Welcome to my blog. I write about fitting in, sticking out, and missing the motherland as a serial foreigner.

Welcome to the desert

Well, we made it to Tucson. Ilhamdudlillah as-salame to us! Traveling across the country with a 2-week-old and a 3-year-old wasn't as terrible as I'm sure it could have been, but it was plenty stressful. The picture is of us at the Burlington airport, with all of our hud. At least I wasn't by myself to deal with the stroller, our catch-all IKEA bag, Miriam's backpack, my backpack, Jeremy's backpack, small blue carry-on suitcase, and three large suitcases. Oh, and Magdalena and Miriam. OH - and two carseats.

Some highlights:

- When Jeremy picked up the rental car a few days ago, the Alamo employee asked him if he wanted a GPS system with the car. Of course, Jeremy said something like, "only if it's free." For some reason, the employee decided to be offended and basically made fun of Jeremy for being a cheapskate (and also for having to ask him to explain the insurance options - does anyone ever understand those things the first time around? Plus, if that isn't the employee's job, what is?).

So when we returned the rental car, Jeremy made a complaint to the (different) employee about the snarky treatment he received earlier. The employee basically said, "OK, great, I'll report it to my boss."

We asked him, "Um, do you want to know the person's name or anything?"

"Well, only three people work in this office, and one of them is female." And then, completely unbidden, he said, "Also, I'm no forensic scientist, but I recognize the handwriting on the rental papers."

- I think Continental Airlines has only one employee, total. The same poor, frazzled guy checked us (and the 30 other people in line behind us) in, dealt with our luggage, and ran the desk at the gate.

- I had left Jeremy, Miriam, and Magdalena at the gate and was in a stall in the women's restroom when I suddenly saw a child's hand sticking through the crack in the door. In my mind, I was thinking, "I better not get walked in on by some unruly kid whose mom isn't paying attention." And then the kid crawled under the stall door. And it was Miriam.

In Jeremy's defense, the bathroom entrance was more or less visible from the gate, but I think that living on campus has given Miriam a false sense of freedom in large, open public spaces. We'll have to work on that, I guess.

- STRESS: We were waiting to board our long Newark-Tucson flight when Miriam decided she had to go to the bathroom right then. I was left with a screaming Magdalena at the gate while we missed boarding call after boarding call. By the time Jeremy and Miriam got back, almost everyone else had already boarded. Not only were we left with the dregs of overhead compartment storage, but our seats were all in separate areas of the plane. Why do they bother having us select seats at the time we buy the tickets if they're just going to change them when we check in? What happened next is a story for another blog post.

- Magdalena slept on the tray table for a good portion of the flight.

- Our stroller that we checked at the gate in Newark was AWOL upon arrival in Tucson. A carry-on suitcase full of expensive electronics, it isn't, but we're working on getting it back.

I've still got a few Middlebury posts coming, so stay tuned. And then it's back to the desert. The hot, dry, brown, dry, dry desert.

To the lady in 17A

Eventually, we'll take over the world. Vermont first.