ただいま！I’m back in the US. My trip back was quite long, what with the delays of planes travelling domestically in the US, and after flying for a very long Thursday, I spent the whole of today sleeping. Now I’m quite awake, and completely off due to jet-lag.
My fiancé wanted to make sure I was there in plenty of time, since it takes about 2 hours to get to Narita from Tokyo, so we ate lunch and spent some time looking at the shops in Narita. It sucked having to say goodbye at security, but he will come back to the US in a few months so I’m trying to be positive.
When I arrived back in the US, my port of entry was Seattle-Tacoma in Washington state. I did not leave enough time for customs, because I was not able to catch my connection.
I recommend at least 2 hours for an international arrival in the US. With a US passport, it was supposed to be simplified and all I was to do was to stand in line with everyone else and then use an automated machine to scan my passport, answer a few questions about whether I had produce or meat products or contact with farm animals whilst I was away, and then take a photo to verify my identity. However, I received a receipt with an X rather than an O, which meant I needed to speak with an officer. After standing in another line, the officer asked me about the length, nature, and reason for my trip, as well as what I’d brought back. After giving an extensive report on the multitude of items filling my luggage, I was welcomed back and passed on.
My checked luggage took ages to come out on the carousel, and it was not analyzed by the customs agents because my flight was in less than an hour and they just grabbed my checked luggage from me and tossed it on the belt, then told me that I’d better run. I was ready to run, but I was foiled by the line at the re-security point. I had to undo my laptop, liquids, and take off my shoes, and go through the whole security thing again. Of course they didn’t like the way I’d packed my carry-on suitcase and had to take everything out to verify that what was in there was a stack of manga, magazines, and CDs, not whatever they thought it was.
I grabbed my carry-ons back then ran to the train, ran up 2 escalators, and arrived at the closed door of my airplane. I could still see the airplane sitting there connected to the jetway, but they won’t let you on. The customer service rep got me on the next flight, but that flight got delayed. Since I had spent the 6 hours of my Tokyo-Seattle flight watching videos and not sleeping, I was exhausted, so I ate and then slept at the terminal.
I’d arrived in Seattle at 9 am or so, and I was through the security at 10:15. I slept until 3 pm, and since the 1:40 pm flight was delayed, I didn’t get out of the airport until about 3:30 pm. I slept on the flight, and then slept at the next airport until 9 pm, and then slept on that flight. My flight landed at 11 pm, and I was pleasantly surprised to get my bags (which had gone ahead without me) with no trouble.
Overall, I was pretty lucky. I had a friend who was stuck in Denver overnight, and didn’t make it back until tonight. I saw a lot of delays yesterday, so I had it pretty easy. And now, I’m back!