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Arriving Home

We were up early to check in at the airport and had enough time left over for a cup of coffee before we needed to board. But the representative from Kenya air couldn’t give us boarding passes for the Amsterdam leg of our journey, and the Java House was out of coffee. We sat quietly wondering how we would negotiate less than an hour lay-over having to get new boarding passes.

The flight from Nairobi was uneventful, thankfully.  This time we were seated near a window and marveled as we slowly crossed the Sahara desert. Huge does not even begin to describe it. Hours of nothing but sand as far as the eye could see. I knew we were reaching something important when I could see a road and a few houses. Then suddenly the desert stopped right at the Mediterranean Sea.  I wondered about the view from the other side of the plane–were they able to see the Nile river delta?  Soon we began passing beautiful islands and finally we arrived at the European continent as we flew over Greece –a country that is as green and hilly as the Sahara is flat and sandy.

We arrived to thunderstorms in Amsterdam, which meant the guidance system was shut down and we sat about 100 yards from the gate waiting for the lightening to pass. By the time we stepped off the plane we knew about 40 others were transferring to the Atlanta flight, but we would need to hurry. Through security and up to the counter only to find out that we had never actually been checked in for this leg of the flight and our seats (which we had selected a week ago) were reassigned. I was dumbfounded. We produced our tickets from Nairobi as proof that we had checked in for the entire flight, our bags were checked through to Atlanta, this had not been our error. The efficient and sympathetic KLM representatives got us the only seats left on the plane.  We could not sit together, but we would be in first class. The flight was fantastic.

Aside from being very annoyed that TSA agents made us throw out unopened water bottles given to us on the plane by KLM to go through a carry on security check to LEAVE the airport, the rest of the trip home was great. Tammy is flying back to Iowa this morning. I will see my children as soon as they wake up –in about two hours.  It seems my body will take a day or two to readjust this time :-)

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Jennifer Vanderlaan CNM MPH is the author of the BirthingNaturally.net website. She has been working with expectant families since 2000, training doulas, childbirth educators, and midwives. She has worked with midwives in Central America and Sub-Saharan Africa. Her interest in public health grew in 2010, and she is now a PhD student learning to become a producer of knowledge.

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