It’s one in the morning and I’m wide awake. I stupidly slept all day because of jet lag and now I’m awake laying in bed watching The Karate Kid on netflix.
The night before I left Korea, we went out to a Nory-bong and sang our hearts out to karaoke while drinking Korean beer and snacking on stuff we picked up at a convenient store.
I don’t remember the exact time I went to bed, but when I looked at the clock, I only had a few precious hours to sleep before waking up to make the long journey home.
I passed out as soon as my head hit the pillow and slept through Sarah’s alarm clock, slept through Sarah and Kristina trying to wake me up. I slept through Kristina trying to shake me awake by actually pushing her hand away from my shoulder. They decided to give me another half hour.
I awoke in a blur, packed up my shit, threw on a hat and was out the door. Kristina and Sarah taken me to the airport in a taxi and checked me in – then I was completely on my own to navigate the next two huge airports.
Before I got on the first plane, I spent a good 20 minutes in the airport bathroom just to be sure I wouldn’t have to go on the plane. It was one of my brightest idea’s.
The journey home was a weird one. I fell asleep a lot while sitting on the plane and waiting at the gates. When I was asleep on the plane, I would dream that I was still sleeping at the gate, and when I was sleeping at the gate, I would dream of missing my flight.
I made it to the Shanghai airport and found out where the American Airline terminal was by spotting it on a huge digital display on the second floor. Navigating the Shanghai airport was less confusing than I thought. I exchanged $10 for $44 yen and bought myself a little chinese dragon before falling asleep at my gate.
Woman exchanging my money – “Fawty faw.”
Me – “Ummm…….What?”
Woman – “You get back fawty faw.”
Me – “Ohhh, yeah that’s good.”
I had a bad experience on the second plane – the big Boeing 777, 14 hour journey across the Pacific ocean. I was in a light sleep when the stewardess hastily woke me up to tell me to put on my seatbelt. She sounded very concerned, and in a hurry. Seconds later, the lights went out – the big overhead lights. They didn’t lose electricity, but I didn’t know that at the time.
I had no seat-mate. I was lucky enough to have two seats all to myself, but I would’ve felt much better if I had someone, anyone sitting next to me to bring me some comfort. I had a full blown panick attack. I was about to take out the vomit bag and use it for a breathing device. I was literally shaking out of fear – I couldn’t remember ever shaking out of fear other than public speaking.
I meditated, did breathing exercises. The pilot came on the speaker telling us that there was no way around a pocket of air we had to pass through. The stewardess’ were to take their seats for safety.
Just breath. Slowly in, slowly out.
I never felt panick quite like that before. The big overhead lights never came back on and the pilot never told us we were in the clear, so for the rest of the flight, I was waiting for disaster to strike. I watched Harry Potter 7 two times before I regained composure.
When I was able to relax again, I taken a light nap, but kept waking up in a panick whenever we hit turbulence. I dreampt that the plane was taking me directly to Hartford instead of Chicago, and from Hartford I would connect to another flight that would take me directly to my house.
Finally we were in Chicago’s O’Hare airport. I walked unsteadily to the nearest convenient store and spent $13 on a pack of cigarettes as soon as I passed through customs.
Woman at the counter – “These are $13. Are you sure you want them?”
Me – “Really? $13? Yes, I still want them. I was on a plane for 14 hours (and I thought I might die), so yeah, I could really use a cigarette.
I smoked two of them.
At Chicago, I couldn’t find where my terminal was for American airlines. They had no big display like in Shanghai. I aimlessly taken the escalator upstairs and followed the signs to the trolley car. I asked the attendant standing outside the trolley if he knew what terminal American Airlines were in and he said “terminal three – hurry and get on this trolley and get off the first stop.”
Whew, so nice to hear someone who speaks English. It was so nice to be in an airport that didn’t speak an asian language over the loud-speaker. They talk so fast and high, making every sentence into a question. Eastern language is not my favorite. My ears could finally relax in America.
I just cried at the ending of The Karate Kid. It’s 2:30 am and I’m still awake. I taken two sleeping pills an hour ago, but I don’t think they will effect me.
I found my gate in O’Hare and sprawled out taking over two seats. I closed my eyes and dreamt that my name was being called on the loud-speaker.
Loudspeaker – “Would Melanie please report to her gate. The plane to Hartford/Springfield is about to take off.”
I woke up frazzled and asked a woman sitting next to me if she heard the last announcement. It was something that had nothing to do with me.
Me – “Oh, good. Thanks.”
She laughs a little. I stop resting my eyes, and listen to my Ipod instead.
Finally, I’m on the last flight home. I arrived at Bradley at midnight, my parents were already there waiting to bring me home. I went to bed around 3 am and woke up at 4:30 pm because my dad was banging on my bedroom door, went back to sleep at 6 pm and slept until 9:30 pm and here I am, still awake at 2:30 am.
I’m going to watch another netflix movie. Hopefully I can write about my trip tomorrow, starting with day one. It was awesome!