This is a picture of the girls at my friend Rachel Kent's Christmas party this year. She made a wonderful meal full of Creole classics, complete even with shrimp and imported grits!
Andrew and I went home for Christmas again this year, although we had a hell of a time getting there. First of all, I came down with the flu the Tuesday before we were supposed to leave. I was still working that week, Monday through Wednesday, and my boss, Graeme, was out of the office sick already, which meant I was by no means allowed to call in sick, especially since I was hurriedly trying to finish a huge project (which you can now see on our website) in the three days I had left before the New Year. Unfortunately, I was really sick, so I left work at lunchtime on Tuesday and worked from the rest of the day and all day (even overtime) on Wednesday to finish up.
We packed on Wednesday night to leave on Thursday morning. I was feeling awful, and we had three big suitcases and two small ones to get across Tube and train to Gatwick airport. We struggled along and finally made it, only to discover upon arrival that our flight was cancelled. We made it there two hours early, but there was already a line 200 deep of people who were supposed to be on our flight and were waiting to be redirected on the next soonest flight. So Andrew got on the internet and called the airline in hopes that we could make arrangements that way faster, while I sat in the still unmoving line. He was able to arrange a flight for us on another flight out of Heathrow for the next day. While this was good news, it meant that we were both going to miss our doctor's appointments in Birmingham on Friday (Andrew for a physical, and I because I was sick), and I was going to miss my hair appointment! :( So Mom rescheduled my hair appointment, and Andrew made me an appointment with our doctor here in London for later that day (Thursday), which was good because he prescribed an antibiotic that started getting rid of my flu quite quickly.
So we had the option of landing in Atlanta and waiting a 2.5-hour layover for the next connecting flight to Birmingham, or just renting a car from Atlanta and driving. We figured driving would get us there about an hour earlier, so we went for that option. BIG MISTAKE. Atlanta has the most messed up policies EVER. We got off the plane, went through passport control, retrieved our luggage from baggage claim, and made it through customs, but then, they made us RETURN our baggage and go through security to LEAVE the airport. We had to take off shoes, remove laptops from bags, put the liquor we bought at the London airport in the luggage and everything! Just to cross the airport to the exit. It made NO SENSE whatsoever. So then we get to the "main" baggage claim in about 15 minutes, but it takes an hour and a half for our luggage to get there. It took us a total of three hours just to leave the Atlanta airport. THEN we had a three-hour drive to Birmingham!!!
When we finally arrived and got settled, we had a really nice time while we were home, although it was far too short. We felt like we barely got to see our friends and family, although I did get to see my cousin Laura's new twin babies...and my best friends Jackie, who I hadn't seen since my wedding, and Miriam and her family (including her new baby bump!), especially her adorably daughter Reese, who has grown into a proper young woman of two years old since we've been living over here!
We miss you all terribly and can't believe that that was the last time we'll have to juggle time trying to see all our family and friends over a short nine days...
Love to you all in the happy new year!!