“You need another boarding pass.”
“Wait, but I have this one…look.”
“Haha, silly girl, no you need another for your next flight. And here, grab those bags and put them over here. ” … “Foreigners!”
I joined the meandering queue for a boarding pass. Damn it, Mumbai airport, why couldn’t you just print em all for me ? Because, well, you’re Mumbai airport.
Atlanta’s Hartsfield Jackson Airport, some ungodly hour on August 11th, 2008. I had almost arrived at my new life. The 16 hour plane ride from Mumbai to New York’s JFK had been my first ever flight..in life. It was also my first ever close, and seemingly never ending encounter with loud Indian children with semi-american accents and overflowing airplane toilets. (Note to all potential international travelers – try to not use the bathroom for the last few hours. Regulate your intake. It’s possible.)
Boarding pass in hand, I exclaimed and swore hard because I was a mere 15 minutes from take off in a major international airport I’d never seen before. I have a Dad that explains everything diagrammatically and Google maps everything before visiting. Unfortunately for me, he gave birth to a girl who listens selectively. So now, sink, or swim.
5 years later today, I know this airport like the back of my hand. I know you can take the plane train to cross concourses and not try and make a mad dash using your almost atrophied from 20 plus hours of travel and dehydration, muscles.
Sure, I missed my flight.
Was I going to sleep over at the airport ? – hell no.
“Excuse me, could you help me ? I missed my final leg. Is there another flight I could get on?”.
“No ma’am we are full, you can have a $6 food coupon”
<<And stuff it where ?>>
“Please, I’m a student. I’ve never been to a foreign country before. I’m scared and alone” <<And I also have crocodile tears to prove it.>>
Sink, or swim ?
“Ok, calm down, let me see what I can do.”
Sink, or swim ?
“Looks like we have an opening for the 9:00 pm one.”
At 10:30 that night, I arrived in Tallahassee. A city I had no idea I would fall in such pure, unadulterated love with. A city that would give me so much to be thankful for, and so many people to love and live for.
Today’s daily prompt asks this:
Tell us about a time when you were left on your own, to fend for yourself in an overwhelming situation — on the job, at home, at school. What was the outcome?
While I do not consider this being left to fend off for myself, It was overwhelming at first – to come to a nation unknown, one which does everything exactly opposite, drinks their coffee differently, drives on the other side of the road and the car, expects different mannerisms yet embraces people as different as me; to build a life that I call my own, and mine alone. But the fear of the unknown, the learning process, and the experience of learning to accept people and things around you, and make them yours to love, has been wholesome. I could never have learned to swim like this, if I hadn’t just picked up and moved, 10,000 miles away from a life that used to be mine.