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The Long Journey Home

We have traveled to Costa Rica before, but this time was different because it wasn't just a vacation, it was a move! We were traveling with so much stuff! (Ten checked bags including two over-sized Costco bumble bee bins and a surfboard, two carry-on bags, and two back packs.) We were also dealing with the emotional baggage of knowing we would not see our kids for 86 days.

Drive to Los Angeles: Flights from Fresno are ridiculous, so we usually drive to LAX and fly direct to San Jose, Costa Rica. We get the added bonus of seeing our oldest son, Quincy and his girlfriend Mercedes in Los Angeles. On Saturday (July 8), our youngest son Owen and his girlfriend Linda wanted to help us and see us off , so drove to Los Angeles with us on Saturday. Our truck was packed!

Sunday was also Mercedes’ birthday, so it was a full house. I collected a lot of hugs.

The Flight: Our flight was scheduled to board at 3:15 and depart at 3:55 p.m. on Sunday (July 9), so our plan was to leave Quincy’s house on Sunday morning by 11:45 a.m. I am totally neurotic about missing a flight, so that was late for me and for Mark it was way too early. At 11:30 a.m., we got an announcement that our flight was delayed by two hours. Me, still neurotic, did not trust the message and was afraid of missing our flight, so we left for the airport at about 12:15 pm.

It took three of us with three airport carts to get our stuff from the truck to the area to check our luggage. Linda stayed with the truck. Once we got everything checked in, we headed to a restaurant for a big meal and some wine. Given how late our flight was, nothing would be open when we landed.

We kept checking the Alaska App for updates and were informed the flight was actually going to be on time. Whatever the problem was, it was solved. Happy days! But not so fast. First, there was no plane at the gate. Then, we had a plane but no crew because the crew didn’t get the message that the flight was now on time. Then, we had the plane and crew, but had to change gates because a bigger plane needed the spot. (None of the information was announced. I talked to the crew.) According to the App, we departed. According to all the signage, we had departed. But we were all there wondering what was happening. I usually really like Alaska, but this was the worst! I get that things happen, but being in the dark is the worst! We took off at 5:30 p.m.

The flight itself was packed and uncomfortable, but pretty uneventful. We got to San Jose, Costa Rica in under five and a half hours, but there was thick fog. The pilot made a few unsuccessful attempts at landing. After circling San Jose for 45 minutes, the co-pilot announced that we were making a final attempt, but if it was not safe to land, we would be heading to Panama to refuel. We landed on that final attempt and everyone cheered and clapped. With the one-hour time difference, it was 1:15 a.m. on Monday (July 10).

We were so late that there was no other plane landing, so no one else was going through customs. We absolutely breezed through. More celebration! We were tired, but excited.

It took another hour to get our stuff and go through the x-ray process with the help of a porter. We just missed the shuttle, so it was another 30 minutes.

Holiday Inn Express: When we arrived at the Holiday Inn Express, I was greeted by name because I was their last check-in just after 2:30 a.m. We had our bags checked in with the front desk and were in our room by 3:00 a.m. We were so tired, but so wired! We were up until after 4:00 a.m. We were awake at 7:15 a.m.

Drive Home: Our friend, property manager, and concierge Jean Carlo drove our SUV to pick us up at the hotel around 8:30 a.m. (still Monday July 10). (Mark will have to tell you the story of buying our car later.) We had to tie two of our bags and a surfboard to the roof. The drive took about three hours. We were exhausted and starving, but operating on lots of adrenaline so we didn’t really feel it.

Coming Home: This was my first time seeing our house. It was more beautiful than the pictures and the view was a gorgeous as I remembered, but it was HOT! Our air conditioning was out and the house was sealed up. We planned on running to town, eating a quick breakfast-lunch-dinner (it was 3:00 p.m. and hadn’t eaten anything other than car snacks), and stocking up on groceries. We sat down for a beautiful meal. We ate a few bites and the realization hit us. We were done. No shopping was going to happen! We were not unpacking. We swam and called it a day.

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