I got one of the greatest surprises I could ask for. I got to go home and surprise my friends, family and of course, my office!
I am very blessed to work for such a wonderful company who brought me home for a staff retreat. It couldn't have been more perfect timing in all aspects.
I didn't find out I was going home until the beginning of August. It went a little like this...
I woke up to find Matt standing on our counter tops. This isn't normal. Apparently, we had a huge ant outbreak. Those sugar ants. They'll get you out of nowhere. Thankfully, Matt had them all taken care of by the time I got up, so he was just cleaning up at that point. But, still not how I wanted to start the day. I was also going through a period of major homesickness. Some days are easier than others here. But once you get homesick, it gets worse. Fast.
I started work, and got a message from my boss saying, "Hey do you have a minute to talk?" Now, I was already emotional. And no matter who you are, when your boss asks you that question, it sends a shiver of panic.
We get on the phone, and she says, "Can I bring you home in a few weeks?" Well, that's all it took to tip the emotional lever, and I just started crying. Needless to say, it was a yes, absolutely. But then she said how fun it would be to keep it a surprise. But that meant some serious secret-keeping on both fronts.
So, only a few people at home knew. My parents, my sister and of course my boss!
I booked my trip for three weeks. Matt encouraged me to stay longer than necessary for the staff retreat to see that I could make the most of my trip.
I left on Aug. 30. So that meant figuring out how to tell my co-workers I wouldn't be working that day. Because Dominica has such a great reputation for reliable internet, I just let them know the internet would be down that day as they were making some fixes for the start of the semester. They all bought it. Totally believable.
Well, Liat foiled the plans a bit. My flight out of Dominica was delayed over four hours so I missed my connection in San Juan. Since I booked my Liat flight separate, I had to have my sister rebook me on a brand new ticket while I was in the air. I got in San Juan with my sister rapidly texting me details of my new itinerary. I made it to Miami that night, enjoyed some not-so-stellar airport food, and headed to the hotel.
Saturday morning, I boarded my flight to Indy. Ironically enough, the gate next to me was bound for Freeport. I thought about wildly yelling and warning them not to go. But didn't think that would be a good idea for the airport.
As we flew in to Indy, we flew over the Speedway, downtown and familiar corn fields. I had missed Indiana so much, it brought me to tears. I'm pretty sure the woman next to me thought there was something not quite right with me. Oh well.
I'm pretty sure I muscled my way first off that plane. And nearly ran to the baggage claim area where my parents were waiting for me. Oh, it was so good to be home and welcomed with their hugs.
We made our way to grab some lunch - a burger and of course a fountain dt. coke. America.
With the mix up in flights, we had to let my grandparents in on the surprise. But there was still a lot of surprising left to do. We stopped in at my sisters, and got to surprise my nephew Landon. Such fun! He asked how long I was staying for. I told him three weeks, and he let me know I was welcome to stay for seven weeks. But then of course, it was, "Where's Uncle Matt?" Priorities.
That evening, I went to see my grandparents, and hooked my Uncle into coming over. We got him pretty good! Needless to say, he wasn't expecting to see me.
That week was the hardest to keep the secret. Being in Indiana, and not really getting to let people know was so tough. I didn't head to Indy to the office until the next Monday. But Leslie and I sure had some fun with our co-workers keeping that secret!
That day quickly came, and I made the familiar drive to Indy bright and early so I could get to the office first thing.
Leslie met me in the parking lot, and we walked in the back door of the office. She took me to my friend Christine's desk, and said she wanted to introduce her to a new employee. That's when all the excitement broke lose!
Leslie and I were called liars all week. But that excitement was completely worth it.
There's so much to say about those three weeks. And I certainly don't want to bore anyone. So this will have to be To Be Continued....