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4.06.2013

From the Field: Japan Day 1 Begins!

Oh, don't mind me...I'm just reading my JAPAN TIMES!
Wow, yesterday was rough...

11.5 hours of flying (which, to be fair, wasn't half as bad as the trek the rest of my family members had to make from NY) will take it out of ya. I left LAX at 9am on April 5th and landed in Osaka, Japan at 2pm on April 6th. Let's give it up for the International Date Line, folks, for stealing a day away from me.

The morning prior to my flight made me want to scratch my own eyeballs out, which, I assure you, isn't a regular feeling. After being pulled over en route to the airport ("What? We needed a transponder for the new express lanes? We didn't know that!" - we totally knew that), I arrived at the airport, ready to go and even a little early. (It was worth leaving at 5:45am...kinda.)

But wasn't I surprised to see my passport wouldn't scan and the kiosk told me I needed an attendant to help me. The kind-LOOKING United attendant came over, looked at my passport and said, "it expires in a month." To which I blinked at her while my inner monologue went something like, "Yes. And?"

She followed with. "It expires too soon. Some countries don't allow you to come into the country if the passport is going to expire within 6 months."

"But I'm going to be there for a week. I'll be back before expiration."

Her very quick and surprisingly aggressive response (which cracked the shiny, veneer of my trust in small, sweet-looking old ladies with white hair) was, "THAT DOESN'T MATTER. YOU CAN'T FLY. GO TO THAT COUNTER AND REBOOK YOUR FLIGHT." Two other attendants echoed her sentiment.

I stood there, dumbfounded. I would've been cursing her had it not been so early and my PMS not been in full swing. (PMS this month has taken a turn in the cry-at-everything direction rather than the rage-at-everything direction. I suppose it's better off. No one wants to see me punch a little, old lady.) I called Husband Charles, voice shaking uncontrollably, and updated him on the situation. He sprung into action, trying to find out whether I could get my documents renewed same-day. In the meantime, I would have to wait on line for rebooking.

So, there I stood in line. Red-eyed, broken-hearted, texting my father who was mid-flight on the way to our meeting destination at SFO. Worst day-before-my-birthday ever.

And then I got to the counter. The sweet-faced woman asked me how she could help. I took a breath and planned to keep it together. I'm not one to lose my sh*t in public. I explained that I was told I couldn't fly because my passport expires next month...and then...THEN, I failed to keep it together. I started sobbing. A culmination of my week's stresses released. "I'm supposed...to meet my family...my...grandmother's not...doing well...but I...can't fly...I need to....rebook." I was a weepy heap by the end of my explanation...trying to quickly wipe away my tears and get my voice back.

The woman gave a sympathetic frown, called over some of her supervisors and explained my situation. They checked my documents and all looked at each other. "You're passport expires next month!" They checked Japan's travel guidelines and all looked up at me with reassuring smiles. "You can fly!"

At that point, Husband Charles had come back to LAX to make sure I was ok and got the good news with me. One of the attendants asked me, "do you have a bag to check?" To which I nodded. He looked to his two partners and said, "ok. let's get her checked in quick! She doesn't have a lot of time!"
He took my bag, tagged it and looked me straight in the eye. "Miss, I'll make sure to get this bag on that flight! Don't worry!"

And that was that. Tears dried, eyes a little swollen, I said my final goodbyes to Charles and ran through security to make it on time. Aside from a gallop to my connecting gate at SFO, all went smoothly...but, really, that had been more than enough drama for one day. The 10.5 hour flight was fun with my brother and nephew. Wheel of Fortune on the iPad, 3.5 movies (Quartet - which I really wanted to see, Playing for Keeps - which I really didn't plan on watching, Skyfall - have I mentioned that Daniel Craig is my fav Bond?, and a little bit of Life of Pi), some sleep, and we were in Osaka in no time. (Actually, it felt pretty long, but it always sounds better when you say it took no time.)

We had a celebratory birthday dinner wherein I was nodding off in the corner for the latter half, but I managed to eat some delicious food and even shoveled some cake into my mouth before ultimately needing to crawl back to my hotel room.

And now I'm here. First full day. I've been up since 5am and have been writing, reading, and relaxing with a cup of coffee before the day begins. Now that the traveling is over, I'm excited to spend so much time with my family. I'm taking my camera with me, so let's hope I capture some magic!
Hope everyone's well! xoxo!

1 comment:

  1. I'm so glad you were able to make it to Japan safely! And damn that little old white haired woman for being such an unhelpful bitch to you! So not kosher, dude. My trust in cute old people diminished a month ago after I started at my new retail gig. :( But on a brighter note, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! I hope you have a super fabulous one and that you have a lovely weeklong stay in Japan with your family :D

    <3,
    Nina

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