The trip to Indonesia was, to be completely honest, long, exhausting and kind of terrible. I was supposed to leave Wednesday morning (March 23rd). L and I got up to drive to the Denver International Airport before dawn, to discover a thick and heavy snowfall. L brushed off the car and off we went. At the time, I thought that this was the scariest and worst drive I had ever been on. The snow was coming down so quickly, and the wind blowing so intensely that visibility was barely 10 feet. It took us about twice as long to get to the airport than it does on a clear day.
When we finally pulled up to the airport, it was 6am and my flight was scheduled to leave at 7am. Talk about being rushed! As I was checking in, I heard an announcement over the airport speakers, informing travelers that there was a power outage and the train that takes you to different terminals was down, meaning I would have to
walk sprint to my terminal and gate. I checked my bags and started walking. I rounded the corner to the terminal to head to security, and the security line was the longest and most congested that I had ever seen. It was now 6:15am and my flight was boarding at 6:30. I was texting Sam and mom and was trying to prevent the mini panic attack that I was on the verge of. I was going to miss my flight.
Airport security is a weird and inconsistent thing, from my experiences. When it was my turn, I rushed up and started taking off my shoes and putting everything into separate bins and then impatiently waited to go through the x-ray machine. The woman in front of me had a newborn baby that was only 13 days old, and had to take the baby out of the carrier and take everything out of the carrier and put it through security and then walk through the metal detectors with that tiny baby. And it took forever! But I finally went through, didn’t get a pat down (score), and went to the belt to grab my things. I waited a minute or so and my backpack never came through. 6:29. I look and see my bag has been pulled from the belt and is just sitting next to the x-ray viewer. I grabbed a TSA person and told them that I was going to miss my flight and that my backpack was just sitting there. So he grabbed it and of course, needed to take everything out to inspect it.
Me: thinking: ‘oh my gosh I’m going to miss my flight there is nothing fishy in there why is this happening hurry up omg’
TSA guy: *Tenderly taking out each individual item from my backpack and inspecting it*
Finally, the last of my stuff was placed back into my bag and I took off. I have never ran like that in my life! By that time, I was running wayyyy too late and had to go to one of the last gates of the terminal. It took me a while to get there.
I get to the gate, panting and sweating, to see that on the board it says ‘on time’ but no one has boarded. I go ask the desk attendant what is going on, and she informs me that the power outage affected the fueling station, so they couldn’t fuel any of the planes, and also that the snow fall was getting to bad and we probably wouldn’t be taking off any time soon, if at all.
About 30 minutes later, the desk attendant comes over the speaker and says the flight is going to be canceled and that we would need to go to the ticket counter to be rebooked. All of that stress and running… for nothing! I went and got my flight rebooked for the next morning, and called L, who had just gotten home, and said that I needed to be picked up.
I went to find some coffee and wait to be picked up. I wondered how bad the snow was, but wasn’t really worried about my little Canadian driving in it because A) L is Canadian and B) the snow tires on the car are amazing! But then, over the PA, I heard ‘The airport is at a complete ground stop due to white out conditions. No planes are leaving or coming in, the airport is closed.’ It must be bad then… I called L and learned that it was pretty bad. We talked about whether I should get a hotel or not, but decided thought it would just be easier for me to go home.
Fast forward to the drive home. Now, I’m from Michigan and L is from Canada. We have both seen some crazy snow. But this snow, was unlike anything I have ever seen. It was coming down so hard and so fast, but the worst part was the 50+mph winds. To say the roads were impassable, is an understatement. You can see in the pictures that visibility was less than a foot, and even with the plows coming, the wind just blew so much snow back onto the roads. It was the scariest and worst drive of my entire life. Luckily, L kept a cool calm and collected attitude, and drove us home slowly and safely, even keeping calm when we got stuck in a snow back on an exit ramp, and I began sobbing inconsolably. I will be forever grateful for that human!! It took us close to 4 hours to make the 1 hour drive back to Greeley. The only good thing that came from that drive was the rescue of a baby cow that wandered over the fence, leaving its mama behind it. The mama was just standing there looking at the baby like please come back. So L pulled over, got out of the car, and chased the baby cow back over the fence. Mama and baby were reunited, and quickly turned and frolicked away. It was quite a site!
Before bed that night, I go online to check my flight status for the next morning, and of course, it had already been canceled. I called the airline to see when I would be rebooked, and the rebooked me for Friday morning. I woke up Thursday, happy for the extra time with L, but feeling really sick. I was exhausted, nauseous, and having spending a lot of time in the bathroom. I must have picked something up at the airport. I spent the day resting and watching netflix. Bedtime came around and I was feeling ehhh. Not great but not terrible. When I woke up Friday morning, I was feverish, nauseous and couldn’t leave the bathroom. Now, for anyone who knows me well, you know that I have a really intense and aggressive fear of throwing up. I don’t do it, and haven’t really done it. It’s an irrational fear but it affects my life in the day to day. There was no way I was getting on an airplane. L called the airlines, to see if there was anything they could do to change my flight… but the only way they could do it was if we drove to the airport. I somehow rallied, sipped on pepto and had a cold washcloth the whole way there. When I got to the airport, I had decided that I was getting on that plane come vomit or high water. So, I checked my luggage, smoothly went through security, and made it to my gate with time to spare. I made a couple of trips to the bathroom but was feeling ok by boarding time. I boarded my first flight to Dallas, and was grateful for the main cabin extra seat that I was given as a reward for all of the delays and craziness. So much legroom! I was pretty nauseated still but was able to just sit and ride the plane. Luckily, it was only about an hour flight.
The Dallas airport is crazy big! But my flights were all on time so I had plenty of time to get to my gate for my flight to Tokyo. Oh I’m sorry, my 13 hour flight to Tokyo. By this time it was about 10:45 am and I hadn’t had anything to eat or drink. I stopped at the pretzel stand in front of my gate to get some sprite. Best decision! It felt so good and soothing to my tummy. I felt better!
Let me just take a second to point out that the longest flight I had ever taken, prior to this trip, was Toronto to Mexico, which was only about 4.5 hours. I had no idea what to expect with this flight. Again, I had a main cabin extra seat, which was the very first row of seats after business class. In front of me was a little wall, and all the leg room a girl could dream of. I sat next to a very quiet Japanese man. At first, I thought there was no in flight entertainment, but then mom said via text, that there might be a TV in the armrest. Much to my delight, and unsurprisingly, she was right!! I buckled in and we were off. Immediately, the flight attendants came around to ask if we wanted drinks, and gave out little bags of pretzels. I asked for sprite and pretzels seemed pretty safe so I slowly munched on those. My stomach felt queazy, but it felt good to have something in it. Some time passed and they came around with a meal. Chicken and rice with veggies, potato salad, salad, a roll and a brownie. I ate most of the rice and a bite or two of the chicken, had about half of the roll and saved the brownie for later. I was so relieved to eat and not feel so nauseous.
In flight movies I watched, in order:
– The Good Dinosaur (so cute!)
– Burnt (one of my new favorites, if you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it)
– The Hunger Games: Mockingjay part II (also a good one)
-Creed (didn’t think I would like it, but I really enjoyed it)
Now.. when did I sleep on this 13 hour flight? I didn’t. I was so exhausted but I really couldn’t get comfortable and couldn’t fall asleep. At one point, I was so close to being asleep, then the flight attendants came around with more food. A little cold sub, rice snacks and a little ice cream! I ate it all and felt fine! It was such a long flight and I was so envious of everyone around me, sleeping soundly.
The last meal they brought about an hour before we landed. Eggs or noodles? I thought noodles sounded safe. I was wrong. They were these weird, squishy noodles with a thick brown sauce and topped with a ton of mushrooms and other unidentified veggies. I regretted my decision but tried to eat them. I pushed the veggies to the side and took a few bites of noodles. My stomach immediately flipped. I stopped eating and sipped on my sprite, and we started to descend.
I got off the plane and found my next gate. I had a 3 and a half our layover in Japan. I explored the airport and bought a bottle of water and a green tea flavored Kit Kat. When I sat down at my completely empty gate, my head was spinning and my stomach was soo uneasy. I made so many trips to the bathroom and called L in tears. I felt like I might pass out. I knew I was dehydrated. I was dreading my 8 hour flight to Jakarta.
I met some cool people during my layover. An American girl about my age, who lives in Jakarta and teaches English at an international school, and a girl about my age, Andrea, from Montreal, who was going to Java to explore for 3 weeks! We chatted the and boarded together. Having someone to talk to took my mind away from the nausea I was fighting.
I found my seat and was happy to have a window seat. I thought that being able to see out would help the nausea and having the window to lay on might allow me to sleep. I was wrong. About an hour into the flight, I was wracked with nausea. I switched seats with the guy next to me so I wouldn’t keep bothering him with my frequent trips to the bathroom. It was terrible. I cried a lot and didn’t eat any food. I thought the flight would never end.
Of course, it did! I ventured off of the plane, met Andrea, and we went through customs together. Then, the moment I had been longing for, I MET UP WITH SAM!!!! It was around 1am at this point, and I was so relieved to be with her. We had a long wait for our flight to Surabaya, but it was nice to just sit and not be moving for a while. I felt pretty terrible. My head was spinning and I didn’t know how I was going to survive the next and final flight. Luckily, I think having Sam calmed a lot of my nerves, and I started to feel better. Still completely exhausted, as I had been up for so long and not slept on the planes, but safe and calm.
I chatted with Sam and we just hung out until our flight. We boarded, and the plane was really quite empty, so I got a window seat and Sam sat next to me and the lady that was in the aisle seat moved to an empty row. It was nice to know that I was almost done and I felt so calm and ok. The flight was only an hour so it felt like nothing. We flew during the sunrise and it was beautiful. We saw volcanoes and some really cool landscape! (Pics below) The flight ended and we were in Surabaya and we met up with Sam’s friend Novriska (Vriz) and her parents, for the 2 hour drive to Malang, aka, home! At least for the next month.
I MADE IT!! I successfully traveled across the world, by myself. I left my continent for the first time! I feel so liberated, independent! and it is so freeing! The plane didn’t crash. I didn’t vomit. and I made it here, to beautiful Indonesia!