October proved a perfect time to close up shop in Europe.  Summer ended with a warm September.  The days started getting shorter and our days in Lausanne were numbered.  The last few weeks involved visits to various authorities, closing the Switzer-land and opening the Ecua-door!  Norbi (Andrés) finished up his cereal-making and I said bye to my lovely Wall Street English students and colleagues.  I also said hello to Kofi and Nane Annan, but that’s a whole other story (let me know if you’re interested in what sweet potatoes, Ghana and Pamela Anderson have in common…).

We sold most of our belongings (except the 1 box, 1 suitcase and 4 goat water dispensers, which will be shipped in January).  img_8425Then we said “à bientôt” to our “Swiss” friends, and headed over to Berlin for a couple of weeks.  Compared with our warm, sunny July wedding days, Berlin didn’t fail to remind us of how gray, dark and cold its winters can be.  Despite the lack of Vitamin D, we had a great time visiting family and friends.

After a safe Schoenefeld-Gatwick flight, we had a delightful 5-hour layover, which we spent reflecting on what this trip means for us, a European sunset looking forward to what awaits on the Ecuadorian horizon.  We then happily strolled over to board our plane to JFK.  With my US passport, I went right through.  I turn around and see Andrés getting questioned:

Flight attendant: “Can I please see your return ticket?”

Andrés: “I don’t have one.”

Flight attendant: “Well, when will you leave the US?”

Andrés: “28.Nov.”

Flight attendant: “To where?”

Andrés: “Mexico.”

Flight attendant: “Do you have an ESTA for US & Mexico?”

Andrés: “I have it for the US.  Do I need one for Mexico?”

Flight attendant: “It’s the same for both countries.  When are you leaving Mexico?”

Andrés (yelling over to me): “Elise, when are we leaving Mexico?”

Elise: “21.Dec.  What’s the problem?”

Flight attendant: “I need to see his flight leaving Mexico.  Where are you heading after Mexico?”

Elise: “Cuba.  We have our flights booked, but can’t access the internet.”

Flight attendant: “Sorry, if you can’t show it to me, he can’t board.”

After a few more minutes of confusion and chaos, with boarding about to close, we managed to access our email by hotspotting someone else’s phone (nice guy who’d only purchased a one-way flight to the US and was literally purchasing his return ticket then and there, in order to board).

We all managed to get the necessary documents and now we are off to New York City.  Thank you Norwegian Air! Yonkers here we come!

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