Friday, August 13, 2010

BackBlog #1

The last day and a half has been like a very long moment frozen in time. It never felt as though I would eventually arrive in Kenya. Kenya is a far away distant land that exists in fairy tales and books and pictures, and other people go there, but it’s not real life enough for me to ever get there. I feel as though I’m a traveler stuck in limbo, like I’m going to be living in airports for an interminable amount of time. I’m in a dreamworld. I feel like I’m watching everyone go by without really being there, like I’m simply a human behavior data collection center disguised as a Midwestern nearly-travel-clueless blonde. Tricky.
Traveling has gone relatively smoothly. After a final Taco Bell run, I bid farewell to Mom, Dad, and sister Jo and headed inside the Minneapolis airport to find a nice long security line. I (quite frazzled by now) made it just in time for the scheduled boarding call, just to find the flight slightly delayed. By the time I was called onto the very full flight to Chicago, the overhead bins were full and the airline agent gate-checked my carry-on. No biggie. When we landed in Chicago, I checked outside the door of the plane to find my carry-on. Nope. I walked to the end of the breezeway. Nuh-uh. I asked the attendant where to find it: “Oh, you’ll have to go out through security to baggage claim 6, then back through security to Terminal 5.” I’m in Terminal 1. Ugh. My layover in Chicago was only a little over an hour to begin with, so the delayed flight really made things interesting. I waited and waited at baggage claim 6, all the while doubting myself: Shouldn’t the gate-checked luggage come first, since it was loaded last? Why isn’t mine here? Did I misinform the flight attendant and fail to tell him I was getting off in Chicago? Did I leave my bag at the gate, on the other side of security? More ugh. I impatiently watched the minutes slip toward the 4:35p boarding time. My bag appeared! Woohoo. I rushed to Terminal 5, all the while imagining a long line at international security, a closed gate, and my flight to London taking my luggage on to Nairobi without me. A continuous prayer – consisting of muttering only God could understand – was answered, and I got to my gate with minutes to spare. Some of the residual effects of the stress-adrenaline reaction were alleviated by a bubbly greeting from fellow SM Cassie. Though we shared the flight, we were sitting at opposite windows of the same aisle. Go figure.
Thoughts regarding the flight to London: I was pleased to have an empty seat next to me. I was also pleased to have a large, bald, very kind Syrian man on the other side of that seat. I saw the sun set on North America and rise over London; kind of fitting, I thought. I heard the most high-pitched scream known to man from the poor little girl kitty-corner to me – she didn’t enjoy flying. A flight attendant asked for my “rubbish”, tehe. Someday I will have a British accent and flaunt it everywhere I go.

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