Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Trip Home

Musings on my trip home, AKA, no I wouldn't like to talk about it, but I'd sure as hell like to yell about it.
  • Dear people who asked me how my trip was,
    Think of Monday. Think how fun Monday usually is.  Now imagine a Monday that lasts for THIRTY FOUR HOURS. THAT was how my trip was.

  • Things started so well. I allotted myself so much time to get from my apartment to the airport bus stop that I was actually able to catch an earlier bus than planned. I was at the airport three hours before my flight, check it only took fifteen minutes, neither of my bags were overweight AND since my school didn't force me to overstay my visa this year, I didn't end up in a small room filling out reams of paperwork while being yelled at by immigration officers. I was sitting at my gate two hours before my flight.

  • Incheon has free wireless for the entire airport! This is the last time on this trip I can say that, and one of the reasons why I love love love Incheon, my all time favorite airport. I sent my mom an email saying, "Already at the gate, two hours in advance. Totally going to make my flight!"

  • On the flight to Narita, I discovered that the downside to having a Kindle is that your book is an electronic device that must be turned off during take-off. I read a lot of SkyMall and was cranky. Next flight, I'll make sure I bring a paper book too.

  • Also speaking of books, I bought The Hunger Games for the flight and it was omg, so awesome. I was told that it would be hard to put down, that I would end up finishing it at 4:00 in the morning, tired and exhausted, but too caught up in the story to stop, so I bought the book to read on my 24 hour trip from Korea to the US and ended up being the furiously cranky girl in line at customs because she had to stop reading briefly. My full review at Goodreads is here.

  • My flight to Narita was uneventful. I didn't have yen, didn't want to deal my card being flagged if I used it in Japan and also, my carry-on bags were really heavy, so I didn't buy lunch during my layover. My flight out of Narita was delayed an hour, but I got a seat at the gate, so all was well. Man, this trip is going well.

  • We board the airplane, buckle ourselves in and sit. And then sit some more. Finally, the pilot announced that we were waiting for a delayed flight from Taipei with several passengers who were making a connection to our flight. The Taipei flight was suppose to arrive "soon" and folks, we're just going to wait a short bit for them to arrive, but we'll be gettin' on our way real soon. You could tell it was an Atlanta based flight crew. We finally left an hour and a half later, bringing our total delay to two and a half hours which, consequentially, was about how long my layover in Atlanta was.

  • The flight, omg, the flight. The flight from Narita to Atlanta was terrible. There were turbulence THE ENTIRE WAY. ALL TWELVE HOURS OF IT. Some were mild, some were more serious, but the fasten seat belt sign was never taken off. I don't mind turbulence, they're like a mild roller coaster which is welcome entertainment on a long flight, but eventually you need to use the restroom and stretch your legs. Luckily, the flight crew was understanding of people ignoring the fasten seat belt sign and the pilot warned for mild turbulence vs. severe turbulence.

  • Somewhere over Colorado, the pilot came over the intercom and asked that anyone on the plane with medical experience please go to the back of the plane, there was a passenger of need of aid. I'm a little disappointed he didn't ask if there was a doctor on the plane (Hollywood, you lied to me), but relieved to see several people responded and even more relieved that the passenger wasn't ill enough to necessitate an emergency landing.

  • We finally reached Atlanta, several hours late, and were put in an holding pattern. Luckily we only circled Atlanta for thirty or forty minutes, but the weather was terrible and the landing was even worse. I've flown on a lot of planes in a lot of different weather and I have virtually no fear of flying, but this landing was rough enough that my stomach turned over and clutched my armrest a little tighter.

  • I reached Atlanta, cleared customs and immigration (filling out my customs form was a delight after having lived in Korea for two years; I have acquired a lot of stuff) without problem and rushed off to the gate for my connection to Asheville, only to get bowled over my exhaustion (I didn't sleep at all on the flight to Atlanta), hunger (turbulence interfered with food service on the flight from Narita and plus, it was airplane food) and the weight of my carry-ons (I was worried my checked bags would be overweight, so I crammed as much as I possible could into the bags on my back). I staggered up to the nearest eatery (a Burger King), was stunned by the idea of ordering food in English, took two tries to find the correct currency to pay with, carefully handed my money over with both hands and then bowed to the cashier. Culture shock, I has it.

  • I arrive at my gate, ten minutes before my plane was suppose to depart. Lucky for me, the flight was delayed an hour and I didn't have to go running to the gate, shouting and waving my arms, to catch my plane. (You laugh, but it's happened to me before.) I borrowed a cell phone to let my parents know I was delayed and they told me the delay was because of the torrential rains and a tornado watch in Asheville. I looked at a weather map and the forecast of the weather front in Asheville making its way south to Atlanta and swore. A lot. And not under my breath (I'm still adjusting to the idea that people around me can understand me). All in all, I was only stuck in Atlanta for four and a half hours, which could have been so much worse, but I had been away from home for a year and traveling for over twenty four hours and I just wanted to get home, hug my mom and go to bed.

  • I made it home! Eventually. It took 30 hours from leaving my apartment in Korea to pulling up at my parents house in America, but I made it and I'm home.