A month ago I bought tickets to come visit my mom. Only I didn't tell her. Or my dad or anyone - except my sister. And she coordinated the ride from the airport and staying with my parents (what's a couple of extra guests, anyway?)...so logistics were covered.
There are no direct flights between Sao Paulo and Seattle, so when Chicago showed up on the cheapest route, I made the layover about 10 hours instead of just a couple. That meant Elliott, my sole travel companion, and I could visit the city on our way to Seattle.
We arrived early in the morning and finished with customs and a train delay to bring us to Millennial Park by 9am. But holy moly, it's soooo cold in Chicago. My nose is sore, my lips are chapped and the eczema rash on my hand is bright red inflamed and starting to crack open. Eek.
We visited the bean...or rather Cloud Gate, Millennial Park, the cultural center, ,the Riverwalk, explored Navy Pier and went on the Centennial Wheel and walked around town...of course we went shopping, too. Not so much to buy stuff. But shops are heated and we like that.
Our flight to Seattle arrived about 40 minutes early - no big deal, because my sister Kristal's flight got in early, too. So as we were taxiing to our gate, her plane landed. From the plane she texted my brother Brett to come early and he was only 20 minutes away so we didn't have to wait around at all. My sister met us in baggage claim and then instead of her going outside to meet him, I did. As I approached the car, he got out and was smiling. He'd done a double take...because Kristal sure does look a lot like Bridget. Ha ha ha. Priceless.
After me, Kristal came out. Then a minute later Elliott came. When Brett was sure we weren't hiding anyone else, we started driving. Along the way we called my brother JC to see if he was still at the office. He was so Brett said they'd stop by. So for the next 20 minutes we plotted how to surprise him. Wouldn't it be fun to put Elliott in our big suitcase and say that Kristal brought something for JC? Yeah, that's an awesome plan. Except when we pulled up around the back of the office and got out of the car, we noticed that Elliott is a lot bigger than we remembered and sizing him up next to the suitcase, it was clear our plan was destined for failure. So we just put him in the trunk instead. And not having a plan for me meant I was going to get in with him. Trunk time. Yay!
So Brett drove around to the building entrance, goes in, feeds JC a line about the car having a leak or something because there's a musty smell. JC comes outside to check out the car and Brett starts filming. I hear them and decide to film my first Facebook Live video. Brett popped the trunk open and Elliott and I pop out waving our hands and give JC a mini-heart attack. Success! Mission accomplished. And then I notice that after all the selfies Elliott and I had taken in Chicago, my camera is pointed in the wrong direction and I missed filming JC's reaction. #FacebookLiveRookie
After going out to dinner, we split up into separate cars and my sister, Elliott and I continued our journey to my parent's house.
BACK STORY: Last week I started ordering a few things from Amazon. I was careful to adjust my Prime 2-day shipping to be more like 4 or 5 days so the packages wouldn't arrive before we did. And then Tymon asked me to get some dodge balls and I was like, okay, click click, it's done. And then I realized I didn't adjust any dates. The balls were set to arrive a few hours BEFORE we arrived. Eek! So I started hoping my parents wouldn't go out their front door and wouldn't notice the package.
Which now brings me to the airport in Chicago. Elliott and I are sitting down charging my phone when my dad calls. I answered and was praying he wouldn't hear that we were in the airport as flights are announced. They got the package and he's concerned about how to get it to me. Doh! How did they discover the package??? I bet the delivery guy rang the bell. Darn him.
Remember...this is a surprise trip. So, I say it's probably pretty light and that it's dodge balls. We have to get them from the US. But "Tymon isn't home" I say with certainty...even though he might have been. What did I know? I was sitting next to my gate at O'Hare. So I continue on about making shipping arrangements and getting back to him the next day. Then quick, I change the subject.
My sister is coming to visit. Really?! Cool. Yeah, he tells me. He's excited because she'll come to church with them and everyone will think that she's me because we look so much alike. Except that we don't. I mean yes there's family resemblance, but no for us looking like twins.
The thing is he has proof we look alike. Apparently Google's Picasa wants to label us as the same person. Ha ha. We used to dress up like twins when we were 5 and 6. That was fun. And we bought matching outfits when we were 14 and 15 and pretended to be twins at summer camp. But seriously, it's been 25 years since such escapades. Which brings me back to the...
PRESENT STORY: Kristal and Elliott stayed in the car when we arrived at my parent's house. I rang the bell and my dad came after a few moments. He looked at me and gave me a hug. I didn't say more than hi, no use in giving him more info than necessary to ruin the surprise.
Kristal walks around the corner and my dad says he thought Kristal looked an awful lot like me. Bwahahahaha!
So, it was a quarter after 10pm and I went in to see my mom who was already in bed. I gave her a kiss and she said hi. While our faces were so close together she locked eyes with me. I could see the wheels turning. And not understanding how I was Kristal. How was Kristal looking so much like Bridget? Then Kristal came in and cleared up the confusion immediately.
This surprise trip has had the most fun reveals ever. From Elliott's reaction to when I told him he was coming a couple days before we left, to my siblings' and my parents' reactions. I loved it.
The moral of the story: The best way to confirm that someone doesn't look like you is to impersonate them being you.