We’re back in Wake Forest. We were supposed to be back here Sunday night, but the One who controls the planets allowed other plans to perspire (that’s not the only thing that perspired either!). We left London Heathrow at noonish, after a little bit of drama concerning only being able to take one carry-on bag: we each had two bags. We were only allowed one and they were strict. We eventually got through: I crammed my computer bag into my rolly carry-on and Emily consolidated. You see: you were allowed to carry the same amount of stuff, but you could only have one bag. So, I carried my laptop, some books, and a sweater in my hands while there was my second bag crammed into my first bag. Wow. Whatever. That wasn’t the least of our worries…
We finally arrived at NYC’s JFK airport. (The receipt for the McDonald’s we bought at the aiport said we were in Jamaica, New York. We both knew we were far from a toothsome, tropical island, relaxing.) While at the airport, we had to reclaim our luggage from London at the baggage claim and re-check it. That took ages, and we were still standing there waiting for our luggage to come down when our connecting flight to Raleigh was boarding. Not a good sign considering we still had to collect our bags, re-check them, go back through security and then run to our gate at the other end of the terminal. Nightmare.
We missed our connecting flight just barely; but while in hot pursuit of gate 31 at the far end of the terminal, yours truly dropped his passport. Yep. Worst nightmare realized. Thank you. So, Emily was running ahead of me and when I finally realized I had lost my passport (which I think the escalator snatched out of my backpocket), she was really far in front of me. I didn’t wanna yell. So, I shifted into high gear–out of breath–finally caught up to her, and said those words that made our hearts sink: “I’ve dropped my passport.” “Stay here with the carry-ons. I’m going to run back. I think I know where I dropped it.” At this time, our flight had just finished doing the final boarding call. I ran back farther than you can imagine, down one escalator, through the corridor playing dramatic music with sumo wrestlers (weird I know), and to the escalator where I thought I lost my passport. Nothing. And then, I made probably one of the worst decisions in my entire life: I ran up a down escalator. Never do this. As you can picture, when I paused for a little breather on the escalator, it would negate my progress. “Why did you stop for a breather,” you’re wondering? Because I was about to pass out. Yep, talk about exacerbating a nightmare. I felt like I was going to lose it. I finally made it to the top of the down escalator and just plopped down. Game over for me. I didn’t pass out, but wow. All of a sudden I had a new cough, my lower lip was bleeding and my face had gone pale as dry wall. Fantastic. And nobody I tried to mutter words to had seen my passport–of course they hadn’t. So after running back wherethrough Emily and I had just run with our carry-ons, I walked back to Emily utterly defeated.
No passport. No connecting flight. It turned out that this hadn’t just happened to us–the missing the connecting flight part. Several others had missed the connecting flight, too. So, we got in the queue behind them to try to get on the next flight to Raleigh, and guess what time that flight was: 10:00pm, landing at midnight. The time at the time was only 5:00pm. Yippee. We were put on standby and went for something to eat (the above mentioned McDonalds). Let me also say that by this time (before eating), I notified every single airport employee I could find, asking if they had seen my passport. I went all the way back to the baggage claim, through security, the escalators, baggage services, and lost-and-found. Nobody. Nothing. All I could think was that my passport could be en route to seriously, literally anywhere in the world, considering the mass of people that run through JFK. That made me feel ill.
Well, we didn’t get the standby flight at 10:00pm either. It was overbooked from everyone that missed the earlier flight like us. The next flight wasn’t until Monday morning at 8:00am. That’s a problem considering it’s a 1hr 30min flight from NYC to Raleigh, and Emily was supposed to start orientation for nursing 9:00am that morning and I, Hebrew. We had no choice though. We took it and got confirmed seats on that 8:00am flight. But, our next dilemma was going to be what we were going to do between 10:00pm Sunday night and 7am-ish Monday morning when we had to be back at JFK. Sleep at the airport? Pay for a hotel? We waffled, but eventually thought we would try the service desk and explain our situation to see if they would hook us up with a free night’s stay at a hotel or maybe some cash or perhaps a hug. Well, the good news is the lady was so nice and gave us a voucher for a free night’s stay! But, if you think that’s good news, check this out: remember I lost my passport right? Well, while this was going on, they called my name on the loud speaker. This airline employee had had it dropped off at her gate! My faith in the public is restored. I got my passport back no problem! Ha! And, we also had a hotel for the night. But, we weren’t as tickled as I was now, because we were dreading having to miss our goings-ons Monday morning here at home.
At midnight we finally got checked in at the hotel. We had to ride train and shuttle to get to the hotel only to find a massive long queue already formed by other passengers in our boat. It’s a bit unfortunate for the stereotype that the French ladies in front of us lashed out at the hotel desk clerk big time. That’s a problem. Bon jour to you, too. We got into our room and had showers and tried to sleep for 6 hours. We needed to leave the hotel at 6am to get the appropriate shuttle in order to get back to the airport to get on our flight to Raleigh. We slept horribly, waking up every 30 or so minutes. Drama. Stress. Everything was crazy.
But we woke up (or were awake) when our wake-up call sounded and we headed back to JFK. We arrived without a problem and were soon sitting at the same gate we had lost our minds at the night before. We had plenty of time. 7am something rolled around and we boarded for Raleigh, and arrived back in Wake Forest courtesy of our hero Dave who was so kind as to pick us up on short notice. We love you, Davey D. It was great to see this jaunty, smiling young man greeting us at the Raleigh airport to take us home. We collected our bags, rode in style to Wake Forest, and arrived at about 11am. Yeh, remember, Emily’s orientation started at 9am and so did my Hebrew. We scurried around, had showers, and we’re back out the door by 11:30. Wow.
Now it’s Tuesday and we’re still jet-lagged, but praise the Lord from whom all blessings flow, we’re back! Our bed last night never felt so good. Now we just need to unpack!