A Fortuitous Beginning?

Sometimes, airport travel doesn’t exactly go according to plan. In fact (as my family and friends have so kindly pointed out to me), my travel plans seem to have a knack for going wrong in some way or the other, whether it be almost missing a flight or forgetting to book a flight altogether. (In fact, my cousin Ben told me yesterday that he would never want to travel with me because of my dismal track record in that area…at least he was honest?) Which is why yesterday morning I was shocked at how smoothly my day was going as I completed my final preparations for my five-month study abroad trip to Buenos Aires, Argentina. I had finished packing a few hours early, crossed every item off my checklist, and double checked my flight time so that I wouldn’t be late. Looking back now, I should have seen it was too good to be true. As such, I will now relate the story of how I did not make my flight to Argentina.

The trip started off innocuously enough, with my mom driving me from our house in York Harbor, Maine to Boston’s Logan Airport. She dropped me at the curb in front of the American Airlines check-in area, helped me unload my two (very large) suitcases from the trunk, and kissed me good-bye. Of course it was only after the whole ordeal that my mother told me she had a bad feeling as she drove away from the airport. (This feeling of unease can be attributed to one of two things: my mother’s penchant for worrying, or proof of her psychic capabilities. I leave you to decide which it really is). After walking into the airport, it took me approximately two minutes to realize that I had left my wallet (containing my ID, money, and everything else that is unfortunately rather important for extended international travel) in my mom’s car.

What happened next is best expressed through a cliché: my stomach dropped. Of course, the issue could have been resolved very quickly with a hurried phone call to my mother explaining that she needed to turn around immediately. Unfortunately for me, however, my mom’s phone had died on our trip down to Boston.  (Which of course didn’t prevent me from obsessively dialing her phone number approximately a hundred times over the next two hours in the hope that she would somehow magically answer). After allowing myself a brief and yet necessary moment to freak out, I decided upon my plan of action. I dragged myself, suitcases and all, over to the nearest police car, the idea being that if I could convince the policeman to let me ride with him in his car (flashing lights included), then maybe I could catch up to my mom’s car as she drove back up north. Unfortunately, the police car I chose to approach was strangely empty, so I had to settle for the next best thing: a taxi. I ran over to the nearest open car and said, in what I’m sure was a very pathetic manner, “I will pay you as much as you want if you speed down Route 1 to catch up with my mom’s car!” Luckily the taxi cab driver didn’t ask too many questions and helped shove my bags into the trunk of the car while I frantically threw myself into the front seat.

At this point, I still thought I was going to make my flight. However, once we hit gridlock traffic on route 1 (which was hardly conducive to allowing for the car chase I had in mind), reality began to sink in. After calling American Airlines customer service and having them verify that, no, there were no more flights out of Boston to JFK that night, I began to accept my fate. At 5:30 pm, a little less than an hour before my flight, I pronounced defeat to the taxi cab driver and began the painful process of rebooking my flights. Thankfully, I got extremely lucky in one area: my taxi driver was the nicest guy ever! I’m quite sure that his assurances to me throughout our ridiculous chase north were what kept me from bursting into tears. He kindly told me about the time the exact same situation had happened to him two years ago, and then said that maybe it was a good thing this had happened to me, you never know. Although it was hard to believe him at the time, hearing that definitely kept me sane.

My saga ended as ridiculously as it began, as I had my taxi driver drop me off at a random gas station off of the highway in the lovely town of Byfield, Massachusetts so that he wouldn’t have to drive me all the way back to Maine. I gratefully threw all the cash I had on me at my taxi driver, who at that point felt like my new best friend (I thankfully had put some money in my pocket just before getting out of my mom’s car, so I was able to pay him). I then unceremoniously plopped myself down on the sidewalk outside the gas station next to my bags and prepared to wait for someone to come pick me up. By this time I wasn’t sure if I should hysterically laugh or cry (either way it probably would have amounted to the same emotion).  Luckily, after finally getting in touch with my mom, who had driven all the way back up to Maine by that time, and relating to her what had happened, I was able to talk to my friend Bo Julie. She wisely told me that in this kind of situation the only thing I could do was laugh. And so, in that moment, sitting on the sidewalk of the Premier Gas Station in Byfield, Massachusetts, I allowed myself a good laugh about everything that had just happened.

In the end, what initially seemed like a disaster was not, in fact, the end of the world. I was able to rebook my flights for free and got an extra day with my family in the process. Now, as I sit typing this entry in Logan Airport, a full twenty-four hours after I was initially scheduled to be here, I can at least say I have learned a lesson in acceptance. Sometimes, no matter how much you want something to work out, it’s just not meant to be. And actually, that’s okay! Because (hopefully) it will end up working out somehow, just not in the way that you expected it to. Oh, and the other lesson I learned? Remember your wallet when you’re going to the airport…the first time.

I can’t wait to finally begin my study abroad in Buenos Aires!

Hasta Pronto.

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Pressed Flowers

“Life was an uncertain thing, and there were some moments one wished to remember, to imprint on one’s mind that the memory might be taken out later, like a flower pressed between pages of a book, and admired and recollected anew.”
-Cassandra Clare

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