In December 2004, I went to visit my grandmother, aunt and cousins in Germany, I haven't seen them in almost sixteen years! My cousins were six when I left Russia in 1989. The reunion proved joyous. I also met other interesting people and got to see a foreign country for the first time since my arrival to America. It was a very enlightening experience.
The return to the US was also educational: the so-called "security" at Detroit airport made me think about turning back and going back to Germany. We are so far beyond a mere police state here that I am, for the first time, greatly embarrassed for my country. It was especially glaring by contrast with Europe.