Being in both Ecuador and US airports only hours apart provides an quick, interesting lesson in cultural differences. Domestic security in Ecuador is SO much more user friendly. Take off my shoes? Nah. This water bottle--do I need to throw it away? No, it's fine. What about my computer--remove it from its case? No--why would you do that?
On the other hand, we stood in line over an hour just to check our bags and get our boarding passes. The airline seemed to have plenty of employees, but somehow anything involving paperwork (and Ecuadorians love their paperwork) takes for--ev--er. Plus, beyond that I seriously think we had to show our passports at five different check points on the way to our gate. And after all that we were required to flash our boarding pass right before boarding the plane, as if----well, never mind-----------.
Conversely, while US security borders on fascist, American efficiency immediately welcomes you back and reminds you of what a pain in the ass the simplest things often are in your new hometown. We blew through Customs and security in time to enjoy breakfast at Popeye's (yes!) in Atlanta before heading on to Newark.
After dropping our bags at our daughter & hubby's home I found myself almost immediately on a train to Union Square as an appointment wingman. I enjoyed excellent farmer's and holiday markets in the square, then returned to flop on the couch for a much-needed nap.
Too quickly the front door opened, and through half-opened eyes I was bewildered to see----my son? And then his wife?? What was happening? Brandon had just returned from 5 weeks in India that day. I knew his layover was in Newark early this morning, but he was supposed to be in Durham by now. I was confused.
And thrilled. Thanksgiving is of course a classic "Norman Rockwell" American family holiday, and TeamStaton is a very close family unit, but for too many years and too many reasons we have not all been able to gather around the dining table on this special day.
So our kids had conspired to finally make it happen. But it turns out there was a bigger reason for this surprise. As we all stood in the kitchen Brandon and Jennie shouted, "We're pregnant!!"
What? You're what??
It's true. Cynthia and I will be grandparents next June. How odd that after the initial shock this all seems so natural and perfect. It's the right time; they'll be terrific parents; we're ready to do our thing. Let's have a baby!!
Our son-in-law's parents also came to New Jersey from England for the holiday (not a big one for Brits, but we were thrilled to see them for the first time in 3 years since they normally live on a boat in Greece.) Because their flight back home left Thanksgiving afternoon our dinner took place on Wednesday. With other friends who joined us eleven folks gathered together for a wonderful evening of food and fellowship.
We've all had "special events"--Christmas's, birthdays, Valentine's--that you would struggle to recall anything that happened even two years later. I'm certain that we will remember Thanksgiving 2010 forever.
And I'm thankful to each of you who find this little blog about Ecuador worth reading. Let's all be mindful and grateful for our many blessings every day!