I started writing this while on my way home from Seattle on Saturday January 10th. It’s a long one… Enjoy.
I woke up this morning knowing it was still too early to be awake, but I also thought my sister and I may have overslept. We wanted to be up by 4 AM to be prepared to leave no later than 5 AM. I went to the bathroom and then crawled back in bed next to my sister who had also woken up. I asked her what time it was and she sleepily said “3”. I tried to get back to sleep with little success. An hour passed and her phone alarm was telling us it was time to rise and shine… the rising I could do, didn’t want to but did. Janelle decided to stay in bed. She planned on taking me to the airport in her pajamas and I didn’t blame her a bit. I got in the shower trying not to make much noise as Mike & Gail were still asleep.
I was wide awake. I brushed my teeth like a good girl and put my warm clothes on. This would be the last time in a long while that I’d be wearing long sleeves and a jacket. I told myself “appreciate and take in the nice cool air while you can.” It will be another long two years in the humid hot air of Guam. The night before I had thought that I’d just brush my hair and not bother with fixing it since it would be messy by the time I got home anyway. By the time I got out of the shower and brushed my wet hair I thought it would be wise to blow it dry and fix it anyway. I didn’t want to be colder than necessary on the way to the airport and thought to myself, what if I run into someone I know or someone famous while I’m in Honolulu… you never know. Of course I didn’t but you never know and had I not done anything with my hair I would have.
I crept back into Janelle’s room, slid my toiletries into my suitcase, put my shoes on and then gently woke her to let her know I was ready to go when she was. I got ready much quicker then I expected. I told her I’d rather leave early than late. She put some shoes on and then said “Oh shoot, I forgot about Spike”. Spike is Ashley’s dog. He’s a tiny thing and he had slept with us that night. We pulled back the big heap of down blanket on the bed and there he was just looking up at us, as if to say, “What!?!? I was sleeping here.” She scooped him up and said, “Do you want to go for a ride?” I immediately thought of my pups, Jack and Tess, back home in Guam. The minute the word ride is mentioned, you’d better be prepared to take them because they won’t let you otherwise. If Matt and I plan to take a “ride” we spell it out to each other… r-i-d-e. It’s hilarious. Spike didn’t have a high energy reaction like my pups do but he gladly went along in my sisters arms.
I grabbed my things and headed out the door. We got in the car and Spike curled up in my lap right in the middle of my “U” neck pillow. It was so sweet. We stopped at Starbucks for my Chai Latte. I was going to savor this as long as I could… the cold air, the wonderful smell of my tea, and my sister by my side. I was sad to leave but anxious at the same time to be home. I just wished I could apparate home. When I wanted to come back, disapparate again, to be with my Grandma, Janelle, and Dad. Apparition only exists in the wizarding world with Harry Potter and his friends so I’ll have to settle with a flight or two and a long while in a couple of uncomfortable airplane seats.
The roads were nearly empty. It was so strange to be here again and then gone so quickly. When we got to the airport, Janelle pulled up the sidewalk next to the Northwest Airlines sign. I gave Spike a little kiss on the cheek and passed him to Janelle. I got my bag out of the back seat, placed it on the sidewalk and then reached in the car to give my sissy a big hug and kiss good-bye. This was so bittersweet for me. I just wanted to be able to take her with me. As much as I was happy to be going home, I was going to miss her so much. We said our good-byes and then I walked inside.
There were no lines which was nice. I simply walked up and began my check-in. The self-check-in computer showed that the plane was full, as most are when you are traveling to Hawaii. My seat was not assigned yet but there were a couple of aisle seats available if I wanted to pay $20. The $20 was worth it as far as I was concerned. I paid, got my boarding passes, checked my bag, and was on my way. My chai was almost gone so I decided I’d better finish it before getting to security.
At security there wasn’t a line either. I was used to the airport security routine. I took my jacket off, took my MacBook out of its bag and then removed my shoes. I was ready to go in a mere minute while the lady in front of me was arguing with the poor security guy about not wanting to remove her shoes and jacket. Where she was from this wasn’t required and she wanted it to be known. Soon I was through security and on my way to my gate. I took a short ride on a subway to the next terminal where I quickly found my gate. I don’t think I’ve ever been from the check-in kiosk, through security, and to my gate as quickly as I did. I had two hours until boarding was to begin.
My dad had called my sister the night before, while she was on her way home from school, and asked that I call him prior to boarding my flight. Since I had plenty of time to do so, I found a pay phone, inserted 4 quarters and dialed my dad’s number. He informed me that Grandma had needed a blood transfusion but was doing well. He was happy that I had called and wanted me to call him once I landed in Guam. I told him I would and apologized for such a short visit. He told me that he understood and that I was where I needed to be when I needed to be. Grandma had been able to see me when she needed me and that was what mattered. We said our I love you’s and good-bye’s and hung up.
I decided to call my mom once I hung up with my dad. I hadn’t talked to her in what seemed like forever so once I heard her voice I immediately wanted to talk as long as I could. Soon my four minutes were over and I was digging for more change out of my wallet. She said she could call me back if I gave her the phone number that was on the pay phone. I did and told her if the phone didn’t ring soon I’d call her back after getting more quarters. The phone rang shortly after I had hung up and my mom was happily on the end of the line. We talked and talked and talked some more. Time was passing and I only had about an hour until boarding began. My stomach started to talk to me (very loudly I might add), so I told my mom I’d better get some food. We said our I love you’s and good-bye’s and she also wanted me to call her once I arrived in Guam. I told her I would. I love you’s were exchanged again and then I hung up.
I went to Burger King and got some breakfast. I sat down at a table and pulled out my MacBook to begin responding to some emails I had neglected the night before. It was nice to be able to just sit and not have to worry about being anywhere at the moment. I knew I’d be smooshed into an uncomfortable seat in a matter of hours so I took advantage of space while I could. Soon I was done eating and my battery was getting low on my MacBook so I cleaned up what mess I made and went on a search for an outlet. I found one next to seat at the gate next to mine. Only a few people were sitting at this gate as there wasn’t a flight to depart from it in several hours. It was perfect.
I sat down and still had a little while to relax before boarding my flight. I plugged in my iPod and MacBook and continued replying to some neglected emails. Soon a polite voice was on the loud-speaker stating “Northwest Airlines flight # 219 would like to invite First Class and Elite One Pass Members to board”. Soon they were boarding coach ticket holders. I decided to wait until the line died down. There was no point in standing in line and getting to my itty bitty seat quicker the necessary. Once the line wasn’t so long I stood and joined the queue.
I found my seat, 22C, and sat happily waiting for late comers to board. Soon I found a very nice family joining my row. A very sweet family of four shared a row of seats with me and another gentleman. Kate, Oliver, Madi (5 years old), and Nancy (3 years old), were taking a two-week “holiday” to Honolulu. Immediately, I noticed Kate’s lovely British accent. She told me they were originally from England but now they live in Calgary. They were escaping the bitter cold for some nice tropical weather. Seating arrangements were as good as they could be. Each row consisted of six seats with the aisle down the middle. The two girls sat in the window seats, Kate & Oli sat in the middle and then myself and the other gentleman (which slept most of the time) sat in the aisle seats. I told Kate if either her or Madi needed to get up to not worry about letting me know. She thanked me and we got as comfortable as we could.
The flight was smooth and soon we the flight attendants were making the rounds with food, available for purchase, and drinks. I bought a fruit and cheese box and after eating it decided I should try to get some sleep. It was going to be a long day and I’d better do it while I could. I slept for about two hours. Soon the flight was over. After landing an announcement was made that passengers taking connecting flights needed to get off the plane, go to the third floor and then take a “wiki wiki” bus to the connecting terminal where we’d find our gate.
When I got off the plane I saw the screens with all the gate numbers and found that my gate was just two gates down. I was a little confused. I tried to find an information desk to make sure I wasn’t supposed to take the “wiki wiki” bust. The closest information desk was empty… no one to help. I went to gate 14, the gate that my flight was apparently supposed to leave from in about 3 hours, and they were boarding another flight. About 100 feet away there was another information desk with someone to ask. Once I got there, I stood politely in line to ask my question. Apparently people didn’t like standing in line because several people kept going right in front of me to ask their question. After the second time of being polite, I didn’t continue letting people cut me off.
I was finally able to ask my questions. Let me just tell you, the information lady was not a happy person and should not have worked in customer service. I was as sweet as pie and said, “I’m a little confused. There was an announcement on my flight that stated passengers with connecting flights need to take a bus to another terminal where they’ll find their gate but the screen here tells me I should be at gate #14. Where should I be?” I then handed her my boarding pass. She looked at my boarding pass, at a sheet of paper with a list of gates on it, and then at me with a large amount of disgust and said, “You should be at gate # 13!”. Gate number 13 was one gate down from the one I had arrived at. Oh, and I forgot to mention… these gates are very, very far apart.
I started to walk back where I came from and found gate number 13. Gate number 13 had another flight boarding so I got in line again and once I reached the lady behind the desk I asked her if the next flight leaving from this gate was going to Guam. She was pleasant and said no. I told her what the other lady had told me and she then told me that as far as she knew my flight would be boarding at gate 14. So I took my very unhappy rear end back down the long walk and sat down where I could find a seat and outlet to charge my iPod and MacBook again. At this point I just wanted to file a big complaint but didn’t have the energy.
My flight boarded about 2 hours later and I was really ready to be home. I received an email from Matt shortly before boarding. He told me that my flight was going to be late… lovely. When I got onto the plane it was bigger then the plane from Seattle but at capacity. An unmarried couple, in their 20’s, sat behind me. I think he was in the Navy but I couldn’t be sure. An older woman sat beside me. She was on her way to her brother-in-law’s funeral. I gave her my sympathies and she was grateful. I told her I was anxious to get home and soon we were in the air.
About 45 minutes into the flight food was coming around. We were asked, “Beef with potatoes or chicken with pasta?” I chose chicken. Between the two that was the one they couldn’t mess up as badly. Turbulence began shortly after I started eating and then it got worse and worse. My stomach is already uneasy on a normal flight so this was beyond uncomfortable. At one point the right side of the plane tilted downward and then the whole plane fell. I was so scared. I was gripping onto the arm rest and praying that I’d make it home to Matt and my pups. The woman behind me started to cry and scream, “I don’t want to die!!!” over and over. This didn’t help.
After about 30 minutes the bumps died down a little. Occasionally there was a little more, but not nearly as bad as before. This is when I took these pictures…
The rest of the flight was just scary and nauseating because I didn’t know if the turbulence was going to come back. My stomach never really recovered. It was the longest 7 hours of my life. Once the plane landed I was very eager to get my feet planted on the ground.
The line through immigration was quick since I was a returning resident and then it was onto baggage claim. This wasn’t as quick but I didn’t really care how long it took as long as I didn’t have to step back onto the plane. My bag came around the carousel after about 30 minutes of seeing the same sea of gray, green, black, and blue bags. I told myself, the next time I buy a suitcase set, I’m going to buy one that is beyond all these colors. No matter what you tie to it, like our big red piece of thick ribbon, it still blends in.
Customs was as quick as immigration was… I wasn’t bringing live animals, plants, or explosives so I was good to go. I made my way past all those waiting for loved ones and outside. Matt was going to pick me up at the curb so there was no need to park. I didn’t care, as long as he was there, which he was and in the best of way. There was the red Commander with the windows down and two of the best looking dogs in the world, my wonderful Tess & Jack. I was so happy to see them. Matt quickly got out of the car and got my bags in the back. I was so wrapped up in seeing my pups that I didn’t care about anything else. I got in the car and gave Matt a big kiss.
On our ride home I told him about the flight from hell and told him I hoped to not get on another plane for a good while. He laughed. It was so good to be home… with my Matt.