So it was April 2009 and I was decided on going to Växjö, Sweden. Which now that I think about it was just about as in-the-middle-of-nowhere as where I was already going to school at the time. But hey, it was foreign, I was 20 and it was just one semester. And I had the free time...
I finished up my semester in May and gave up my beautiful apartment (seriously, this apartment was AMAZING, you should be jealous without ever having seen it. Start being jealous...GO) and moved home for the summer. I worked all summer, I can't remember now if it was at my dad's office or a local restaurant...see how
Well the week of my grand adventure finally arrived and I hadn't packed anything. I had done a little Target shopping i.e. going in with the intention of buying things I needed for my semester abroad and in actuality buying random crap including clothes and shoes I was convinced I would need. And fruit snacks. I love fruit snacks. But only the strawberry ones. But I finally got everything packed, to my dog's dismay--he had protested my departure by sleeping in my open suitcase for the entire week it had been out.
Now the night before my flights, in my attempt to be oober-prepared (hell yeah to making up new words), I had printed out my flight itinerary, done the online check-in, and printed out my boarding passes. And I had gone through my Dad's ever-so-handy and not-at-all-overbearing verbal, international travel checklist. And passed every-damn-time. YES.
The morning of my departure day arrived and I was excited. But I wasn't excited in the "I'm going to see the world!" way, or the "Leave it all behind!" way, I was just...well excited to be doing something out of the norm. It never really registered in my mind that all my planning wasn't for an ordinary trip. But it wasn't ordinary, and I was leaving. At 9:30pm. From Madison (my city's airport)(not an international airport).
We packed up my giant suitcases and backpack and headed to the local airport. It was approximately 7:30pm. On the way my dad asks me to double check, by double check I mean 500th check, the time of my flight. I roll my eyes but oblige him in hopes that I can finally prove trustworthy rather than accident-prone.
Me: "Oh fuck."
Dad: "What?!?!?" He shrieks, seriously exasperated and having a minor heart attack just in anticipation of what I could have possibly gotten wrong. And yet, you could sense an air of absolute unsurprise.
Me: "My flight leaves CHICAGO at 9:30..my flight TO Chicago left at 5:30pm." I begrudgingly tell him.
Dad: "lajkherboisjdhfljdaf" He was gasping, sputtering, blathering, and furious.
Me: "Relax Dad it will totally work out, let's just keep going to the airport and see what we can do." I say with complete faked confidence while my mind is brutalizing itself for allowing this to happen. What the hell was I thinking? "Oh yeah Emily it's no problem at all to change a 1,200$ flight.. Oh yeah no big deal you just missed all your flights... IT WILL TOTALLY BE FINE YOU BLATHERING IDIOT!" Yeah no. I guess my mouth was expressing my desire for everything to work out...rather than the cycle of abuse my brain had started on itself.
Grudgingly my dad takes me all the way to the airport refusing to believe that there was any way to rectify my mistake that wouldn't cost him a fortune. To be fair to my dad here, past experiences with me led him to that conclusion which is 100% legitimate and called-for.
As we walk in, it is eerily quiet. There are just a few people placed here and there waiting for whatever they were waiting for. I am starting to panic a little bit but not nearly as much as I should have been. I was really just upset that I got the times wrong, not that anything bad would happen. And then as we keep walking....we realize ALL of the check-in counters are closed because there are no departing flights from the airport after 7:00pm. HA! My thoughts were along the lines of "well shit...now what?"
And then we hear, "Hey there guys!! What are you doing here??" We turn to see my brother's long-time good friend who works at the airport. We tell him my sadsap story and he goes, "OH! No problem at all let me see what I can do." Go figure that he works for the airline that I was flying with, had enough of a rank at the airport to do favors, and was AWESOME. "Yeah here you go, I've changed your flights for exactly the same route/times/etc just dated for tomorrow!" In fear I asked, "How much will that cost?" and this angel tells me, "Oh, nothing! I've already changed it. No cost! I'm just glad I forgot my cell at work today, I was already on my way home when I realized I left it here and that's why I'm even here at all."
At that point I started cracking up. I probably looked a bit nuts because, as is my custom, I tend to get awkwardly loud when I'm nervous. So here I am, laughing my ass off in the middle of a mostly empty airport after completely botching my grand departure. As if I would have done it the normal on-time way. Right.
So there I was. Empty airport, missed flights, outraged father, but I didn't care. I was going to Sweden. Tomorrow.
And that is the story of the first time I was ever truly lucky. Or blessed. Or blatantly experienced a miracle. Whichever one of those sounds best you go ahead and just stick to that.
Until next week--