Monday, September 10, 2012

Pre-travel Woes

           By 12 pm today I must have consumed 1,500 calories. To excuse myself on claims of stress eating would be a gross understatement. I ate oatmeal, sugar-coffee, a wrap, cookies, chicken nuggets – but in fairness I had my reason.
            Let’s backtrack four hours to 8 am. That’s when my mom knocked on the door of my bathroom and asked me to stop in to speak to her when I got out. Okay.
            “Sit down sweetie.”
            I hate when she gets dramatic.
            Pause. “….you….can’t leave for Tanzania today.”
            I don’t know if my inability to respond resulted from my state of shock, or my acceptance that there is nothing that one can say in return to that comment. She continued by explaining that we had forgotten to file for my visa. Trying to be practical, I asked if there was anything I could do to help the odds.
            I proceeded through my day in an awkward limbo of wanting to be prepared to leave if by some act of God everything worked out in my favor, but on the other hand not wanting to place my bags at the door only to receive the unbearable news that this mornings’ drama was accurate.
            Spoiler alert: I’m on the plane now!! It’s 8:30 pm eastern standard time. We lifted off about 20 minutes ago. This two-hour delay was the outcome of precautionary measures taken in the face of tornado warnings in the New York area. Because that kind of stuff happens in the east coast, didn’t you know?
            In the interest of not jabbering your ear off just yet (I’ll save that for when I am in Tanzania) I’ll offer the highlights reel of the goodbyes.
            Sentimental moment number one: My mom called my dad’s phone as we were entering the airport. She hadn’t cried in my presence earlier that day. This hadn’t surprised me. We have never been dramatic with goodbyes. That phone call was an exception. I took the phone and she cried and cried and gushed words of hope and pride and tulips and fairy dust. Touched, but not jaunted (most likely because my Dad was standing next to me) I reassured her of my excitement and how everything would be great and I’d see them in a matter of weeks (and weeks and weeks…okay months).
            Sentimental moment number two: My dad walked away from me at the airport and I was officially alone and ready to embark. My stomach turned as I realized it. It flopped, and I thought I would cry. I didn't want to, but I felt the swelling anyway. I think this is an important thing to admit. Are you scared? Are you nervous? They ask me. Not really I say. And I mean it, I think. But there's this. It happens. Sadness, loneliness - it's instantaneous really.
            It is equally important to clarify that I did not cry. Instead, I sat down, took out my makeup bag, and painted up a confident face.


  1. I cried.......but hid it as I walked away.   It took me a while to realize it - but my tears were a mix of shared joy as you begin our trip, sadness in knowing we'd all be missing you, and pride in the brave young woman you have become....  Travel safe.


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