Monday, July 11, 2016

Day 21: The Last Challenge

To everything there is a season and this season has come to an end. These three weeks have felt like three months, but I've had fun and enjoyed myself. I was nervous yet excited about starting this program and now I'm nervous and excited about what comes next. We were exposed to so many ideas and received so much great advice that I don't know where to begin. Although I have some much work to complete I'm ready to pen my thoughts and experiences.

This morning we left heading for the airport at 6:30am. I packed and showered the night before to make sure I could sleep as long as possible this morning. I made the mistake of not sleeping before the plane ride coming here and I planned to learn from that mistake this time. We arrived at the airport early just in case there were issues like long lines, delayed flights, or worse...cancelled flights. It's a good thing we did because the airport was packed! We knew that we wouldn't miss our flight but we knew we would be cutting it close. Fortunately, a representative allowed us to cut the long line and go to the ticket booths to expedite the process. After all the worrying about the weight of my luggage I discovered that the gentleman didn't even weight it. He simply asked how many bags we each had and printed about mad. I purposely purchased another bag to lessen the weight of my suitcase.

We boarded our flight on time but our flight still ended up being delayed, leaving us sitting on the mat wondering if we would miss our connecting flight. The pilot did all he could to make up the time in the air but we were still behind. We were instructed to hurry off the plane and hurry to customs. After exiting the plane, we walked down the hallway and turned the corner to see a line that zigzagged around the room several times then wrapped around another corner. The entire group's heart sank. Although the line was moving quickly it was a very long line. On top of that I was informed that we still had to pick up our bags from baggage claims, re check them, and go through security again before boarding our connecting flight. Tired and frustrated I knew we'd miss the plane.

Our teachers never gave up hope and stated there was still a possibility we could catch it. We preceded through all of the requirements and got to security. The guy looked at our tickets and stated that the flight may be gone. A teacher stated, "We're hoping they will wait for us." I admit that negativity had set into every bone in my body at this point. I realized it was no one's fault but, I still was angry. We got through security and began running through the airport. As if things weren't already complicated enough, our terminal was on the other side of the airport. In his absence, I crowned myself Dr. V and led the group as if I was Moses fleeing Egypt. Powering walking with a heavy backpack on my back, a heavy carry-on on my shoulder, and cramping in both my legs, I found myself only making it off the idea of "maybe." "Excuse me, pardon, pardon me..." spilled from my mouth constantly as I made my way through the crowded airport. 
Then, like the Starbucks signs illuminated in the skies that I've grown to appreciate so much on this trip, I saw the gate... "E-31" but I didn't see a plane outside nor any passengers setting in that area. With sweat literally pouring down I came to a stop and just stood there in disbelief of us being left. A woman at the booth looked up at me and asked "Sir, are you part of the missing group?" "Yes..." I replied. "Where are the rest of them?" "All of them are right behind me, I ran to see if there was a chance but I see that..." "Well hurry sir, we're waiting on ya'll." she replied. I immediately turned around and motioned for the group to hurry and everyone that passed me passed me all the same way..."bent over with heavy bags, sweat pouring down from their faces, huffing and puffing, but all smiling. We were going home, we were going home.