I was so organized. I even packed my bag the night before (which I never do…). That afternoon, I would be taking a taxi from school directly to the airport to begin my spring break adventure in HONG KONG!
At about 6:50am, I left my apartment and started walking towards Taksim to catch the bus to school. School bag and travel bag in tow, I calmly strolled up the hill and started thinking about what kind of hot chocolate I would order from Starbucks that day… “Do I want mint… caramel… white…?”
I was at the German Hospital gates when I literally screamed, “OH MY GOODNESS, MY PASSPORT!!!” I turned around and started bolting back down the hill. At that very moment, one of my colleagues was coming up the hill. “I FORGOT MY PASSPORT!” I threw my school bag at her to take to the bus for me.
At this point it was 6:54 and my bus leaves at 7:05. I usually can’t leave my apartment after that time without feeling anxious and stretching the limits of my short stride. And now I had to go back to my apartment AND up to Taksim again in that time? Oye.
Not a minute later, I ran into another colleague who teased, “You’re going the wrong way!” I replied, “I might have to catch the bus down the hill. I’m not sure. I FORGOT MY PASSPORT!”
Luckily, I knew exactly where my passport was waiting for me. I stormed into my apartment, grabbed the little blue booklet, and returned to Taksim as fast as I could.
My brain was bombarded with a lot of thoughts very quickly:
Girl, why are you still running with this bag? Why didn’t you pass off both bags?
Girl, this is risky… If you go up that hill to catch the first bus but you miss it, you don’t have enough time to get down the hill to catch the second bus…
Girl, do you realize you don’t have your wallet? You passed off the bag with your wallet. If you miss both buses, you can’t even get a cab to school… or to the airport for that matter…
Girl…guess you weren’t so organized, were you?
If you know anything about me, you know that I despise running. I looked at the clock at about 7:00 and kept running. As I ran, I sent a colleague a voice message saying, “Hold the bus. I can make it!”
7:04. Made it EARLY! Everyone cheered for me and then I realized I wasn’t even the last person on the bus. Someone was still in Starbucks… Oh, sad… No Starbucks for me…
I wish I could say that was the only time I ran that day…
That evening as I sat at my gate, I met a young Turkish man named Cemil. He was beginning a two-week trip through Asia. I told him I was going to Hong Kong and he said that he would be there later in the week. We decided we would meet up when he arrived there. (Story to be continued in another post.)
Our flight was from Istanbul to Dubai, which is a massive airport. Our plane left Istanbul late, so I had to, again, run for dear life in hopes of catching my plane on time. I was so angry… I had paid for a slightly more expensive plane ticket to avoid a long layover in Dubai. If I missed this flight, I would have that exact layover I tried to avoid.
I had to change terminals and there were NOT enough boards in the airport displaying gate numbers. I checked where I was going and went for it… But then I checked another board and I could have sworn the gate had changed to a different terminal again… I ran the other way… Then I checked again… Nope. Back to where you were going the first time… “20 minutes to terminal A” flashed on one sign while another flashed “Final Call” for my gate.
Even without my mistake, I don’t think I’ve ever had to run that far for a connecting flight. Sure enough, I made it to my gate late, but they were still boarding.
I took a deep breath and boarded the plan. Next thing I knew, I was in Hong Kong and was hugging my dear family friends, Doug and Charisse Holyoak. These two remain two of my parents’ favorite people on Earth. Spending the week with them felt like I was at home with my own family.