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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Mid East meets Mid West

I have always said that I am "where the mid-east meets the mid-west".  My dad is 100% Lebanese (the mid east) and my mom grew up in Wichita, KS (the mid west).  One again this mid-east girl met the mid-west.

When I stepped off the plane in Waterloo, IA I was baffled by the crowd of people greeting loved ones as they stepped off the plane.  In this post 9/11 world we live in, this is unheard of.  I remember when I was in elementary school (pre-2000) and would get off the plane in Wichita, KS, greeted by the smiling face of an aunt or uncle (whoever had be designated to pick us up from the airport).  With all the new security measures, I was sure this tradition was gone forever.  Not in Waterloo.  For those of you NOT from said area, the Waterloo airport is 2 gates, 1 baggage carousel and 3 rental car desks.  Oh and a "restaurant", which was actually a vending machine and a microwave.  If you stand in just the right spot you can see the entire airport.  
Waterloo Airport
A lovely woman at AVIS car rental helped us through another minor debacle (renting a car is a bit of an ordeal if you aren't 25 or older) and we were on our way.  [Sidenote to my big city friends: When I told the AVIS lady that I had a reservation, she knew me by name.  Not only was I the only person to have reserved a rental car, but she also informed me that when she was closing up the night before she had parked the car out front of the airport and left keys on the counter for know..since our flight was delayed and we might get in late. Seriously...process that for a minute.] Waterloo airport was about   5 miles from our hotel, which was 5 miles from TJ's cousin's (Jackie's) house.  Actually, come to think of it, I don't think we went anywhere in Waterloo that was more than 5 miles away.

As I mentioned before, we were already a full day behind when we touched down in Iowa, so we were more than a little rushed for time.  It was 5 p.m. by the time we checked into our hotel room.  TJ was to perform at 9 p.m. and we still had a family dinner to attend!  We arrived at Jackie's house at 6 p.m.  The house was swarming with friends and family.  Scott and I were quickly ushered upstairs by a familiar face, TJ's cousin Blaine, whom I had met a few months prior in California.  At the end of the hallway in a child size pink and zebra print chair, I found TJ taking refuge from the bustle downstairs.  After a quick and excited "hello", Scott and I immediately began occupying every available outlet to charge up our gear.  In fact, I think we might have blown a fuse in the house, causing a minor panic when the oven shut off (sorry Jackie!).  We conducted a short interview with TJ regarding illness-ridden road-trip and her feelings about the show (which was rapidly approaching). 

We were summoned downstairs for dinner. At this point there were probably 20 or more people buzzing about the house.  I was finally meeting the faces that went with the names I have heard about, talked about, and emailed with over the last few months, including TJ's parents (Janice and Gary) and her cousin Stevie.  It was overwhelming and amazing all at the same time.  Dinner was the first time Scott and I had been able to sit down and relax in over 24 hours.  After wolfing down Jackie's delicious homemade sloppy joes and recounting how this project had first begun to a room full of family and friends of family, we headed to the backyard for some adolescent fun.  I jumped on the trampoline with the children of the house.  Scott found his way to the top of the treehouse.  Then TJ realized what time it was.  We were supposed to leave in 5 minutes and we still had homemade ice cream and birthday cake to enjoy (after all, TJ's birthday was only a short 3 days away).
Scott in the treehouse.

After one of the most hurried birthday celebrations I've ever seen, we packed up our gear, loaded up the car and took of for Joker's Comedy Club. T-minus 90 minutes til showtime...
(To be continued...)


  1. Napoleon did surrender . . .
    I bet TJ's fam is super awesome! Yours too, Bridget! I love the middle easterners. Glad you're back safe and happy!

  2. enjoying the Iowa stories. so far the trip sounds awesome!

  3. LOVE! Iowa sounds fun which is odd because I always just assumed it would be boring. I guess nothing can be boring with tj around. That's my philosophy. rw