If you don't have a window seat in one of these big planes that nowadays fly across the Atlantic a trip from Germany to the US doesn't seem a a trip at all anymore.
It's more like being in a movie theater that shivers a bit from time to time, and with full service included.
I mean, Lufthansa really serves decent meals, and with style. No plastic knives and forks, and real food. Hot, tasty, and clearly recognizable as food.
Oh wait - they serve cocktails before feeding you. Someone once told me that everybody likes to drink tomato juice on a plane because it tastes better in high altitude, but I think that's a fable. It's good, but not better. I also think that some people shamelessly take advantage of the free drinks.
I watched the "Hunger Games" on this flight. Didn't make it quite through the entire movie, and I wasn't overly impressed. The hype passed me by. We had movies like that before. In a way, it reminded me of "Logan's Run" and "Soylent Green". Do you remember Logan's Run? That girl had the greatest legs ever. Jenny Agutter was her name I believe.
Funny thing is, I had to come all the way to NYC to watch Downton Abbey. Loving it! That show clearly tells me that I'm living in the wrong house. And I need a maid and a footman. No idea what I need them for, but now I do. In addition to a housekeeper, of course. Won't go into the social thing. I just want that beautiful house and the lovely Edwardian dresses. Call me shallow. But I love pretty.
Oh, immigrations! This time I HAVE to mention immigrations.
After my experiences at the Canada/USA border last summer I was in a panic about immigrations. One wrong answer, and that's it for you, right.
But not so! The immigration people at JFK are the nicest, most courteous, and attentive people. They make you feel welcome to the US, and they wish you a lovely day! THIS is the America I've known for so long! BIG kudos to whoever picked the men and women doing that job at this airport.
I was asked only ONE question: "Have you been to the US before?"
And I replied that yes, indeed, I had traveled here, they wished me a lovely day and stamped my passport. I was through in less than a minute!
Keith and Emily came to pick me up.
Driving back to their house was a strange, a lovely and actually weird experience. It felt as if I'd never been away! New York felt familiar. The streets felt familiar. It was exciting in the way it wasn't exciting.
This was the reason why I wanted to come back, and come back here, to this exact place:
visiting a city or people once is a wonderful experience. Visiting them again, is making them real. It means making them familiar, well-known, comfortable.
It's taking them out of a "once-in-a-lifetime" into "I'm at home with you".
In a few days I'll go and see my beloved publisher again, too. I'm excited about that, but in a different way than last year.
This time around I'm going to meet a friend, someone I've come to know well over the last year.
I'm looking forward to hanging out with her, the way friends do, and not only business partners.
In that, I'm the luckiest person. I have the publisher I need for me to be the best writer I can be, and she's also the greatest friend. Lucky, lucky, lucky me.
So here I am now, in Jersey City, on a sunny Monday morning, drinking coffee and eating a raspberry jam sandwich. It's my birthday, I was on the phone for an hour with afore-mentioned publisher, and there will be pastrami sandwiches and cheesecake for dinner.
I'm taking Keith and Emily to Carnegie's.
And I'll bring back a jar of pickles. Those Carnegie pickles... yum!
Tomorrow, Penn Station and a meet-up with @southboundcat's Mommy!