24 December, 2019

Happy Christmas Eve! We have been back in the US for a couple of days now. I think Julie and I are over the jet lag, so now we are ready to celebrate Christmas.

The trip back home was pretty uneventful. Thank Goodness. Swiss Airlines sent me an email a few weeks ago about bidding to upgrade from economy to Business class. Now I am normally a pretty cheap individual. I would rather pay $800 for a flight instead of $5 or 6,000 so when we booked our flights home I went cheap. However, when I got the email, I thought HMMMM …. paying another $150 to be able to lay out, and have actual food on the flight might be worth it. So I made a bid on the upgrade, and it was accepted. Still wound up paying over $1000 each to fly home, but this was a lot cheaper than a normal business class flight, and it is a lot more comfortable. The other benefit of the business class flights is the Swiss Lounge. We were able to wait in comfort at the airport, with champagne, and actual food, that we didn’t have to pay extra for.

The silliest part of the trip was getting back through US customs. When we went to Europe in 2018, we had found this app called Mobile Passport, It saved us a lot of time coming back in the country, so we thought we would try it again. Unfortunately, Chicago, doesn’t really support this process any longer. Basically Mobile Passport, lets you do the customs forms electronically. You show up to the Customs Agent, they scan the app, scan your passport and let you through. The only real benefit is that very few others use the app, so the line is faster. It really doesn’t save any time in the process. So we get into line, and are smiling. There are three people in front of us VS hundreds of people in the normal customs line. Well to make a long story short. The hundreds of people in lane ALL made it through customs faster than we did. It was like the customs service intentionally made the process longer. The agents kept sending people from the normal line in front of us. Then once we got our luggage, the mobile passport stuff didn’t work. so we had to go to a different area and spend 15 – 20 minutes asking questions like: Why didn’t you do the paperwork? Did you skip one of the stations? It was very frustrating.

We finally made it through customs, and even though it was frustrating it worked out to our benefit. Our daughter was taking a bus from Madison and meeting us at the airport. Our delay combined with the fact the bus was early, meant we only had to wait another 10 minutes and we could meet Kaylee instead of getting the car and having to struggle back through the traffic at the airport to pick her up.

After getting to the hotel, we went out for dinner. Julie has been missing Italian Sausage so we had to find a pizza place. I have really learned to like Salami on pizza, but Julie, not so much! Thank you Giordano’s in Rosemount for letting Julie get her fix!

So now I am sitting in Southern Indiana. Getting ready to go for a Christmas Eve morning jog. We are having breakfast with our friends Mike and Rachelle Collins. Then coming back to my parents to spend Christmas Eve with both families. Julie’s parents drove up from Florida, and her Aunt came down from Wabash, Indiana.

We head back to Switzerland on the 31st. We get to spend a week with both kids, but our son has to head back earlier as Law School starts up again, before UW Madison does.

Anyway Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all.

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