Friday, April 22, 2005

The Chief Comes to Minnesota


Udeh-Ekeh speaks to GT's third grade class at Rahn Elementary School in Eagan.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, my father came to the United States for the first time in over forty years, spending most of his time in California, where two of his sisters live. However, before he left for home in Nigeria, he made a special trip to Minnesota to meet my wife and his grandchildren. While it was a short trip, it meant the world to me and my family for him to be here.

We prepared for his visit by getting the house clean and planning a special reception on Friday night for which we invited may of our friends and local family members. We also planned on taking him around the Twin Cities to se some of the places we frequent, as well as showing him the kids' school, the Mall of America, and some of the city lakes. If we had time, we also planned on taking him to the Cathedral of Saint Paul- the place of my baptism. (My father is a devout Catholic.)

We planned on his arrival on Tuesday night but on the day of his flight there was a glitsch. He was to board a plane in Los Angeles at 5 P.M. PST, but around 7:00 our time we got a call that made out hearts sink. Udeh-Ekeh was not allowed on his flight because he didn't have his passport. Apparently, because his return flight to Nigeria was coming soon, and because he was planning of flying via Luftansa, he needed to get a transit visa in order to fly through Germany. My aunt had given up his passport to get the proper stamps and they would not be able to get it back until the next day. And, as you ca guess, you can't get on a flight without proper I.D. here in the states, even for a domestic flight. My father's passport was the only acceptable I.D. he had.

Fortunately, Delta Airlines allowed him to change his flight for the next day, even though the flight was booked through Priceline (normally non-refundable, no changes allowed, non-transferable.) UNfortunately, we lost a day to what was already going to be a short visit. We were VERY bummed about the situation, but at least he was able to change the flight and still come to Minnesota.

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