Chaos reigned in fifth and second the morning of our departure. Apartment 502 was a feeding frenzy for ayis swooping in to take home all the things we couldn’t bring to the States with us. Our last-minute packing and the wait for the landlord took us to 12:30, whereas we had originally intended to leave at 11:30.
Luckily, my dad had already hired a large taxi (one of the Expo ones) ahead of time to take us to the airport. My parents made me go outside and exchange uncomfortable conversation with the driver in my broken Chinese.
When we arrived at the airport an enormous line at check-in greeted us. It took us about an hour to reach the counters, during which we desperately threw things away and jammed things together. My poor mother had to get rid of her Chinese painting books which were too heavy, and we managed to combine sixteen bags into just eleven. Of course, as a travelling three we were only allowed 9 bags in total, so we took care to hide our luggage so that it didn’t look as if we were moving our entire apartment.
Murphy’s Law: Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.
Our flight was delayed an hour, but on the upside, we had time for lunch.
Because of our breaking the airplane rules and bringing more carry-ons than we were allowed, the overhead compartments on the plane were almost completely full. The large flight attendant with the bristly mustache seemed very aggravated, lumbering around and making demands of people. My dad offered to take one of our bags down to make room for someone else, earning him the title of “my friend” from the grand maester.
My heart wrenched as we took off. Not just because planes terrify me, but because I saw the same rice patties which had greeted me that rainy day I first arrived in Shanghai. I wanted to take pictures, but unlike some people, I am a strict abider of airplane safety rules. Luggage quota not included.
However, as we flew above the Pacific, I took a good many pictures with my iPad, including the patterned waters down below and a sunset above the clouds.
The food on the plane was actually quite good, despite what people say. Our first meal in particular: beef mashed potatoes. With a side of garden salad and apple pie. Yummy.
Unfortunately, we had to make an unscheduled stop in Seattle because one of the pilots got sick and they had to change the whole crew.
Takeoff was terrifying, because of cloudy Seattle. I know this because in the beloved-by-millions book Twilight, Bella Swan will not shut up about how cloudy and dreary Washington is. Anyway, the first ten minutes of the plane ride were up and down and up and down, kind of like a tiny boat in the vast, tumultuous sea, except if the plane tips over, you drop a few thousand feet and hit solid ground with a splat.
By the time we landed my arms were sore from gripping the armrests so hard. I’m still pretty traumatized from my flight to Spain, during which the plane took a sudden dip and everyone flew two feet up in their seats. Cups and food and prescription glasses went flying. Two of my classmates, who hadn’t been wearing their seatbelts, hit the ceiling and made dents.
Once we landed in Newark, it was a mad dash to our connection flight. We got to cut the line for customs because since our flight had been delayed, our connection flight was delayed slightly as well. In the shortened line just for people flying to Boston, a sullen old man cut all of us. My dad asked lightly and in good humor, “So, generally people are supposed to line up and wait, right?” And the old coot replied, “That guy told me to come up here because of blahblahblah. But thanks for your instruction.”
I was furious. If there’s one thing I hate, it’s rude people. I could understand that he was tired and fed up from his 16 hour flight with an unscheduled stop. We all were. But there’s no call for such rude sarcasm. I was all the more indignant because I felt that he thought he could talk to my dad like that just because my dad isn’t an American citizen. I imagined wringing his fat, wrinkled neck.
I may have some anger issues.
Anyway after customs we rushed to get our luggage and then we ran to our gate which they had to reopen for us and several other passengers. The people already seated on the plane gave us disapproving looks, probably not mitigated by the fact that our eleven bags had turned into twelve after the bag carrying two laptops split.
But we made it. Against all odds we made it, so I didn’t care what those bitches people thought.
Don’t listen to what they say in How I Met Your Mother. New Jersey is BEAUTIFUL at night. For some inexplicable reason the majority of their lights are orange, so from above, it looks like a glittering city of gold. I spent our entire one hour flight just looking out the window.
By the way, a one hour flight is basically just: take off, an announcement from the pilot saying they won’t serve you refreshments because there’s only a five-minute window, and landing. Smooth all the way; it was lovely.