Okay, let me preface this by saying that I have safely arrived in Crete and have been overwhelmed by this island’s beauty… And also apologize for how chaotic these next few posts will be. It’s currently day three (basically four since it’s midnight now) and I am playing catch up on posts. These last few days have been incredible, but so so busy.
I just want to write down what I remember now while I have a minute before I forget though, because a lot has happened.
The journey here was quite possibly the worst travel ordeal I have ever had the displeasure of experiencing. I’m going to keep this brief though, because this was all in the past and my present seems so bright.
For the sake of accurately keeping track of this trip though, here’s a breakdown of what went wrong:
The luggage debacle: I planned and packed to travel with only a carry on. I’d heard all the luggage nightmares and given the complicated nature of my many flights, figured I’d skip the hassle by packing light.
I was ON my plane with my carry on when a stewardess asked to check my bag in, “for free”, because of how crowded my flight was.
Fine, I said. I couldn’t argue it at that point. (This gets better later on.)
My flight from Baltimore to Detroit went fine. My flight into Amsterdam followed the same. When I showed up in Amsterdam however, I was told my next flight to Athens was severely overbooked under presumptive cancellations and I was put on standby.
Two hours later I watched my plane take off without me. And then I was told that my next flight wouldn’t be rescheduled until midnight… meaning I would miss my connecting flight from Athens to Crete.
Insert tears. Big, ugly tears. Mind you, I was half asleep and fairly hormonal at this point.
The tears did the job, though.
They decided to reroute me through Dusseldorf and I agreed simply because it meant I’d be able to make my connecting flight to Crete. I made one request though: special attention for my last minute checked bag.
Spoiler: my bag was not paid special attention.
The (Continued) Luggage Debacle
I show up in Athens and spend a good hour waiting for my luggage. I watched the belt slowly empty out before finally approaching the counter. I spent another hour simply waiting in line before getting sassed by a tiny Grecian man, who didn’t seem to understand (or simply did not care) that my flight to Crete was taking off as he slowly hobbled around.
I cried again. Only he actually did not care. He did manage to locate my bag, however, which I greatly appreciated. It turned out my bag hadn’t made it past Dusseldorf. Delightful.
And then it got better. He asked for contact information and I realized that in waiting for my baggage I hadn’t gotten a SIM card for my phone. And as I went to pull up my program directors information, my American phone died. And although I had my American charger, my international adapter was in my luggage.. which was in Dusseldorf.
More tears. Actual oceans were slipping down my face. All I could think was my flight is about to take off without me, and without my phone I can’t call anyone to let them know where I am to pick me up, and I smell, and I’m tired… and then everything began to unravel.
I then made a decision: I haphazardly wrote down what information I could remember and decided I couldn’t wait any longer. If nothing else, my last task would be to make this final flight: I had twenty minutes and an entire airport / security line to navigate… so I booked it. I actually sprinted harder than I did back in my field hockey days (frankly, I surprised myself).
I ended up making it by hair.
By this point though, I was so stressed, so upset, so overwhelmed, and so smelly, that I made myself sleep on the short flight into Crete simply because I no longer wanted to be awake. At every turn, something had gone wrong.
But then something changed. I made it to Crete and as I walked out of the airport and looked up at the sky, all I could see were stars. Stars for miles and miles, and a bright shinning moon. And I almost cried out of happiness (although by this point I was practically run dry of tears) because it was just so beautiful.
I had finally made it to where I needed to be, and all of my past anxieties seemed to melt away.
I had made it.
Let me rephrase: I made it, and it has been wonderful ever since.