As I continue to get everyone caught up to speed, our next stop is Birmingham, AL. After Paris, I spent the majority of the month working in Dubai, UAE while Kelly stayed in London and fought the rain. Dubai was not much better. It may have been sunny but it was not comfortable. It was 107 degrees + 80% humidity = HOT AS HADES. So after a few weeks in Dubai, I fly back to London, grab a change of clothing and get on another plane to Birmingham, AL. Heading HOME!
But...getting home was not so easy. On Thursday morning July 26, I got up at and left the house around 8:00 am for a 10:40 am flight out of London Gatwick. I have mapped out the voyage and it should take 15 minutes on a tube coupled with a 30 minute train ride on the Gatwick Express, which is a non-stop train from London Victoria Station to the airport. Kelly decides to go with me on the tube early that morning. We leave the house right on time and get to the station. The first train comes and it is too crowded to get on. We decide to catch the next train. A few minutes pass and the train has not departed. I start feeling nervous because trains are only in the station about a minute or two at most. At 8:15 am the announcer comes over the speaker and notifies all passengers that there has been a signal failure at Earl's Court, which I have to go through, and all east bound service (me) has been suspended. I immediately grab my mobile phone and call a taxi to pick me up at my flat. At 8:35 no taxi has come. I call back and they have not booked the car. At 9:00 am the car finally comes. It takes an hour to get from my flat to Gatwick by car. I arrive at the airport at 10:00 am and they will not let me check my luggage and get on the plane. I did not make the standby list for the 12:30 flight either. The next morning I arrived at the airport at 6:00 to be the first on the list for the same flight again. This time I was lucky and made it and I was on my way home.
I was home for my 10 year high school reunion, which was taking place on August 4. I arrived a week in advance to spend time with family, go to the doctor, dentist, have meetings with individuals at the firm, and celebrate my older brother's 30th birthday. I can't tell you how much I enjoyed being back in town and spending time with my parents, brothers, and friends. They are what make Birmingham special and we miss them terribly. In addition to spending good quality time with everyone I was also able to go to the pool and play golf; two of my favorite things in the world that I have been without for the better part of a year. After a few days, Kelly arrived. We spent one evening in Cullman with the Cookes and it was wonderful to see them and catch up. We spent time with my parents in Italy but we have not seen the Cookes since Christmas. Fortunately we will be seeing them again as we will meet them in Italy in October. Just a point for everyone, both Kelly and my parents chose to go to Italy instead of coming and visiting us and we were forced to go there to see them. I'm kidding, of course, and it is a wonderful thing to meet your parents and spend time with them in Italy. We think they each are coming to visit us in London at various times next year.
On August 4, I had my high school reunion. It was nice to see everyone and catch up with those I had not seen in many years. Many looked different and many did not but everyone appeared to be doing quite well and that's all you can hope for. I won the award for the person that came the furthest. After the reunion we went to a pub where a lot of my fraternity brothers were as one of them had married earlier in the day. So I was able to catch up with many of those I spent my youth with. The stories those folks could tell...they are lies I tell you, lies.
By the time Sunday rolled around it was time for Kelly and I to leave again. Begrudgingly we boarded a plane, exhausted, and headed for London. Kelly and I were so tired we could barely speak to one another. Worst of all was that we had to go straight to work right after we landed and dropped off luggage. If you have ever gone to work that jet lagged you know how it feels and it is absolutely awful. You feel mind numb and you are not very productive.
After spending Monday evening in London, I boarded a plane and headed off to Dubai again. This trip is much longer though as I will be spending a week in Dubai followed by a week in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, Nairobi, Kenya and finally Cairo, Egypt where Kelly will meet me. We can't wait to spend time in Cairo and see the Pyramids and Sphinx along with all of the incredible Egyptian history.
The next update will be a summary of my travels through South Africa and Kenya and then we will make a post after our Egypt trip. It should be amazing. To everyone at home, we love you and miss you!