On Wednesday, I set out from Barcelona to make a roundabout journey home: Barcelona-Paris-Newark-Pittsburgh. I’m home for the holidays—all of them—to wait out a block of time for visa reasons. So I’m in Connellsville once again, after having nearly missed my flight from Paris to Newark—a delay in my Barcelona-Paris flight had me running through Charles de Gaulle, where, once I reached the corridor where my gate was located, I found Air France people looking for me, radioing the gate with walkie-talkies once they spotted a winded, frantically running American. It was a near miss.
For my suitcase, packed carefully with my favorite clothes and all the postcards and mementos I’ve accumulated from my travels over the past few months, not to mention Andrew’s soon-to-be-fixed laptop and my favorite perfume, it was a total miss. At Newark, waiting at baggage claim for my suitcase, I had a sinking feeling that it may not have made it from Paris. I waited and waited until I was the last person waiting, and then the conveyor belt stopped. After all these trips, all these flights, I’d never lost a bag; it had to happen eventually. I went to the baggage office; my suitcase was entered into the system; and I ran to catch my next flight. I was too jet-lagged and rushed to even be too upset.
For Thanksgiving, I wore an outfit I cobbled together from clothes I found in my parents’ attic.
The story of my “delayed baggage” (the airline never refers to a bag as “lost”) has a happy ending: my bag arrived home tonight, hand-delivered to my front door. It was a welcome sight, and an amazing one. Somehow, my intrepid suitcase made it home from Paris—all on its own, from the chaos of Charles de Gaulle to the chaos of Newark to Pittsburgh and right on to Connellsville, two hours away.
So now I and all my belongings are home for a while. It feels more than a little strange to be sitting at my desk in my old bedroom, with my clothes in drawers instead of a suitcase; but there are trips to break up the away-from-Spain time, to NYC and Rochester and DC and Jacksonville, and then trips to Ireland and Scotland and southern Spain and Paris to look forward to as soon as I return. My bag and I will now begin to settle in.