I have arrived. Not without some commotion, however. For some odd reason, since I kissed BF goodbye at the Indianapolis airport, I’ve been a mess about losing things. And so has US Airways–MY LUGGAGE, to be exact.
The Crazy Lady in Seat 11E
May 30, 2011
International flights are pure misery. The only good thing is that they get you here. That’s it. People are way too competitive for overhead bin space. I had to tell a woman to back off from mine as I was preparing to store my new rolling backpack which was way too bit to go under the seat. A few minute later, I remembered something I needed and took Backpack down, and I want you to know while I was digging, someone put their bag in my space. I was standing right there and didn’t see them. I’ll bet it was her! Anyway, A few minutes later, I remembered something else and was digging in it again, but this time I stood on my seat and left it in the compartment above me and managed to tear a huge hole in my compression sleeve (which I have to wear on my right arm to prevent edema) when it caught on someone else’s bag. I yelled “Damn it!” I now had everyone’s attention. Not in a good way.
“Dinner” was served, tray removed, and I took my Xanax in preparation for a nice, long nap. Where the heck was my iPod? My iPod that the kids bought me for Christmas and Lindsey Hull and my students loaded with songs for me before I left school. Nowhere to be found. The search was on. Everyone within three rows and the head flight attendant, Audry, were involved before it was over. Gone. Simply gone. Assuming that it had disappeared with my tray, Audry and I donned blue, plastic gloves and searched all 300+ dinner trays. Now as disgusting as airplane food is when it’s “fresh” can you imagine after 300 people have picked through it and left most of it, and then it sat in a closed metal cart for an hour? Gross. And to no avail–no iPod. Dejected, I returned to seat 11E where my seat mates consoled me. The man in front of me leaned over the seat and asked, “Did we look in your tray? Yup! I had closed it right up in the seat-back tray and it fell out kerplunk on to the floor with everyone watching. Audry took it well. I was afraid she might kill me.
Some nine hours later, I stood exhausted, a bedraggled mess, watching as everyone else from our plane left with their luggage. I was directed to the “Lost luggage counter.” It was about then that I realized I had left my favorite shawl, the big one I always travel with, in that damned overhead compartment.
Our promised guide met us at the airport where a van was to be waiting so he could drive us to our apartments in Athens. No van. So he took off with 7 travel-worn, would-be-students, who had just flown over the ocean from various points about the US, trailing behind him dragging their belongings. Now, I was the lucky one who only had to drag her new, rolling backpack through the Metro. I actually felt bad for the kids with their huge suitcases by the time we finally arrived.
Now for the good part. I have arrived. My apartment is lovely in a European way. By European, I mean small and lacking in amenities. The fridge is midget, the kitchen tiny, I’m sleeping in a bunk bed, and the toilet flushes with a pull chain, that is if it feels like it. And we’re not allowed to flush the T.P.! That one always gets me. We have to remember to turn the water heater on a half hour before we shower and then back off again so we don’t burn down the apartment building. I have it made, however, as I’m rooming with Dr. McGann, my professor from UIndy in Indianapolis, who is here teaching American Literature, (Mary now that we’re roomies). The other 8 female students are sharing an apartment. I’m just too danged old for that!
Athens reminds me of Brooklyn, NY. I’ve already been sort of lost once. I have a map in my purse with my apartment location dotted in pen so I can just show it for directions. Hope I don’t lose the map!
I just had my first class meeting. My professor is a classy, beautiful, 60 something (?) Greek lady who arrived dressed in a beautiful suit with matching bright pink shoes. She’s smart, articulate, and extremely knowledgeable about Greek history and culture.
This is gonna be great. I’m happy. the adventure begins.
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The Universe is guiding me on an incredible adventure: my Plan B. I write here to share bits of my Odyssey, hopefully to inspire, encourage, or extend the virtual hand of friendship.
When I quit teaching in 2014, I could never have imagined the growth I would experience through travel, writing, reading, therapy, and introspection.
I believe human connection and compassion will go a long way toward our healing, and the best way to connect and feel compassion for one another is through the sharing of our stories.
Thank you for joining me here. I appreciate you and may we grow together.
“You must give up the life you planned in order to have the life that is waiting for you.”