I’ve began to think that traveling is really enjoying the views and kind humans, while making every mistake you can. And while it is stressful in the moment, the most important part is being able to laugh and learn.
August 7th I got to the airport at 2pm for my 4:25 pm flight from Tulsa to Dallas (Tulsa->Dallas->Miami->Grenada). Anyone who knows me, knows this is impressive, because I am late everywhere I go. Nervous didn’t begin to cover how I felt on my first international flight by myself! I had a really hard time fitting what I wanted to bring to the island in three large suitcases (plus a carry on); I am moving there after all. The night before departure, Mom and I stayed up until nearly 3:00 am juggling items and reweighing these large bags, while getting tickled from delirious humor. My arms are still sore from lifting and re-lifting the suitcases! At the American Airlines check-in, my heart was racing as we placed each bag on the scale; the last thing I wanted to do was part with any items inside the bags in front of people. This was my first time checking bags and its unnerving because they follow you even though all the checked luggage of other humans has separate locations. It blows my mind! I did appreciate not having to lug them around from plane to plane. My bags at check-in weighed 49 lbs, 49 lbs, and 50 lbs. I was cutting it really close. Somehow, I managed to book first class flights on my flights to Grenada, which was a pleasant surprise, because you get your first two checked bags free (AND FREE DRINKS). However, they get you with the third bag; it was $150 for my third bag, but I didn’t have a “Oh shit this is too expensive bag,” because I was not that organized about it, so I paid the $150 and got over it. I was so grateful to have the help of my mother pushing these ginormous bags into the airport.
Anyways, not only was I not expecting the delay in Tulsa, I also wasn’t expecting the sobs and tears as I hugged my Mother after security. I was more than thrilled to move to the Caribbean, however, there was a large tug in my heart as I parted myself from my family and familiarity. As we boarded late, everyone was in a frenzy to get on the plane. Conveniently, my carry-on bag, was too big to fit in the overhead. I embarrassingly held up the line, and they had to check that bag too. Oops. After that was situated, we thought we were going to take off, but due to super windy conditions in Dallas, we ended up leaving almost three hours late. The lady that was traveling beside me, Eva, seemed like she knew what she was doing in this traveling biz. As soon as they said there was a delay, she was on the phone with American Airlines inquiring about a different connection flight. I was texting my parents freaking out. So when she hung up, I asked her if she traveled a lot. She started to tell me a little bit about herself, and the next thing I knew, she was helping me book a new connection flight, which was surprisingly easy, but stressful initially since I didn’t know what I was doing.
Thank you Eva, you were such a lifesaver! I had never flown first class, so she showed me the perks, and I enjoyed three glasses of red wine.
My next flight (from Dallas to Miami) was also late, but I was happy to have time to eat some Chili’s on the floor of the airport while waiting. After we all boarded, they announced that our pilots weren’t here yet, so that flight left late too. It didn’t bother me, because I didn’t have a flight til the next day at 10:45 am from Miami to Grenada. After arriving in Miami, Fl after 1:00am, I headed to baggage claims, where I would claim not just my first, but four checked bags. During my walk to baggage claims, I noticed the airport was empty, but massive with shops like Victoria Secret. I began to wonder how I am going to lug around four large suitcases. My buddy Eva told me I should download the AA (American Airlines) app, and it was so helpful. You can track your bags using this app. I walked up to multiple humans behind desks to see if any of them could help me with my bags. A kind nurse from Oklahoma City visited with me in baggage claims. We exchanged stories about our travels, and I told her I was new to all of this. After she got her checked bag, she handed me a brand new thermos, because I told her I was so thirsty. When she left, she told me “be kind to your nurses.” Water never tasted so good. I didn’t know how I was going to pull this off, and I literally didn’t know where to go. I did know that I wanted to find somewhere to check my bags back in so I didn’t have to mess with them. So I decided to pay $5 to rent a luggage cart. They were super tiny, and I had to stack my luggage on these carts. If I made any sudden movements, the suitcases would all fall and make loud, crashing noises. I had to go to the bathroom, but I didn’t want to leave my luggage. I couldn’t ignore my bladder. As I was using the facilities, I hear an overhead announcement about leaving luggage unguarded, and what could happen to your luggage if you left it alone. So, I rushed to my bags. I ended up walking to an empty American Airlines check in (everything is closed during the night time at airports, I guess). A lot of humans were camped out at a handicap service that is used during the day, and I felt hopeless so I settled down and had a seat with all 200 pounds of my luggage. I was so exhausted at this point, but didn’t think it was wise to fall asleep with all that luggage. At 5:00 am I headed to re-check my bags. Surely enough, all my luggage fell in the floor while I was pushing it, but this kind man helped me load up my tiny cart with my large luggage. I have never heard of an embargo, but apparently Grenada has an embargo from June-August 20th every year. As I was checking in, the customer service representative asked me if the Tulsa Service rep had told me about the embargo. After telling her that I didn’t even know what that is, she informed me of the rules and policies, but let me take my third bag, thank goodness!
I wasn’t expecting a meal on this flight, but it was delicious, and I had more red wine. I was exhausted, but I still couldn’t sleep. So I watched Snatched, drank my wine, and asked the SGU resident assistant next to me so many questions. The airport in Grenada was much smaller than I expected. They had students show their acceptance letter and passport upon arrival. After that, I went to baggage claims and paid $11 for a cart. Going through customs, they had me show them my electronic form and that was it. Next, SGU had a taxi to take students to campus, which arrives at Charter Hall. From there, I got my dorm keys and met a nice man named Victor, who helped me lug my suitcases to my dorm at St. George’s Hall! It was a long two days, and I would have been lost without the people who helped me in those moments of frustration. After I made my bed, I slept for nearly 16 hours. It was an exhausting flight, but well worth it. The campus is beautiful and so is the island. There were many hiccups, but I believe that’s part of it. You never know how much an act of kindness will affect someone, but it definitely helped me through this challenging process.