Seattle, 3:10 am and alarm goes off. Begrudgingly, I force my eyelids to open and try to figure out how to be awake at this hour. My sister, wonderful human being that she is, rolls out of bed and begins to prep for the day, which for her will resume it’s normal pattern after dropping me off at the airport.
4:00 and we’re loading the car, piling in, driving off. I’ve double, triple, quadruple checked for my passport. A few months ago, I started having my normal travel stress dream: I get to the airport, only to realize I don’t have my passport. I have it, as well as a tiny bit of the place I’m leaving, a going-away gift from my sister that I can wear:
We’re driving past familiar places and it’s weird that I won’t be seeing any of this, or any of the great people kicking around here that I’ve spent the last couple weeks saying goodbye to, for quite a while.
4:35 and we’re at the airport, battling my over-large baggage out of the Pathfinder. I’m worried about how much all this is going to cost…oops. Definite fail on the “light packing.”
5:00 and Katie’s waited through the line to help me check bags, an all-time first, and which by some miracle are below the weight restriction. Both are also free because of when I bought my ticket. Score!
5:15 and Katie and I say our final in-person goodbye.
I get through security, get coffee, bum around, and then on the plane to New York.
New York, 3:30 pm and I’m already tired of airplanes and airports. I wander around for the next 4 hours: walk through the whole airport, strangely exchange glances with a celebrity, awkwardly do some yoga in a corner, open a letter from Katie, find something passable to eat and get some wine before I get on the next flight.
7:00pm and I’m on the plane texting away the last 10-15 minutes of having an operable cell phone. Ugh, another plane. And this one’s even bigger. With a longer flight. And I changed my seat to a window to try and sleep, but now I’m trapped. And the plane is delayed. “10-15 minutes” has turned into an hour…
Madrid, SPAIN, 9:40 am, and I’m walking off this plane dazed and confused. I’m pretty sure I know what the date is, but less sure on what day of the week it is. I’m worried that my bags didn’t make it.
10:05 Happily, I immediately spot my bags on Carousel No. 5. Hefting them off and compiling my carry-on into them definitely has got me looking less than graceful, but just these two monster bags make me feel like a donkey (or burrito) completely loaded down.
10:20 and I hop into a taxi, and though my driver speaks no English, what song comes onto the radio but “I ride through the desert on a horse with no name…” I want to laugh but know I won’t be able to explain myself to the driver. Growing up, this song was a staple in Winthrop camping liturgy, so it brought a nice, nostalgic bit of needed humor to the drive.
10:45 and I arrive at my airbnb and close the book on nearly 24 hours of travel. Luckily, I find the place without a hitch or need of a cell phone. I try, try, try to make myself stay awake so that I can get used to the time difference. I take a turn about the neighborhood and it’s beautiful and the weather is perfect. I grab some groceries, happy to be able to buy very decent wine for under 2 euro again.
1:30pm and I can’t hold out any longer. It’s siesta hour anyway. Viva la espana, right? 5 hours later I wake up feeling sort of like I’ve been run over by a truck. Repeatedly. Good thing I bought that wine