Sunday, July 28, 2013

Airport fun!

Dear readers,

Please forgive the hiatus, as usual. I just returned from the Camino de Santiago in Spain, which I will be debriefing in longer detail in an upcoming post--so stay tuned! However, I'm currently in the process of catching up on emails, writing cards, organizing and sorting out my life, and I noticed an open word document on my desktop titled, BlogPost7/8/13.docx and thought, "Hm, I don't remember what that is." I originally wrote it in hopes of posting it before I left for the big trek across Spain, but as you read it you might realize I was a bit frazzled by the time I actually got back to my parents' house in WI to actually finish the post. So, out of a bit of vanity and desire to not waste a perfectly good post, here's the story of my travel returning from NST in early July...

Hello dear readers, I’m writing to you today from a nice little spot at gate A6 in the ATL airport. It’s 6:18 am, I have a cup of coffee within an arm’s reach, and my shoulders are sore from carrying around my large brown purse and a cloth tote bag filled to the brim since 3 pm yesterday. It’s nice to be seated.

In case you’re wondering what I’m doing in Atlanta, well, let me entreat you with a small tale. And if you didn’t think I was a bit spacey before, you might have a different opinion after hearing my story now. Way back in the beginning of May when I purchased my round-trip flight for NST, the dates for all the deans and leadership positions to leave was July 7th. In the course of the month and time at NST that quickly changed to be the 6th, so now I was stuck with this awkward day-after-everybody-moves-out ticket, constantly needing to explain to people why I was leaving later than everyone else—for no particular reason minus my own faithfulness to following the rules. [In case you’re wondering, I did look into moving my flight up a day, but with a cost of nearly $200 to switch it, it really wasn’t worth it.]

Yesterday when I got to the Ft. Myers airport I first had to get my large suitcase down from 60 lbs to 50, with not much room to spare in my “carry on” (which, did I mention, is a plastic tote bag that doesn’t actually close?), and after getting it to 53 the nice man behind the bag-drop counter let it go through without charging me the $100 (PTL!=Praise the Lord). I got to my gate, plopped down with my many belongings, wearing my Pope Francis shirt and a smile, and patiently waited. It wasn’t long before the Delta attendants announced that due to a computer glitch all flights were delayed about a half an hour. Ruh roh! I knew I had about 30 minutes between landing and departure for my next flight in Atlanta, so if the flight really did leave at 5:17 as they said it would, I’d have about 15 minutes to exit plane 1 and get to plane 2.

Honestly, at this point, and actually throughout the entire day, I was excited at the opportunity for adventure! I’ve had some good luck in the past in terms of running from one flight to the next, and I always want to see what the Lord has in store for me. We got off the plane with six minutes to get from B26 to B3. I became one of those people that I’ve never wanted to be in the airport: the one frantically running from one place to another weighed down by many heavy bags, wearing a sweatshirt (avoiding those checked bag fees!) and sweat pouring off of me. Gross.

By the time the other sad passengers and myself got to B3 it was 7:23 and our flight was supposed to leave in two minutes. Sadly, the doors were already closed and all hopes of getting on that plane were out the window. Literally: I looked out the window and saw the plane sitting there, waiting to take-off.

The rest of the night’s flights were all booked, so the nice people at Delta gave me a hotel and two meal vouchers as compensation along with a nice amenities kit with a toothbrush, clean t-shirt, etc.

I made a few friends along the way and made it my personal mission to brighten anyone’s evening I could, starting with the first woman that helped me at the Delta counter. I hardly said anything at all, but she told me I was “such a nice girl” and she hoped I could get on the 10 pm flight, for which I had a stand-by ticket. She also checked to make sure I was over 18 because she thought she was dealing with a minor! What a compliment.

A few other waiting lines later, my last one for the evening was to check on my luggage and make sure it was still getting to O’Hare when I was. The sweet lady behind the counter took great care of me, and then as I was packing up my many bags (it takes me a few minutes to simply pick up and arrange my belongings, fitting them like a puzzle on my body), she stood back, looked at me and said in a great southern accent, “Honey, you such a pretty girl.” Again, what a nice affirmation. After hours in the airport I certainly didn’t feel too pretty, so that was assuring.

I then walked right out the shuttle for my hotel (which happened to just arrive), got to the hotel and had the opportunity to clean up and get a few hours of sleep in a delightfully comfortable queen-sized bed. Now, here I am, listening to Nancy remind us that there is a two-bag limit, one being a personal item. Yikes, let’s see how this goes… 

So, there you have it. I ended up getting back home around 11:00 am and needed to completely unpack, organize my room and repack for the Camino in less than 18 hours! In case you're wondering, I did make it, although probably gained a few gray hairs in the process.

Can't wait to tell you all about the Camino! Here's a little preview of how it went: