>> when we last left our hero, he was aboard an airplane, turning the light above him on and off just because he could. the man next to him, an employee of the british department of international development ( i think ) provided good conversation until somewhere around spain we both passed out. heathrow was incredibly overwhelming. for all of the plane's conveniences, heathrow was full of (yes,..) white people, lights, cleanliness, electricity, tv screens yelling at me, shiny things to look at, cookies, drinks, glassware, ice.. completely overwhelming. i checked in my bags (thanks british airways for charging me $75 for my second checked bag. really appreciated that.) i moved through, enjoyed a glass of champagne, and waited for my gate announcement. once there, boarding the plane and moving to chicago was relatively painless although i already began to get annoyed with some people (standing in the aisle of the plane instead of letting people pass / a woman complaining about the airplane being crowded, etc. LADY, get on a PODA-PODA with 35 other people and some GOATS.). we arrived in chicago a little bit late, and then, that magical moment of leaving the baggage claim to find my parents waiting for me on the other side. that hug, with my mother, and then my father, was pretty emotional / amazing. we got to our car (which weirdly enough was made this decade, and was next to rows and rows of OTHER cars, on a FLAT surface with lines? my parents called this a 'parking lot.') we drove on home, i went out to see a friend, and my mind generally tried to comprehend that i was not dreaming and that when i woke up i would still be here and not underneath my mosquito net with a chicken crowing outside, covered in sweat, with my dog queen snuggled against my side (because i LOVE a warm dog in the african heat..) so now i'm home. the next post will be better, yes?