Getting home from Paris on Monday was a nightmare. Chelsea and I missed our flight. We were sitting at our gate waiting to board, not realizing the gate number had changed (we never heard an announcement). By the time we figured out what had happened and ran to the correct gate, they had just closed boarding. I want to believe that the woman at the counter was following protocol, and not just being mean for the sake of being mean. But she wouldn’t let us on the plane.
After talking to two different people at two different information desks and not being able to reach our original airline via phone, we booked new tickets online. We actually managed to find a flight to Kosovo 1) leaving that day and 2) for less than $200 Euro per person. But we were now going to fly through Istanbul, which means we had to text our Peace Corps Safety and Security Manager to let him know. (Peace Corps is iffy about volunteers flying through Istanbul, given the unrest in that part of the world. But Istanbul is a major hub for Europe, so I think they realize travel through there is sometimes inevitable.) We took an expensive cab ride across Paris from Charles de Galle airport to Orly airport and got on our plane. There was a screaming baby in front of us, and a second screaming baby in the row in front of the first. The kid sitting behind us kept kicking our seats. Just … SO fun.
And that’s how I found myself unexpectedly in Turkey on Monday night. I hadn’t eaten anything aside from a croissant that morning and a Snickers bar on the plane. Chelsea and I had enough time to grab food before our connecting flight to Kosovo. I bought a double cheeseburger, fries, and a Coke from the McDonalds food court. I don’t think I’ve ever been so thankful to eat a meal.
We arrived in Kosovo late, long after the last buses to our villages had gone. We’d decided to stay at a $10-Euro-per-night hostel in Pristina. When we got there, I think the hostel workers could tell I was freaked out about sleeping in a mixed-gender dormitory. The dorm next door was empty. They kindly let Chelsea and me have it to ourselves. I’d been calm and collected all day, but once we got to our room, I told myself it was okay to have a meltdown. It had been a long, stressful day, and I really did not want to sleep in some ratty hostel. I curled on the lumpy mattress and cried until I fell asleep.
I really hope January 2nd isn’t foreshadowing the year to come. I’m a bit superstitious about the first days of a new year. 2009 was rough for me, and it began with a spectacularly bad day. I’d been visiting my family in Michigan for the holidays. Afterward, I flew to Boston, where I was living at the time. When I got to my apartment, I opened my suitcase to discover … a stranger’s things inside. Turns out, I’d grabbed the wrong suitcase. My car had two flat tires, so I had to stop for air before driving to the airport to return the stranger’s suitcase and retrieve my own. On my way back home, I stopped at Whole Foods and bought two tacos from their hot food bar. I got home, ate the tacos, and spent the next several hours violently throwing up from food poisoning.
So Monday’s fiasco makes me a bit nervous. But I’ve decided to remain positive. Say it with me: “2017 is going to be a good year!” Yes, there are all kinds of bad things happening around the world. But that doesn’t mean each one of us, individually, can’t strive to have a good year. Right?