Saturday, February 17, 2007

the arrival

I had just about finished my cleaning and packing on Thursday, February 15, when my dad called. He and my mom, who were flying out of Kansas City and meeting me at the Salt Lake City airport, had missed their flight out of Kansas City. I had told them to be at the airport at least two hours early, which, if they had done, would have allowed them to make the flight because the reason why they missed it was because the flight time had been moved an hour earlier.

Carol picked me up and I spent the entire hour-long ride to the airport trying to get in touch with Somebody so that he would know that my parents would be a full day behind me (because there were no more flights out of Kansas City that night so they would have to wait a full day). Somebody lives four hours from the airport, so it wasn’t realistic to have him drive to pick me up, then drive all the way again the next day to get my parents. I was sure there was an easy solution, but the calling card I had wasn’t connecting and I was running out of time. Poor Carol, who had to witness my complete freak-out. She very patiently suggested calling other people with land-lines to see if they would call him directly, and then went out of our way to get me some dinner, because stress on an empty stomach is never a good idea. After calling all my siblings and several friends, I finally got in touch with my brother-in-law in Iowa who called and emailed Somebody, who called me back right away. Thank you, Ezra.

After checking in my luggage, and going through security, I still had three hours waiting in the airport for my flight. Somebody made arrangements for a friend to pick up my parents when they arrived in Taipei, and wished me a good flight, and then I was left on my own. The emotion of running behind in my packing, feeling guilty for making Carol wait for me, not being able to connect with the calling card, not being able to reach any friends or family, and just feeling rushed and overwhelmed caught up with me and those three hours in the airport were lonely and painful.

And then, answering all my tearful prayers, my sister Heidi called. Ezra had told her that I was having a tough night and suggested she call me. We chatted for a while and I was finally able to calm down and relax.

I broke down again in the San Francisco airport while talking to Somebody, but by then I was just tired and lost and completely out of sorts. Luckily I was getting on a plane for a 14 hour flight and couldn’t inflict my hysterics on anyone else.

The long fight was well, and the time passed surprisingly quickly. I read the entire book, The Glass Castle: A Memoir, by Jeannette Walls, and slept quite a bit. (Oh, and the book was absolutely fascinating, and if Janssen hasn’t read it she should add it to her list.) By the time I landed in Taipei I was feeling much better.

I got off the plane, went through immigration for the first time in my adult life, got my first passport stamp!, and then went on to find out that my luggage did not fly to Taiwan with me. Bummer.

Thank goodness that when I finally left the baggage area and went out to where friends and family were waiting, that Somebody was the first person I saw. And what a welcome sight he was.

Things I want to always remember:
* Riding the scooter all over town with Somebody.
* After dinner, our ride down to the light sculpture and harbor.

Things I will never forget:
* Police checking each car as it entered the highway to make sure that there were at least three people in the car. Vehicles with less than three people couldn’t use the highway.
* Meeting Somebody’s parents for the first time and wishing so badly that I spoke better Chinese. Or any Chinese at all.
* After we checked into our hotel, and were walking to our room, Somebody said, “This looks like the kind of place you rent for an hour.”
* The bathroom having no shower curtain.
* Three TV channels being porn. The really bad kind.

1 comment:

Karla said...

I am so sorry! This is all fun to read.