Friday, August 29, 2014

Looking Ahead (Crystal)

As I set out on this journey, sitting at a gate at O’Hare, having just heard that my flight is going to be delayed, I roll my eyes. Great. Another problem to add to my list.

This isn’t my first time around the block. It’s my third semester of study abroad, so I approached it feeling pretty confident. As long as my residence has hot water (unlike Senegal) and a lack of cockroaches (unlike Martinique), I’m up for pretty much anything.

That said, it’s been a pretty inauspicious start. About six hours before my flight, I ended up banging my toe so hard that I honestly feared it might be broken for a few hours. Listening to NPR on the way to the airport, I heard about a landslide that killed fifty people in Hiroshima, not too far from where I’ll be staying (okay, it’s four hours away, but still).

I managed to make it through security and to my gate with about 45 minutes to spare, but then came the announcement: There’s been an earthquake in San Francisco (where I’m to make a connection to Osaka), and my flight is going to be delayed “at least an hour or two”. I wouldn’t be surprised if it were closer to five. Of course, the whole airport is shut down, so my connection might also be delayed in enough time for me to make it! Unfortunately, the pickup service I arranged with the university is set to leave two hours after my flight arrives, so I’m almost certainly going to have to make my way from KIX to Hirakata (NOT a short journey), lugging around a 45-pound suitcase (with a not-quite-broken toe).

As daunting as that sounds -

And…. Wow. It turns out we’re boarding in five minutes.

I was going to say: As daunting as that sounds, I can’t help but take it all pretty lightly. Comparing it to the night before I left for my first semester abroad, I seem like a completely different person. This time last year, I was stress-crying about everything from my French skills to whether or not people would like me. And honestly, my first few days in Martinique were terrible. But I got through them. And now, looking forward to my first few days in Japan, I’m pretty sure it can hardly get worse. But even if it does, even if I have to end up figuring out Japanese public transportation while suffering jetlag, at least it’ll be a way of thrusting myself headfirst into the culture. What will come will come, and even if I get stressed out in the moment, in another month it’ll be a distant memory.

But now we’re boarding. I guess things turn around, eh? Maybe this day isn’t so unlucky after all.

A Street in Osaka

Update: My plane left only 10 minutes behind schedule, and I was able to make my connection, meet the pickup service, and arrive safely.

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