I made it home safe and sound around 5:30pm last night. The flight from Novosibirsk to Moscow was very easy and I maybe got 1 total hour of sleep on it. My time in Moscow was MUCH easier than my first visit through there. I wasn't able to find the free shuttle from terminal 1 to terminal 2, but I was able to take the public bus instead. This time I knew my destination and I knew enough Russian to get me where I needed to go (ie. "Sherametyevo d'vah!?") and it paid off. At one point, I was on the wrong mashrutka and the driver had to put it in park and let me out (refunding my rubles of course). I'm happy I spoke up, otherwise, I would have probably ended up in downtown Moscow with all my luggage and a pocket full of rubles.
Needless to say I made it to the second terminal and had about 7 hour to kill. I literally dozed in and out of consciousness in a seated position with my head on my luggage sitting beside me. It was not a fun night, but I made it. I was able able to board the plane to Munich around 5:30 am and I got about 2 hours of (decent) sleep on there before we landed. There was only a 2 hour layover in Munich and I basically just kept myself awake figuring I'd get all the sleep I needed on my long flight to Chicago. Yeah right.
This Lufthansa flight had individual touch-screen television systems on the back of each seat. It goes without saying that I did not sleep for the entire flight. If I wasn't watching a movie, I was watching the live tracking system of the flight details. Before we landed, I had watched The Bourne Ultimatum (a must see), Across the Universe (really good), The Last Legion (ehh...) and a 1 hour movie about the New York Marathon (just killing time). By the time we were getting ready to land, we had to actually do a few loops around Chicago because the weather or something and I was in some major pain. My legs were cramping so bad and I could not sit still. It felt like we were flying around Chicago for 30 minutes and I was ready to scream. Of course, it didn't help that I had the flight information screen up and saw us getting closer, then further, then closer, then further... it was killing me. When we finally landed in Chicago, I was so happy. I avoided all escalators and automatic walk ways and refused to sit anywhere.
The worst part of all this flying and crappy sleep is that I was literally keeping up with the sun since Moscow. It was basically the same time for me as I kept moving further west. I took off in Moscow at 6 am, and landed in Munich at ~7 am (4 hours later). I took of in Munich @ 9 am and landed in Chicago at ~11am (9 hours later). This has basically turned into one huge day for me and I needed to let the sun catch up with me for an hour or two.
After flying half away around the world and back, I avoided delays through some pretty bad weather, all flights seemed to be right on schedule. Of course, I was one stop away from home and my luck had ended. The flight that I was supposed to take was delayed by 1 hour and it was the longest, most annoying 1 hour I'd experienced in a long time. The weather wasn't even that bad! I just came from a blizzard (by Americans terms) in Siberia and the plane was on time and no problems. In Chicago, it was just a slight snow and the whole terminal was backed up, canceled flights, late flights, etc... I couldn't believe it. After 45 minutes of waiting with no good news, I was pretty upset. I had called Jennifer and told her that my flight was ontime and that I'd see her in Columbus in a little over an hour... of course, this was a little over an hour ago. By the time we actually took off, I should have already been reunited with my family in Columbus.
When we landed I basically ran to the security check point to see them! When I saw Lizzie she lit up like a light bulb and they all came running to me. I put my things down and squeezed them all like crazy. Mommy got some extra strengthy hugs of course. Daizi just stared at me for the longest time, she didn't know what to think. I was away for almost a month and then now all the sudden I'm back..? She wasn't too sure what was going on. It took a while, then she came around. Lizzie and Jazzy and Mommy were very excited. They couldn't wait to get home so that they could all see what I got them. This is what I missed; all the little things. :)
We all went to Red Robin and I had a good 'ol American greeseburger. :) It was awesome, though my stomach is a little confused by all this. Today we all slept in and Mommy treated us all to an egg breakfast. I spent most of today catching up on my rather large honey-do list. I got the truck running, got a load of hay, fixed some light bulbs, shoveled the walk, etc... Lucky for me, Lizzie had school canceled today, so I got to hang out with her and Jazzy all day. We all played in the snow and I taught them how to make a snow wall to hide behind for snow ball fights (city boy stuff). Basically, my life is back to normal and I'm very happy for that.