Thursday, December 22, 2011

who doesn't like airports?

i want to start this blog with something completely unrelated, and that is the fact that yesterday, i had the opportunity to drive an hour and a half by myself.

this is unremarkable. the drive to my college is three hours, and i do that by myself all the time. unfortunately, i don't do it at night, and i particularly enjoy night highway driving with a nice can of dr. pepper ten because i am a woman and can defy commercials.

this drive was remarkable because i had the lion king original broadway soundtrack, and i will be damned if i didn't sing every single song like i was about to win american idol. i sounded exactly like young simba. which means that i sounded like a ten year old girl pretending to be a boy on broadway.

not sure how i feel about that.

but this blog is about traveling. i was supposed to write this last night, seeing as last night was when this marvelous singing of the lion king occurred, and then i could've posted it last night and not be writing this last minute. but my brother was watching avatar and i absolutely had to watch it too, and of course, i tweeted about how much i hated humanity.

then jacob alerted me that he left his phone in my car. but that's a whole different blog post.

so this blog post is about traveling.

i have a fairly comfortable life. my parents are paying for my expensive private school with the help of my gigantic scholarship. we did not feel the pinch of the economy. both of my parents are high school science teachers, but my dad is so awesome with budgeting that we have plenty of money. there are a few reasons for this.

1. i do not have fancy, expensive things. my laptop was a big deal.
2. i do not have tons and tons of clothes. just cardigans.
3. basically, i just don't have a lot of things.

because of this, my parents had lots of money for me to experience things, and that, for my family, is travel.

every single summer, up until i was sixteen, we took at least a week vacation. every christmas we'd visit my grandparents in florida, and every spring break, we'd visit my other set in phoenix.

i am leaving to head to visit the phoenix set in approximately one point five hours. and i cannot contain my excitement. mostly because i want to live in phoenix.

at the tender age of twenty years, six months, and nineteen days, i have been to over forty-one states and five countries.

honestly, i'd rather have that on my resume than an iphone. but i'd still like the iphone.

normally, when my family travels, we drive. we drove to florida every year until that magical day that my father discovered airplanes (when i was about thirteen). when i was fifteen, we took a seventeen day road trip and almost made it to alaska. i liked my brother up until that trip. pretty sure i hated him the rest of the summer.

but since that happy day that my father discovered airplanes, we fly. and i have to say, i absolutely love flying.

but this is the weird thing. i hate flying. so let's make another list so you and i can understand how this works.

1. i absolutely love airports. i would live in them if i could. airports excite me. i feel happy. productive. terrific. i adore airports.
2. airplanes are so neat. i don't care about the engines or the physics, i just think that airplanes look cool.
3. i hate take-off and landing.
4. i'm fine up in the air with my ipod playing obscure hipster music.

numero uno is the most important bullet point in that list. airports are my favorite. so the summer of 2010, when i flew from indiana to denver by myself, that was so exciting! and yes, this is what my blog is actually about. me flying across the country by myself like a big girl.

national youth conference, otherwise known as NYC, is something that happens in my church every four years at colorado state university (CSU. oh the acronyms!). i am proud to be a religious minority. trust me, we're not on the SAT bubble in thing. we're last on the ACT. so NYC is decently important. it's where the three thousand of us brethren high school kids get to congregate, live on a college campus, and worship god in our little brethren minority way for five days.

because of work, i was not able to fly out with my youth group. i would be flying out all by myself with my one bag of checked luggage and my one carry-on item. i would arrive at NYC one day late but still be able to join in the five day festivities of worshipping god.

this was my only chance for this experience. the next time NYC rolled around, i'd be twenty-three.

the sunday before i left, i swam my last summer swim team relay race (for the team that i coach) and upon finishing, i sprained my wrist on the wall. it didn't mean much at the time, not until i broke my hand three hours later. that didn't mean much until three weeks later when i finally found out it was broken after working the rock wall at my church camp.

i packed and packed and was too excited to sleep. i was going to NYC! i was going to colorado! i was going to meet so many great people from across the country!  my wrist really hurt!

the not sleeping turned out to be a bad thing. my dad came and woke me up at two o'clock in the morning. i think i fell asleep around midnight.

i was too excited to sleep on the drive down to indianapolis, a two hour drive from my house. i chattered and chattered and my dad popped espresso coffee beans like he was dr. house popping vicodin. i was so excited, i was so ready, i was going to fly all by myself. i had my tickets and my luggage and an extra change of clothes and my cell phone to call my youth pastor when i got to denver, and i even had my shuttle ticket to take me from denver to fort collins. i was so unbelievably ready.

when my dad drove away, leaving me in the lit up overhang of the indianapolis airport and i knew that i had nowhere to go but on, i wanted to bawl my nineteen year old eyes out, go home, and snuggle with a stuffed animal.

i managed to check my own luggage without much of a hassle. at five o'clock in the morning, the security line wasn't too long. i didn't have to go through those weird new puffer doors that shoot painful puffs of air at you. i thought that the young guy behind me in a trench coat might be a serial killer. i went back on that statement when he pulled out a paperback copy of the fellowship of the ring.

while i waited at my gate, too nervous to be tired, i played solitaire anxiously on my ipod and listened to kings of leon (don't judge, it was 2010). an asian lady watched me as i nervously clicked through card after card. finally i got to board my flight. i talked to a blond haired lady with a carry on that was probably too large for airport regulations.

just my luck, i was seated next to an old guy who looked possibly turkish. his scruffy beard seemed sinister to me. i was sure that if my dad had been a row behind me, i wouldn've been fine, but here i was, flying all by myself, terrified of an older looking man sitting next to me because he had gray scruffle and puffy eyes. he looked a bit like tim curry.

he slept the entire flight. i anxiously read harry potter.

the flight was flawless. but there was no dr. pepper.

denver's airport is one of my favorites, but once i got off and collected my luggage, i wasn't quite sure where to go with my shuttle ticket. i called my youth pastor and told her i was safe and sound in colorado, and she said, "hooray! now get on that shuttle and get here!"

so i wandered around aimlessly with my luggage and back pack, becoming increasingly more sleepy. but i had just flown backwards in time three hours. it wasn't even noon yet. good lord, i was hungry. and i had a shuttle ticket.

i found a counter behind a curtain of glass. the lady behind the counter took my receipt and told me where to go.

i went in the wrong direction.

i waited and waited in the wrong spot for my shuttle. finally i got enough courage to ask somebody, and i was on the wrong side of the entire freaking airport.

when i found the correct shuttle waiting place, i sat on a bench and munched on some blueberries. my youth pastor called about why i was late. i got on the shuttle when it came and stared at the rocky mountains and wondered about living in colorado instead of arizona. then i remembered that i don't like to downhill ski (too scary) and i hated snow (too cold).

the shuttle dropped me off at a fancy looking mall. i then had to transfer onto a small personal shuttle that had a few people on it. i listened to music while two young guys with gigantic archery bows loudly discussed bow hunting.

i was not in the midwest. i was in a movie where young guys with gigantic archery bows loudly discussed bow hunting.

by the time i made it to CSU and my youth pastor found me, i was exhausted. but it was only noon, and i had another twelve hours of NYC fun ahead of me. what happened next was this:

1. i put my stuff in a dorm. on the eighth floor.
2. i got lost in a big scary building looking for my NYC group.
3. i went swimming.
4. it rained while it was cloudless.
5. i ate dinner.
6. i went to a workshop.
7. i wandered around the campus.
8. i went to ten o'clock worship with 3,000 other youth.
9. i went to a candlelight vigil to mourn the loss of my aunt to breast cancer the previous spring.
10. i slept for six hours before another full day of NYC began again.

in approximately one hour, i will be packing up my suitcase and heading to indianapolis. then i will board a plane destined for phoenix arizona to spend a week with my twelve crazy relatives.

once again, i have harry potter and my love of airports to keep me company.

if you're traveling somewhere this christmas, i hope you travel safely, and that you have a hell of a good time. sometimes the fun is in the actual traveling, not the destination.

and hopefully, i will not be sitting next to a man that looks like tim curry.

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