Back from the US (Or: Just a bit sleep deprived)

Marco and I recently returned from the United States, visiting my parents (whom I hadn’t seen in three years – stupid pandemic!). It was a great trip, just like old times. We were definitely limited in what we could do thanks to the pandemic, but there were face masks and hand sanitizer everywhere. I was presently surprised to see how many people were wearing face masks compared to the Netherlands. It was definitely night and day. My poor hands are in need of some TLC and location after using all of that hand sanitizer (which we also have at all Dutch stores, but since my main outingias just going to the grocery store and back I don’t need to use it as much).

It definitely wasn’t easy to get into the US; there were a lot of hoops to jump through and many forms to fill out. I could get in as a US citizen however Marco only got in because we were married. Thanks to a warning from a colleague we did bring out marriage certificate, and it did get asked for. We got tested to enter the US and tested to get back into the Netherlands. It is debatable whether we needed that second test as the rules changed while we were there, but since the airline asked for it to be uploaded it was definitely a case of ‘better safe than sorry’. There were health forms and test result printouts and quarantine declarations for the Netherlands and more. You don’t have to quarantine if you are vaccinated, but you still need to fill out the form saying you are not quarantining because you are vaccinated. I had a whole folder full of papers to show…

I didn’t sleep much on the way there or the way back, but that was to be expected. Ironically we booked premium plus tickets on United Airlines to make sure we didn’t have anyone directly next to us, but most of Economy Plus and Economy were empty so it wouldn’t have mattered anyway. When I went to the bathroom I saw a lot of people in Economy stretched out on 3 or 4 seats trying to sleep. We didn’t have too much jetlag after landing in the US – the flight arriving at 18:00 probably helped as we only had to stay awake a few hours. I also have to give some credit to the shower at the hotel as the water pressure was wonderful.

Here are a few photos. I didn’t take many as it just wasn’t that kind of trip.

Iron Man statue outside of a Gamestop store
Amenities at our airplane seats (the Saks Fifth Avenue pillow was indeed soft)
Statue at the food court in O’Hare airport on the way back
Almost back to Schiphol… with light rain clouds above the North Sea

Unfortunately it was quite a bumpy flight back to the Netherlands, at least in the first half while we were still over land. It was raining all day where we were, with a bit of lightning at O’Hare on top of that. It was fine in the end, but there were times the flight attendants had to buckle in (including them pausing the meal service for a while). But we got back in one piece. We slept in a bit this morning but I think we are all good to go now!

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