Thursday morning came way too early. Dad and I left the house at 5:30 and headed to the airport. I flew to DFW and then caught my next flight to New Jersey. I met Robby, a highschool choir teacher. His group will be singing in Carnegie Hall in the Spring. Awesome!
Upon arrival in NJ, I attempted to text the parentals to let them know I was alive, but it wouldn’t go through… bummer. A couple of new friends later and we figured out how to get to the train that would take us to New York.
On the train I met Carlos. He was a photographer from LA and trying to learn sign language. We had a great conversation and got to talk a lot about what we believe. I think God’s showing him some stuff and it was pretty cool to see his enthusiasm to learn! On the train ride I also realized that my cell phone service had been temporarily disconnected.
When we arrived in NY I stepped off the train into what seemed to be complete chaos. The subway station was HUGE and I thought I would never find my way above ground. I followed the crowd and signs pointing to an alleged exit for what seemed like forever before I finally made it out into the real world.
I had no clue where I was. I dug out the map I had swiped from the NJ station and started trying to navigate. Then I realized the street numbers were going the wrong direction so I turned around and headed back to where I started. About this time the torrential downpours began. Awesome (note the sarcasm).
I finally found an information booth with North/ South signs, but they didn’t match up with my map. Then I realized that the map is not straight. “North” is not the top of the page, but more the upper-right corner. Dumb.
I started walking again, absolutely soaking wet and trying to stay out of the way of all of the people rushing about every direction. I saw what looked like a police officer so I asked her if I was heading in the right direction. She had no clue, but did point me to a vendor selling $3 umbrellas. Great investment, but it sure would have come in handy at the beginning of the whole expedition.
Then Shawn came along and was extremely helpful and gave me the first little glimmer of hope. So I kept walking. I finally made it to the right building – YAY!!! And then I found out I was at the wrong entrance. Really??? Praise the Lord (literally) I made it to the Consulate’s office 20 minutes before they closed and GOT MY VISA!!! Woohoo!!!
I booked it back to the subway station, dodging taxis like a true New Yorker. I found the same entrance I had come out of only to see police officers turning people away. Rumor has it, a train got struck by lightning. A kind officer pointed me to another entrance that would get me to my train. Natasha and I headed that way – she was super sweet.
I bought my ticket and turned around to see that everyone was boarding. So I took my seat, still soaking wet and headed back to NJ. Had a good conversation with Dave, the IT guy from Connecticut for most of the ride. Then he got off and I met Lymesha, a quiet girl from India, who was NOT interested in carrying on a conversation.
We made it to the shuttle station that was to take us back to the airport and the guy told us that the shuttle tram was running late so they herded us onto a bus. I was still wet, but grateful to be getting back to the airport.
I walked in to see on the Departures screen that my flight out had been cancelled. Oh boy. I went to the first American Airlines rep I could find and asked her if she knew what they were doing for stranded passengers. Without saying a word, she took my boarding passes and started typing on her computer. A few minutes later she handed me two new boarding passes. The travel route was the same so I asked her when the first flight was supposed to board. “It’s that flight I just finished boarding, you need to go now.” At this point I would have attempted kartwheels down the jetway if it meant getting where I needed to be.
I was still pretty damp from the rain so I felt like flying mildew. I’m glad that flight was pretty empty! Haha! There were storms in the Chicago area so the flight ended up taking a little longer. We got there around 8:30 Thursday evening at which point I realized I had not eaten or gone to the restroom since about 8:30 that morning. Took care of both of those problems and tried to freshen up in the bathroom. All of my spare “just in case” clothes were still soaked, so I finished drying out my jacket with the bathroom hand dryer, put on some deodorant and called it good enough.
I was actually grateful for the layover. It was the first time all day that I could just sit and not worry about getting to the next place. It was a very welcomed mental and physical break. But just as we were preparing to board our flight back to OKC they announced that our flight would be delayed due to a metal strip sticking up from the carpet. They were afraid some of the passengers would trip over it so they delayed the flight 30 or 45 minutes to fix it. The tired country girl in me really wanted to go back there and take the hammer and fix it myself just so we could get going.
I eventually made it back to OKC around 12:30 in the morning. Needless to say, I did not buy an I ♥ NY t-shirt. Haha! It’s not necessarily a day I would want to repeat, but I learned so much that I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world. Definitely an adventure!!!
And, because of that adventure, I fly out Thursday… I’M MACEDONIA BOUND!!!