Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Hazards of Kinder Eggs

We've now been back in the United States for a whole week, and I already miss Spain!  However, at the same time, it is nice to be home.  It’s wonderful to see my family, and I am looking forward to being back at UCF for the spring semester.

At this point, I think our blog is drawing near to a close, but we still have a few post topics left up our sleeves.  Today, I shall relate a cautionary tale about the dangers of European candy.  It is the story of how I was detained in United States customs for the possession of Kinder eggs.

Amanda and I woke early on Thursday the 20th for our trip back to America.  Fernando drove us to Cervantes Plaza, where we said our goodbyes and boarded the bus to the airport.  Upon our 7:15am arrival to Madrid-Barajas airport, we learned that our 10:30 flight was delayed and would not depart until noon, so we had a long wait in the airport.  We eventually boarded and had a long, uneventful flight to Miami.
We made it off the plane and through the preliminary customs line with our heavy carry-ons, sleepy and warm, since we were overdressed for Miami weather.  Next we found our suitcases and made our way to the final line.  Amanda made it through without trouble, and at first, I thought that I had, too.  The man looked at my passport and customs form and told me to have a nice day, before he said, “Wait a minute.  Please follow that blue arrow.”

Instead of following Amanda through the doors to family and freedom, I was directed to a line off to the side.  I could only shrug at Amanda through the glass door and head off where I was instructed.  There, I waited for another half an hour.  I had no idea why I had been sent off to this mystery line, and my nerves intensified when the girl behind me grew frustrated with a security officer at the line and he told her, “Ma’am, by getting angry, you are only making this worse for yourself.”

Worse?  Were things already bad?  Were we, in this line, in trouble?  I racked my brain for anything that I possessed that could be the problem.  I did have a sword-shaped letter opener that I bought in Toledo, but I had packed that souvenir in my suitcase since I knew it wouldn’t be allowed in my carry-on.  I did have coconut-flavored turrĂ³n.  Did that count as fruit?

Eventually, I made it around a corner to a counter where a man explained to me that I had been flagged because I had Kinder eggs.  Kinder eggs are hollow chocolate eggs with toys inside, hugely popular in Europe.  I had a few in my possession to give away to friends and family here in the States.  I learned that they are not sold in the United States because they are considered a choking hazard, so the customs officer warned me not to give them to small children, and I was good to go.

All in all, it was a nerve-racking half hour, but in retrospect, not a big deal.  I was reunited with Amanda and my mom and brother, and we made it out of the airport and back home without further hang-ups.

But you can be sure that I will never, ever, give a Kinder egg to a small child.

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