No, I’m not dead. I made it to Japan! I’ve been so busy the last two weeks that I haven’t been able to write so here’s a summary of my adventures.
Traveling has always been a crazy ride. Especially for me. There’s never a dull moment. Everything that can go wrong does, no matter the effort I put forth. I suspect many of you are like me in this regard. Shit just happens to us, especially when we’re constantly riding the line between reality and fiction. I say this because, our travel stories can get so outrageous, who would believe us?
Let’s start with adjusting sleep schedules to minimize infamous jet lag. This one is simple enough if you’re flying West. For Japan specifically, book a flight that departs by noon and just stay up all night to sleep on the plane. Not the best idea if you have to transfer but it works. I, in fact, transferred twice on minimal sleep. Yes it sucks if you have to drive to the airport, that’s why I always nap three hours before leaving to give myself a refresher and head start.
So my younger brother and husband brought me to the airport to see me off. We went there around 3 am. My flight was at 6:20 am and all luggage must have been checked by 5:20 am. I was leaving for 3 months so of course I had luggage. I parked in the drop-off area and we rushed through getting my stuff out because a security guard was glaring at us.
I should preface again by saying, my brother’s phone needed to have it’s tower profile updated and my husband left his phone at home – like he always does. You will see why this is important.
So I get inside with all my stuff, not more than 3 minutes had gone by since we’d arrived. I see a guy from the same program as me, we’ll call him Dare because he’ll know who he is if he ever reads this.
I say hi cause I didn’t know we had the same first flight together and double check everything. Not 30 seconds after entering the airport do I realize my passport and wallet was still in the center console of the car.
No big deal right?
I looked up through the giant floor to ceiling windows and they’d already driven away.
Que stress induced disassociation. I immediately called both their phones that went to voicemail and tell them to return. Chance of them ever listening to the voicemail 0%. They never check their voicemail.
So I’m stuck in the airport with no money, no ID, and a ton of luggage. An hour from home. What’s a girl to do?
I called my parents at 3:10 am. Thank God they don’t know how to silence their phones. I quickly explained the situation and resolve myself to seeing if a missed flight in this situation would be covered by my flight insurance. It wasn’t. Which, what the hell is insurance for if it doesn’t cover the unexpected?
The plan was to have Dad meet them at the house and bring it back to the airport. No big deal. It was only 3:10 am after all.
Our house is an hour away from the airport. That means they would arrive back around 4:10 am. He’d get the loot and drive it back which puts the goods arrival time at 5:10 am. Granted there’s no traffic delays, etc. Leaving me 10 min to check luggage and get through security for boarding at 5:50 am.
So I sat, waited, and messaged a friend about drawing tablets on Facebook. An hour goes by and more people start to check in. I say bye to Dare and wait impatiently for news. Turns out I missed a phone call because, unlike my parents, I have my phone set to auto-silence between 11pm and 6am. So I called my Dad back to find he’d caught up to them and flagged the Prius down.
It was still dark out, his car is black, and my brother and husband don’t know what’s happening. Why they pulled over, I’ll never know. From what they described, if it wasn’t Dad I would have assumed 100% the guy that flagged them down would be a murderer. Honking, flashing lights, and waving them down.
Either way he got the stuff. So brownie points.
Traffic to the airport started to pick up at 4:30 so I watched impatiently as car after car passed through the drop off zone. All the while, the check in staff watched me derpping around with my luggage.
5:05 rolls around and he made it to the drop off zone which I’m standing in by that time. I got the loot, thanked him, and checked in.
The machine wouldn’t match my name to the tickets to check in as they still managed to mess up my name when reconfirming the flight details a month earlier. No prob, the check-in guy overrode it. I mean, he could still tell it was my name. It was just cut off. Call me Cryst. 😉
5 minutes later I got through security and found Dare in the waiting area. Relieved and charged my phone.
Roll around to the connection in Denver and I made the boarding with 10 minutes to wait. After boarding, I magically lost my pass before getting to my seat. I asked the flight attendant the number and go to sit only to find my backpack won’t fit under the seat on that flight either.
I normally never have any issues on United and Delta flights but the planes from Omaha to Denver and Denver to San Francisco have literally no room. So I put my backpack in the overhead bin and sat down.
Of course I’m tripping balls over everything and was tired so I rechecked my passport and last remaining ticket only to find the boarding pass was in my jacket’s hidden pocket. Why did I put it there? We’ll never know.
Skip to arriving in Tokyo after watching 3 movies and sleeping about 8 hours. Customs was a breeze, I dropped my larger suitcase off to be delivered and got a Suica card. Unfortunately, I wasn’t paying enough attention and right as the train doors closed, I realized I was on the wrong side of the platform. It was okay, I just had to take an alternate route through Tokyo with my luggage in the rain…
Two hours later I made it up the huge hill and found the dorm. I got checked into my assigned room and that was that. The next few days were orientation and tours and meeting a ton of people – who’s names I still can’t remember. I took the Japanese exam and got placed in the class I wanted. So I get to review everything…except kanji, as most the kanji we’re learning is new.
I attempted to make some videos but during the first week experienced an allergic reaction which I don’t know why but I figured out it’s caused by this on specific brand of jasmine tea. I can drink all kinds of tea, including jasmine, but this one brand makes my throat swell up. It’s crazy. So I’m avoiding it like the plague. Of course I had to drink it twice to figure it out. Even now, about a week later, my throat and sinus is still messed up from it.
I could go on forever but I’ll stop here and create a more focused post later this week.
Until then, let me know if you have any content requests in the comments below!