Today marks one week, since I decided to move to Medellin, Colombia. The decision was an easy one, but the journey not so much. When I say that I was met with those unforeseen challenges that people talk about, believe me. Those challenges made me question my choices to leave my cushy government job, my hometown, my friends, my lovers, my family, and my new home in Miami.
I arrived here late Tuesday night on July 18th, buuuuut I was supposed to be here on Monday, July 10th. Because of the country’s embargo rule, my three pieces of luggage weren’t permitted. I stood there dumbfounded momentarily and went back home (well to my sister’s). After downsizing and making peace and new travel arrangements, I returned to the airport on Wednesday, July 12th. Notice that I said “the airport,” because during those changes, the travel agent neglected to tell me that my airport changed. And sure, I should have caught that, my bad, but I didn’t. My ass, my luggage, and Otis were at *Reegan National Airport and we should have been at Dulles. (Insert a smidgen of self doubt now) If you are from the DMV area, then you know the insane rush hour traffic and proximity of the two. Of course, there wasn’t a chance in hell that we were going to make it. We went nonetheless, because there’s this whole thing of going and showing up and checking in to at LEAST show an attempt of making the flight. So we did that and were unsuccessful in getting one. Back we went to my sister’s and on the phone I got. This is the part that gets really interesting.
You know how you call customer service and you get the notification/warning that calls can be recorded? Yo, those recordings can come in handy like a mug. I’d spent HOURS on the phone with the travel agent who neglected to tell me about the airport change. They actually had to review the call to verify that the agent never told me and ultimately that was proven. Without financial repercussions, a new flight was booked for your girl and I was bumped up to first class as consolation!! I was so siced because I’d never flown first, even at 43, and it was about to be on and poppin’. I was envisioning myself looking down on the coach folk struggling by with their cheap luggage, while Otis and I sat lavishly sippin’ champs. (Insert Biggie’s “It was all a dream,” because that never happened.)
We’d arrived at the airport well within enough time to check in and grab something to eat, **b’cept we couldn’t check in at all. Turns out the travel agent didn’t know that dogs weren’t allowed in first class. The seats recline (yay), but so much so that pets can’t fit underneath them (nay). Why couldn’t they just bump someone else to first class and we take bum ass coach seats you ask? It just wasn’t that simple. Because my plans were made by a travel agent, they were the only ones with the authority to make any changes to my itenirary. I sat on the phone with them for 40 minutes, all whilst the clock was ticking. I eventually missed the time allotted to check in for my flight. Adding all the insult to all the injuries, when the agent came back on the phone, she couldn’t hear me. My phone wasn’t on mute and I sat there damn near yelling “I’m here! I’m here, hello?!” to no avail. She eventually gave up and told me to call back. (Insert more self doubt here and tears). I just could not believe this was happening. I was that hysterical chick at the airport. I called my girls frantic. I was pacing back and forth crying and saying “What am I doing with my life? Where am I going? These are signs. What am I doing? Oh my God. Oh my God. Oh my God. What does this mean?” My hands were shaking. My bags (Otis included) were left unattended. I. Was. A. Mess. I called another friend and she talked me off of the ledge. She FORCED me to not give up and to go back to my sister’s and collect myself and handle my shit. Eventually, that’s what I did and after 3 hours on the phone, made new arrangements for me AND Otis for Tuesday, July 18th.
Though I was sick of celebrating, I went out with my girls and they had yet another send off for me. Whilst out, guess what happened. Guess. On the eve of my departure to another country with another language, my phone died. I don’t mean that the battery died. No. THE ENTIRE PHONE DIED. It randomly overheated and it never recovered, even after charging it overnight and even after trying to do a hard reset. That thang wasn’t budging. So, there I was with no cell phone and less than 6 hours before my flight. Oh yeah and because I hadn’t traveled within 10 days, Otis’ pet travel certificate expired. He had an appointment at 10am and my flight left at 1:50pm. I had to somehow get over to Sprint, which didn’t open until 10am, to get a new phone, take Otis to the vet, get back home and get to the airport. It was an impossible task, that is without my tribe’s help. My bestie, with two little kids in tow, took Otis to the vet. I got my phone, home and to the airport in enough time…or so I thought. The line was INSANE and there were only two employees. I was sure I wasn’t going to make my flight. I had to resort to asking, no, BEGGING alllllll of the people ahead of me to let me and Otis in front. I explained to them frantically that I’d been at the airport three times in one week trying to catch this flight and my life jive depended on it. They all understood and let me butt the line. I felt badly, because it took 20 minutes and they were pissed. I had to let that guilt go and let God work his magic.
We’d made it. We went through security without a hitch and all was well…until we landed in Miami (ironically where I had a layover). The weather was bad and we circled the skies for 20 minutes, cutting into my 1 hour layover and lunch. I started to panic just a bit about missing my connecting flight. That panic was pumped into full gear when we landed and the pilot announced that we’d be on the runway for AT LEAST 15 minutes. He was right, fucking spot on. Doing simple flight math, add another 15 minutes to actually deplane from the back and ladies and gentlemen, that equals one connecting flight missed. I wasn’t too concerned because I was “home” and was fully prepared to get a hotel and chill. I was dead tired of rushing, but that mystic law and the Lord up above had other plans. My plane was held and we made the flight!!! We were the last of 4 passengers. I was sweating and I don’t even know what Otis was feeling. He’d been in his carrier for hours and I just couldn’t imagine his fear and angst. I had to let that go, too. I soothed him by rubbing and touching through the sides of his bag. I’m sure he felt my presence and that made me feel better. The flight offered a tasty sandwich and chips that disappeared in a nanosecond. I slept as much as I could and towards the last 30 minutes of the flight, I was chatting with this chick in front of me. She was from D.C. y’all and had just moved to Medellin 6 weeks prior. We ended up sharing a taxi and she ended up being my first friend and I’m so grateful for the journey, after all.
*I know it’s technically Ronald Reagan National Airport, but I always and jokingly pronounce it “Reegan.”
**B’cept really means except.