After running 24 hours off 3 hours of restless sleep, I finally made it back to my bed in the Rocky Mountains, and boy did I sleep well. The flight was long, and would have been longer if my little touch screen TV hadn't magically decided to function—I had accepted that I would go 8 hours without a movie to entertain me, but thanks to technology fixing itself, I watched 2 movies and hardly slept at all.
The worst part of the trip home was landing in Newark. I had 1 hour until my connection flight to Denver took off, and I had to make it through Customs, recheck, and security. Naturally, I was put in the longest lines, having to wait forever for customs to clear the lady in front of me and for a man's suitcase to be approved by security. By the time I got through, I didn't have time to re-bag my backpack. I just ran through the airport with my laptop in my arms. With five minutes left on the clock, I practically sprinted to the opposite end of the terminal only to find that they had changed my gate. There were 2 others that fell for this sick trick, so together we ran to the other end of the terminal, making it to our gate just in time to board.
Having not gone to the bathroom in over 8 hours, I stuck my bags in the overhead compartment and headed straight to the bathroom before getting comfortable in my window seat. However, in the 3 minutes I was absent, a flight attendant gave my seat away to a flustered old lady. I didn't fight it, so instead I was placed in a seat between 2 guys, one of which wouldn't keep the window shade open for longer than 2 seconds, even during landing.
At least the other guy was friendly, telling me he liked my socks. We were friends.
Overall, the trip home was an eventfully long day, making me even more thrilled to be home with my family.
Returning to America, I experienced some reverse-culture-shock, starting from the plane when I looked down and saw three large trucks driving on the wrong side of the street. Then I remembered that Americans drive on the right side. It continued in the restaurant when the bill rang-up higher than listed because of taxes and we were expected to leave a tip—it's the little details that get me.
Also, the US currency freaked me out: the dollars are extra narrow, all the same size and color, and there are 1 dollar bills rather than 1 pound coins. Not to mention, there are far fewer coins to work with in the American system. Even saying the word "dollar" sounded wrong at first.
But it's so great to be home. The mountains are as freshly snow-powdered as I left them and the Elk—exotic animals, as Tom calls them—are as wild and impatient with tourists as they were 4 months ago. Returning to this wild land in the mountains is freeing and relaxing after a busy semester, and for the first time in months I know for sure where home is. I will always love England, and I hope to return someday, but my heart will always be native to the untamed Colorado Rockies and the mile-high city.