvy!
Every time we travel they ask for one of these pillows. This flight was long enough that I thought I would get it. It was 11 pounds, buy 2 get 1 free. Because the day is only getting better, when we go to pay she says 33 pounds and we tell her its buy 2 get one. She says, that's over. I say, that's not what the sign says and the customer is right, hence you must honor your sign. She goes to look and then talks to her manager. Matthew lets her know, it's either 3 or 0. So we get 3 neck pillows for 22 pounds.
We browse some more at things I can't afford and I decide to sit it out to avoid further depression, plus my back is hurting. Matthew browses some more and the kids wait with me.
It's Gate 30 and the horses are off...we walk towards the gate and its quite a trek.
I observe my child...she has a real "John" shape!
We go through security AGAIN. Since 9-11 things have changed significantly. In the U.S., the gates are open and you can walk around. Here it's a PRISON!! Once you enter the gate you can't leave. It has clear glass pane to separate each gate and there is one way out-- to the plane. Its a good thing we ate because all they had was a vending machine with chocolate and soda pops. Sigh. It wasn't a very pleasant experience, for me at least (Olivia and others were quite fine with it). I felt my civil liberties were threatened.
We get on the plane. We sit in the middle isle together and I fall asleep the minute I sit. When I woke up, I realized the plane hadn't taken off as yet. He announces, we are up next for take off. LOL! Talk about a cat nap. I watched "21 Jump Street" and "This is War." We ate orzo pasta (rice like pasta, pic below)
and tender grilled chicken breast (not breaded), cheese pizza, crackers, roll, cream cheese, and drank white wine, red wine, ginger ale, orange juice, tea, water, etc. Even though it was economy, and we couldn't recline as far and as flat, and we got ear phones instead of Bose noise cancelling headphones, and my blanket came with a hole in it, lol, I think we got our money's worth.
We got to JFK 30 minutes early. The ride was sometimes bumpy but mostly it was smooth sailing and smooth landing. I miss the days that people clapped the pilot for a safe journey. We walked a long way to immigration and join the US citizens line. Its the last time I will be able to walk. I have now entered the land of driving. There is no line...big difference from UK. The immigration officer has tattoo sleeves and he is a good looking white man. He looks at our passports and tells me I haven't aged at all. I like him already. He looks at Alyssa's and Olivia's and says You have aged. Then looks at Matthew and says "You lost weight!" They take Matthew's finger prints but not ours. He doesn't ask us any questions and is very different experience from the UK where they asked me, how long am I staying, what am I there for, who will watch my kids, why arent they in school, etc. Such a turn off. Do they want people to visit the country? No visitors, no job!
We walk to baggage claim and the first two bags show up. I walk over to get a cart. It used to be $1. It was $5. Jeesam peace! A buy we a buy it or rent it? A woman walks over to Matthew and lets him know that some bags have been taken off the carousel. Yup the last two are there. We grab our bags, use the toilets and head out. Our friend, Zavier picks us up and we head to Brooklyn. He gave me a bag of cane and I eat them all the way to Brooklyn. In Brooklyn, I meet his son Zayden who just turned one. My kids are in love and getting ideas about getting a little brother. Matthew and I are both opposed to the idea. But we let them have their fun.
We leave the busy NY atmosphere and head to country Connecticut...bere trees. Although I used the toilet at the airport and at Zavier and Kimisha's, I have to go again (the cane juice is responsible). There are no toilets for miles!
So I do a drive by. We pulled over, I opened the two car doors, I stooped and RELIEF. The deer was steering at me like what are they doing? I wipe and I am good to go. Reminds me of our weekend trips to the country to visit my grandparents as a child. Aww memories.
We get home about 8:40pm. The house is immaculate. Matthew did a thorough cleaning before he came to the UK. He painted Alyssa's room, moved the television to the downstairs family room, he put on new toilet seats (it was really pretty, but it wasn't something I would have chosen for the color scheme), etc. He really wanted us to feel welcome on our return. It is so HOT!!!! We all shower and go to sleep.
The next day I wake up at 4am. I started unpacking. I pulled down everything to make sure everything was meticulously placed in its right spot. I think I might be a little of an obsessive compulsive. Everything is color coordinated (light to dark) and by type (dresses: dressy, casual, church; shoes: sandals, strappy, pumps, wedges, ballet flats; bags: metallic and neutral; tops: short sleeved, long sleeved, turtle necked, sweaters, blazers; and belts: leather, cloth, chain, chains will come back in...one day!).
What do you think? I'm not that bad, right? Quite normal in fact! After unpacking, I sat here and updated my blog. Even though I am really sad and missing the UK and hating this "hot as hell" weather, I was pleasantly surprised. My girlfriend Paula is on the way to the hospital to have her second baby, her son, Alex! Wishing you a safe delivery Paula. Can't wait to meet you, Alex. God be with you....Oh Oh...False Alarm...still exciting news. He will be here soon.
All, this is my last blog entry under the "Johnsinuk" weblink. Thank you for following my experience. I cherish all of you for contributing in whatever way- calling, texting, emailing, skyping, bbming, whatsapping, visiting, reading, commenting, and encouraging. I leave these last few words with you: