29 September 2015, Tuesday
So this is how my journey began: screaming in my kitchen. From the taxi on his ride home, Gerry texted “OK” and I danced around the room, laughing, clutching my phone. He’d passed the interview for his visa. The only time I’ve appreciated the six-hour time difference is that text from the cab while I was still at home. It was a great way to start the trip, looking forward to the life to come.
I also spent some quality time with my new phone, configuring apps. Dowloaded Verizon Wifi Connect International, and WhatsApp. (What else do I need?) Checked my email for the last time before shutting down the computer,* and had one from Margaret and John’s daughter, Marina:
T. took Dad to the airport early early this morning, and his plane is on schedule. He’ll be in NY in 3hrs and 55min and then on to Dublin! I asked him if he was a little excited last evening, and he said he was very excited. 🙂
I myself would be connecting through Chicago—but first Kaci got me to Nashville International with my two large suitcases. One was mostly filled with the mattress pad that I’d purchased to help alleviate the hard-mattress problem I always encounter in Ireland; it would stay behind with Gerry’s mother, but we’d need the luggage space bringing Gerry back to Tennessee. I also had three items to carry on: purse, laptop, and CPAP, which is a medical device and exempt from the two-bag limit. Still, they’re all three small enough to easily fit in one of those rolling overnight bags you see in the overhead bins.
Yes, this is why traveling’s a slog for me, the five-foot tall, chubby, middle-aged woman.
I do enjoy the international concourse with the skylight and all the flags from the countries you can reach flying out of O’Hare. And there’s lots of places to linger and get some decent food and drink (if you have the time).
And people-watch. I’m not advocating taking a chance on missing your flight but wouldn’t it be fun to go flying through the international terminal on one of those golf carts with the driver beeping the horn in a steady rhythm? I’m thinkin’ yeah. 🙂
I get a little excited once I’m away from Nashville. The trip becomes “real.” And boarding the big plane was very nice, easy, low-stress loading; nobody anxious or pushy. I had an aisle seat on the right and, it turns out, an empty seat beside me. American Airlines was playing some great slow-jam music, which added to the calm ambience.
And even just three months after my earlier trip (and, more importantly, my continued weight loss), it wasn’t hard to fasten my seatbelt, and in fact I had belt to spare. Wow. Sometimes it’s easier to see/feel your progress in things like this than on the scale, you know? Getting in and out of the seat was a breeze compared to June.
So we got loaded, and then we sat on the runway for thirty-five minutes in the gathering dusk, waiting for other planes to land.
Finally we were in the air. I chatted for quite a while with a young woman seated across the aisle from me, Ginger—an American gal who had married an Irishman. They were traveling “home” with their two little girls to attend a wedding. They’d met in Ireland and lived there for nine years—Ginger had a light lilt on certain words—but now his job has taken them to the States.
Absence of a seatmate made it possible for me to doze for two or three hours, but most of the time I read. I was reading Michael Chabon’s Wonder Boys and truly laughing out loud. The scene where Grady persuades Crabtree to go rescue James Leer is just classic stuff. I love the movie they made from this book, but you should really read the book. I’m still chortling.
* I very rarely use my phone to check email. I’m either working—or I’m not.