Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Valley of the Sun

Aside from the confines my parents vegetable garden held for me as a child, an airport is the most jail-like, freedom-less place I've experienced.  If you've ever felt trapped in an airport after a flight cancellation when traveling by yourself, imagine the immobility I felt yesterday in the Phoenix airport, knowing that because of our canceled flight, I was trapped until US Airways found a flight to Israel for 52 people.

For the most part the we stayed least for the first 4 hours, sitting, talking and sleeping at Gate A22. Then we caught wind of the next available flight to Tel Aviv--Tuesday.  "Wait, what? Today is Tuesday. So that is in, like, a week.  A week? No way. There's no way. That's an entire week of our trip. What are we going to do for a week?" Those are the kinds of things we said to each other. 

Four hours after that (that makes eight hours. same airport.) we were being herded to the front doors where we were to be shuttled to a hotel 15 minutes away. Fifteen minutes doesn't seem like it is too far until you find out there is only one shuttle and the shuttle can only take 10 people at a time.

While waiting for a shuttle I decided to borrow someone's phone to call my parents and tell them what was up. (The reason I was borrowing a phone is they told us adamantly not to bring phones, even for travel purposes. Luckily 12 people brought their phones anyway.) You know how sometimes you think you're okay until someone you really love asks you if you're okay? All it took was hearing my Dad's surprised voice, "Hi Lizzy, where are you? Are you okay," to get all chocked up and weepy. "Yeah Dad, I really am fine. I'm in Phoenix. Yeah, I know we didn't make it very far. Yeah.......yeah, it is sad. Yeah, I guess I'm pretty disappointed. Yeah, I'm fine." 

An hour and a half later we arrived at the hotel. The hotel I'm in right now, hiding from the sun. Because like the flight attendant said when we landed here, in a 'bobby don't cha know' sort of voice, "it's just about a million degrees outside."

I'm here. In Phoenix. And I don't know when I'm going to leave. But I do know it will be before the weekend because Todd, BYU's travel agent is a super hero and he's saving the world one booking at a time. Actually it's at least three bookings, because we have to travel in groups of three and the 52 of us will all be split up and sent to different airports across the world, Pairs, Vienna, and Africa. But we'll all end up at the same place.  And really it's not so bad. Nothing bonds people more than crisis. And so we're all bonding and being positive and enjoying the free meals we're getting from the airport meal vouchers. 

A few pictures of this ordeal.

Mom and I before I left. She did mountains of work to help me get ready for this trip. Thanks mom. I love you.

Gate A22

After being in the airport for nine hours....still waiting for the shuttle to come.

Still waiting for the shuttle.



Jonathan said...

Lizzy!!!!!!! I can't believe this happened! Hope you get out soon. Why was your flight cancelled? Was it because of the hurricane? Wow, what an ordeal. Keep your chin up!

Poulsen Family said...

That's awful. I'm glad you posted on FB your blog. I will enjoy following your adventures! Be safe :)

Kanien said...

Good Luck Lizzy! At least now you can have some fun in AZ. Think of all the other places you will get to fly exciting! Love you.

amy kathleen said...

lizzy lizzy lizzy!! three things:

number one. you are amazing. and you looked so cute at my wedding and i absolutely LOVED having you there.

number two. what an adventure! seriously, stories like these are the BEST.

number three. i am SO excited to read your blog.

best of luck dear! you are going to have the time of your life. soak it all up! every minute :)


Caroline said...

That was fun to read. Jeff and I laughed, especially that 12 students still brought their phones. I'm sorry you are just waiting.

Lizzy said...

@Jonathan There was a problem with the plane. It has nothing to do with the hurricane....even though that could be why there wasn't a backup plane. ?

@Kanien I've never had to try to have fun in this much heat.

@Amy Amy I love you.

@Caroline I wish I had brought my phone. Mom has called the hotel leaving messages for me a few times. And somehow she left a message at another person's room. And then she got a hold of my roommate while I was out and about. Finally she got me in my room.

Marissa And Jesse said...

Oh my! 1) I cannot believe I did not find this out until now. Kaylin is right, "[I'm a] bad friend." 2) I am really sorry for the stress, but you will look back and laugh,which I hope you are already doing. 3) I can't say I have ever gotten stuck at an airport, but long layovers are not fun. Courtney got stuck in one for a really really long time. (I am glad she is following you) 4) I hope you get to go on a flight to Africa and maybe you can venture out, meet some of those beautiful people and fulfill my dream before you fulfill yours in Jerusalem. 5) I love you! oh and 6) I talked to Nat today about her earthquake and hurricane experience in DC. She is doing wonderful! P.S. I am sitting on your bed with my laptop on my lap like you use to do at night and then you would invite me over to watch something, like a Mormon message. Here is to reminiscing. "Life is oh so good." That is from a Mormon message you showed me.

Marissa And Jesse said...

So I do not know how I am using Marissa and Jesse's account. That is weird.