Cincinnati’s chilly welcome

A small portrait of the translator

January 19, 2009 @ 21:40 UTC

Written by

Barack Obama
Media & Internet, International Relations

slideshowHey, America, I’m back! And I’m pleased to be here.” That’s what I wanted to shout when I arrived at Cincinnati airport on Thursday afternoon. Even the blast of icy air that hit me on disembarking the plane wasn’t going to dim my spirits and stop this next chapter in my Obama journey.

The officials at the airport had other ideas though. First was the frustration of having to fill out a paper immigration form, despite having filled out the exact same thing online before I left London. The new system just introduced is not yet fully in operation, at least not in Cincinnati. But that was minor compared to the succession of checks, questions, x-rays, searches and queues that I and my bags were then subjected to. And not all of them were conducted in an entirely friendly manner. I picked my suitcase up from the carousel only for it to be x-rayed, searched and then deposited on a conveyer belt to be transported to a different part of the airport for me to pick up all over again. The lack of signage only added to my confusion.

So it was with great relief that I saw the friendly faces of Randy and Jodi waiting for me. Last time I had seen them was on the evening before election day, hope mixed with nervous tension and the adrenaline of gearing up for one final big get-out-the-vote push.

Then the weather had been unseasonably warm. Now it was unusually cold. -12C when I landed and quickly plunging to -19C as night fell. I’ve never experienced a cold like that; which penetrates clothing within seconds. It was so cold that schools across the area were closed on Friday. On the flip side I was introduced to the great American tradition of making ’snow angels’ in the yard.


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