It all started when we were at the mission home, about to start our journey to the airport. Originally they had told us to be ready by 7am for breakfast, and then to leave by 8am for the airport.
Well, it didn't entirely work that way. One of the drivers that was planning on driving some of us to the airport accidentally locked her keys inside her car, and some of the missionaries didn't have everything packed up so we ended up leaving around 8:40ish instead. AHH!
But wait, it gets better.
We pack into the car like sardines, and we coast to a stop behind all of this traffic. I started freaking out a little bit due to the fact that we were supposed to get there no later on 9:55am because our flight was at 10:55am, and it was going to start boarding at 10:35am. I knew that there was going to be traffic from serving in Atlanta for six months, and I also knew for a fact that there was no way that we were going to make it in time. I was looking at where we were in conjunction to the MARTA exits, and how far away we were. This is a time to panic!
There were two highways I-85 and 1-285 running parallel alongside one another, and they were both creeping along. It was really funny to see a white car illegally off roading on the grass so they could get on the highway that was going faster (not ours).
As we were inching along, we were able to approach the scene of the accident, which I later learned that looked something like this:
The SUV fell 15 feet off I-285 which ended into a fatal accident. We immediately pick up the speed, and then missed our exit because it was blocked off due to the accident. As we finally got to the airport around 10:20am we had to practically throw off our luggage and clip them together to get our bags checked in.
In that process of time I happened to painfully break a nail while the employees at the airport told us to come with them because we were so late to make our flights. There became an issue on whether or not our luggage was already paid for, which shortened the time we had to get screened and to run to our gate.
I was lucky and got a nice man who believed our story that they were already pay for, so I started to run for security, although I felt so bad for leaving Sister Stone behind since we were going to be on the same flight.
As I got to the security checkpoint, I showed a woman my ticket where I was supposed to go, and she told me that was my baggage claim ticket. I got really confused and I wasn't sure if the man who helped me gave me my ticket or not, because the AP's were giving out ticket information to the missionaries, although I had never gotten mine. I started to turn back and saw Sister Stone running, so we asked the woman again. Turns out it was the baggage claim PLUS the ticket, so we ran to expedited screening since they knew we were short for time. I didn't have any room for my Book of Mormon in my purse, so I gave it to Sister Stone to stash it in her purse for a mere moment.
But of course, I was chosen to be tested for every single thing under the book. They swabbed the palm of my hands to check for explosives. (A sister missionary looks SO threatening to the TSA.) Originally you wouldn't have had to remove anything, but one of the TSA employee was telling me that she didn't think my shoes belt, watch, or lastly, my name tag would pass the screening. I was feeling flustered as I went into the full body screening, and after I got out I grabbed my accessories and liquids from the conveyor belt.
As we were running toward the tram, I kept hitting myself with my suitcase because I was doing a half rolling, half carrying feat with my suitcase. I later found out over half a dozen bruises because of the hurrying to get on our flight. When we got onto the tram to make it to A-25, it was approximately 10:45am (10 minutes till take-off). I was still putting everything back on, and I was missing my name tag and I was struggling to put my liquids back into my suitcase. We were sweating like sinners at church as the tram came to a stop, and we started booking it toward A-25.
Sister Stone and I finally get to the gate around 10:53am telling them that we're sorry we're late, we got stuck in traffic. She called and told us that there was only seat left, and we had to chose who would go. Sister Stone and I looked at each other, and agreed that she would go because her layover was only 30 minutes, whilst mine was 2 hours longer than hers. I then realized that Sister Stone had the Book of Mormon that I put into her purse, and I felt naked not carrying anything around with me.
I was directed to a desk that would help me get on another flight, and I was asked to pick up a phone to explain what happened and why I missed my flight. The airport was so loud, the phone was so quiet, and I couldn't understand the woman's accent. I found out that there was no other flight that could get me to San Jose around 4pm (my original time to arrive), but a direct flight leaving at 7:30pm. I was shocked and I teared up wanting to cry because that meant I had to wait 8 hours to get on a flight that was an additional 5 hours. She asked me what my email address was so she could send the ticket information to me, but I told her I didn't have access to one. After that she said something incomprehensible, and hung up the phone on me.
I was dumbfounded, so I talked to the woman at the desk about what had happened, so she printed out the ticket for me.
I asked where the payphones were at and she told me that there wasn't any. I moped until she told me that I could use one of Delta's phones. She told me to press 9 first, and then to dial the number. I did as she told me, and prayed that I would remember my Mom's cell phone number because it's been so long since I've used it. I kept getting beeping noises as I tried to dial the entire number. We switched phones, and I asked her again. Apparently I forgot the '1' in the phone number, and I felt really dumb for forgetting. (Later I found out that me not dialing correctly that many times gave my Mom time to walk into the room that had her cell phone in. If I had done it perfectly the first time, I would have missed her.)
I dialed the number and I hoped that she would pick up because she was at work. As it rang a few times, I heard her say 'Hello?' and I started to cry pitifully saying, "Mommmm, I missed my flight." After I reassured her I had money for both lunch and dinner (thank you Cindy!) we got off the phone, and I started go back to the security checkpoint because I wanted my name tag back! Little did I know, I had to get rechecked all over again, so I started to go through multiple stores and people watched before I had to start the process all over again. But I found my name tag! Hallelujer!
As I got back to terminal A, I realized that I served in Atlanta but I never bought myself a Famous Frosted Orange Shake from the Varsity, I got me one of those while I was waiting for my flight.
I people watched as I was waiting at my gate, and it was adorable seeing the little toddlers interact with one another. I was able to catch up on part of my journal, and watch the planes go by. As I was waiting I noticed Elder Marriott wait for his flight to Arizona, so it was good not being lonely for a minute. Going from a companion for 1 1/2 years to none was a bit shocking. His flight to Arizona was one of the four flights that departed from my gate- Florida, South Carolina, and I dozed off during the fourth one. It was nice to have a friendly face for 10 minutes or so until I had to face many many hours ahead of me.
Around 5pm I started to get hungry again because all I really had for breakfast was some fruit and bacon, and then a frosted orange for lunch (thank you body for being lactose intolerant). I don't really get all that hungry because everything has dairy in it. I started to traverse the airport from terminal to terminal trying to see what would look good for me to eat. I stared at every menu possible in sight, but nothing sounded appetizing, and I shuddered at the thought of how expensive things were going to be. So I ended up buying a cup of fruit that wasn't even good, not worth the price I paid.
I sat back down waiting, dozing off every now and then, and I was amused by this:
Since I'm proud myself to have been able to call Atlanta home for 6 months as well! :)
Finally we started to board around 6:45pm, and I was sitting in between two guys (my missionary bubble!) who wouldn't have been my two top picks. As we were waiting for takeoff, there was some difficulties in fueling up the plane, so instead of taking off at 7:15pm, we took off at 8:15pm.
As I was bored out of my mind, I noticed a sweet smell coming from somewhere. The guy sitting to the right of me has been acting unusual for quite some time, until I realized that he was smoking hookah. It didn't help that he kept ordering coffee time and time again which made me feel sick.
I was very grateful for the fact to get off of that plane, it was approximately 9:50pm when I landed, almost 5 hours later than originally!
After I got off the plane, I happened to make a little vlog right before I met my family. :)
Right after I got done with my vlog, I started to run so I could finally embrace my parents once again!
(Ignore the awful quality of this photo, I was running)
Reunited at last! <3
Of course, it doesn't end there. We had to drive all the way home, and we didn't arrive until 12:30am Friday. So I left Thursday morning for the airport, and arrived home Friday. Not many people who served in the states, and lived in the states could say it took them that long to get home!
Total time being awake? 23 hours. I woke up 5am on Thursday, and I didn't go to bed until 4:20am Georgia time.