The wake up call was set for 6 a.m. Lisbon, Portugal time. Unfortunately, room service showed up five minutes earlier than it was supposed to and so Derek staggered to the door and breakfast was there. We were out of bed, and knew that the next time we would get a chance to lie down in a bed again would be more than 24 hours from then. We went to the Lisbon airport by bus and I found it disconcerting to find that they didn't put any of their signs in English. What were they thinking? We still managed to get on the plane where we were trapped for 8 hours with the window seat and the middle seat with a nice older man on the edge making it impossible to escape. We fought our natural instinct to panic when stuck in a small space, and popped up immediately the one time our older man aisle guard decided to get up. I was seriously wishing he'd accept more drinks from the flight attendants so that I could. I was very thirsty but didn't dare drink a lot since I didn't feel the path the the WC was really clear for me. (That would be Water Closet which is what we really don't call our bathrooms in America).
When we got to Newark we were not allowed to land for an extra forty minutes due to an emergency at the airport. I enjoyed being over the USA and seeing the beautiful fall colors going by as we flew around and around in circles. Surprisingly (or not) there were no old European churches below, or cities packed full of people and mysterious statues -- except I could see NYC as we were landing. Of course, Derek and I managed to look suspicious enough to be the only ones in our crew sent through the agricultural inspection line where the nice workers told me (in a surprised tone even though I'd already told them) that my beef jerkey was made in the USA. Sigh. We had enough time in this airport to eat since we'd only had three meals on the plane. We were with four other people from Derek's work and I think four of us took pain killers during our meal.
Next we were off to Houston. By then I had started a book which I finished on that flight. I slept on the next one even though that last flight was cold. Surprisingly, all of the other flights had actually been warm. We then waited for our luggage, dragged it onto a bus, got off at the proper stop and wheeled our suitcases through the falling slush and out to the car. The weather went from atrocious to okay to slightly bad and we finally arrived home after 1 a.m.
The quest was over. Was it a success? I'll have to answer that question when I'm not falling over with fatigue and taking pain killers to help with awful headaches. Was it a good trip? It was like being at home in one way. Some moments are great, some are good, and some are pathetic. Overall it was a good experience and something we were thankful to get to do. After this last day of "the quest" we were very thankful for a comfortable bed that didn't rock, or make weird noises due to rocking. We were thankful to be home and we were thankful for Derek's parents who had stayed here to take care of our children. I think they were probably thankful to get to go to their own house for the night. Finally, after the longest November 4th ever the quest was at an end.