Thursday, August 7, 2008

leaving on a jetplane

Since the Moroccan keyboards are different then ours in the US, I figured I would save myself some time and money by just typing on my laptop, and uploading the word document. Anyways…
As of 6:30 am on Tuesday I started my journey. Although the first step out the door is when the journey begins, my last post was from DIA and nothing to exciting happens until you at least leave your own state.
After an hour and a half delay in Colorado, I made it to Chicago in time to run to my gate…where I found I hate yet another delayed flight, this one for two and a half hours. I wasn’t upset though, I was actually pleased with the fact I booked a ticket with an extra long layover in Brussels, so it seemed I did some of the planning for this trip right.
In the Airport I met two girls who were teachers in Texas, but decided to quit their jobs and move to Liberia to live on a stationary ship and help out a medical team. They had both traveled before, but nothing like this, and were oddly calm for having such a long commitment at their fingertips. We talked for a while, and one of the girls had been to Colorado a few times, but had only been to Pagosa Springs and Durango. Since I met my roommates two years ago, who are from Pagosa, I had never met another soul who knew about the city until this year, and both were from another state, that I met at an airport.
Two hours after our departure time we finally boarded the plane, only to hear over the intercom that the central hydraulic, which apparently works with the landing gear, was broken and the pilot estimated another hour. I laughed and made a silly joke to the person sitting next to me, only to receive a sheepish smile before she threw her head down. I then tried to make some conversation, only to realize that she was from France…and that I did not attain conversational skills from my three semesters of French. I tried to say a few things, felt silly, and we ended up awkwardly looking at each other, smiling, and looking away until the flight started.(commencer!)
Its funny how one moment can really change a relationship with someone…and how fast the first near death experience of a trip comes. While the whole plane slept I began to write a bit before I could fall asleep. As my eyes drifted and I began to put away my laptop, time slowed, and I felt my stomach drop like no rollercoaster has ever made happen. It was like a movie, people were screaming, butts were a full foot out of seats, lights flickered, and I sat silently, wondering what would happen next. My seat neighbor jumped awake, horrified, and looked at me as if I knew what was going on. The plane continued to jump up and down, then side to side, and I still sat calmly. I grabbed her hand immediately, then closed my eyes and prayed. What was funny though is I wasn’t all that scared. I thought back to a Christian concert I went to in eighth grade, and remembered a man preaching about an experience just like this. I didn’t pray for safety, or for the plane to right itself, I prayed for acceptance. If this was my time, it was my time, but if not, then let me be strong and calm. After a few minutes the plane stopped bouncing, and as fast as the bad weather came, our flight seemed normal once again. My neighbor, who I later found out was named Julia, was really shook up. I stroked her arm, and in French she asked me what happened. I didn’t really know how to reply so I said il fait mal, which I think means bad weather. She seemed to understand, and slowly calmed down.
After about twenty minutes the plane was back to normal, and I finally got some sleep. When I woke, Julia was in a great mood. We attempted to talk for about two hours, understanding a fair amount and having a good time. Turns out the girl whom I thought was probably sixteen was actually twenty-two. This took me by surprise, and I laughed about how skewed my perception of age with people really is. The flight ended and we parted ways, but not before she asked how to say mucho gusto in English, turns out she knows spanish too! She got a bit teary eyed and thanked me for holding her hand with French and attempted sign language. Though in retrospect we were probably weren’t in a near death situation, experiences like that can really open someone’s eyes. As weird as it sounds, this was a great start to my trip, and gave me a lot of hope for overcoming the language barrier I’m going to have. One day down and already I feel the twist of fate that landed me here wasnt a twist at all.
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