Jillian R.
We've successfully escaped the Abu Dhabi heat. We're still pretty jetlagged but the weather is so pleasant it's hard not to enjoy it to the fullest before we return to 50C (and over 90% humidity, there was one day that was 100% and it did not rain! How?! Why?!) heat. Just thinking about it drains all the joy out of me! 

Also, I've finally found the strength to write about our flight into the States.

The flight from Dubai to New York takes about 13 hours. However, because we live in Abu Dhabi, we had to take a 90 minute taxi ride to get to the airport. We arrived four hours early because Dubai International Airport happens to be the busiest airport in the world, and I wanted to check-in as early as we can to ensure that we secure bulk head seats for our flight so that Scarlett, who does not require her own seat yet is able to use the baby bassinet during the flight. When we arrived at the check-in counter, we were the first and only ones there, and got the seats we wanted - because unlike some folks, we are only flying Economy and those extra few inches of leg room mean EVERYTHING when it comes to flying with a two year old! The flight ended up being delayed for an hour and a half. Then another hour with us sitting in the aircraft. 

At the airport: Who needs a stroller when you can just ride mommy's suitcase?

Apart from the delay, everything worked out very well thus far! Scarlett entertained herself by running around the terminal, coloring and waving "hi" to tired looking strangers equally dreading their 13-hour flight. Everything went extremely well on the flight as well, I was so afraid it was not possible to eat meals with Scarlett on my lap if she wasn't napping in the bassinet, but as it turned out, it WAS do-able. I never knew that I was capable of eating and feeding a toddler in such a small space. I mean, we're talking about a tiny, little tray with no seat in front to stop the whole meal from flying off onto my pants! Everything was going according to plan! Scarlett stuck to her usual nap and sleep routine and seemed to be enjoying the flight. She charmed flight attendants and passengers around us with her sweetness.

She thought the flight attendants were "ah-cess" (princesses)!

Everything was going SO WELL! Too well!

Then we arrived at JFK airport Immigration *insert dramatic music*.

We had been travelling for about 18-20 hours at this point, I've lost count. Our flight's two-hour delay meant that we arrived at the same time as other flight(s) coming into the US. THOUSANDS Hundreds of people swarmed the Immigration lines, which were not all opened because it was a little past midnight. We were sent to the "Visitor" line which had twice the number of people than the line for US citizens or green card holders - even though I was travelling with TWO U.S. citizens. The woman directing the lines was obviously feeling a bit grumpy that night. Usually, even it was just me and my American husband, we were sent to the citizen line. Rules are rules, I get it. 

Anyway, we were waiting in line for about an hour and the end of the line was still nowhere in sight. Scarlett decided not to take it anymore.

She had possibly the worst tantrum of her 22 month of life! I'm not even joking. Blood curdling screams echoed through the entire hall. I don't think there was one person who didn't hear her screams. We spent the next 30 minutes trying to calm her down. We tried everything, I mean everything! Nothing worked. People around us tried to help, a woman offered to help push our luggage forward as the line moved forward an inch at a time. After getting screamed at for nearly an hour, I yanked her into the restroom and splashed cold water on her face. That merely stunned her for a few seconds, but it seemed to have angered her more! She started laying and screaming on the restroom floor. As we walked out of the restroom with me holding my squirming, kicking, screaming child by the belly, I heard "Tsk, tsk, tsk" coming from the bench beside the restroom door. I wanted very badly to let Scarlett scream in their ear for 10 minutes, then we shall see if they could still tsk me! I was merely minutes away from losing it myself.

We got back into line, Scarlett continued eardrum bursting screams. I lost it. Any sanity I had left was gone. There was nothing else Eric and I could do. I was sure everyone hated us. I couldn't even bear to look anyone in the eye. Then an immigration officer came and took us, "the hated people" to the front of the line, where we only had to wait for about five more people to get through. Still, the screams continued. When I say screams, I don't mean cries by the way, I really mean screams, screams that shreds your soul. A few minutes later, another officer pulled us out of line and took us to a closed booth, which he opened just for us. I was crying at this point. Yes, mother and daughter were both crying. Through blurry, teared eyes I could see people looking judgingly at us, tissues were handed to me. For a few minutes I couldn't see the hundreds of judging eyes anymore. Oh, Scarlett was still screaming this whole time, there was no break.

Somewhere on file is my U.S Immigration picture, puffy, red eyes and tear streaked face.

On the bright side, if it wasn't for her crazy tantrum, we'd still be standing in line right now, and there wouldn't be this entry to read.
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