Making my way off of the massive (and fairly brand new) Lufthansa plane from Frankfurt to Washington, D.C. I was immediately greeted by an over-joyed American airport worker who was trying to get everyone from the plane onto a tram leading to the main airport. “Keep movin’ along, don’t stop in the center! Go all the way to the end. Hey! Ya’ll are the best passengers I have eva had!” I soaked up this exaggerated American enthusiasm, fully aware that I wouldn’t receive this kind of treatment at the border. And boy was I right; the stone-faced, incredibly unfriendly passport control was not welcoming at all – even to a fellow US citizen.
After 45 minutes waiting in line to get my passport investigated with questionable looks and eyebrows raised (apparently studying and then working abroad for an art magazine warrants suspicion!), I then was greeted by another hour long line just to get through customs. The best part though is the irresistably cute Homeland Security dog officer – a medium-sized Beagle with quite a sense of smell. While I was standing in line, he managed to catch two sausage smugglers (Germans just can’t leave their wurst at home!) – quite impressive!
Feel intimidated? Welcome to the US of A!