Wednesday, July 26, 2006

the middle of nowhere.

well okay. not quite the middle of nowhere--and it didn't matter that it was nowhere because someone was there--someone pretty special :) but it was quite a trip--quite a saga, actually--to get to the middle of nowhere. and by the time i finally got there, i had never been so happy to be in the middle of nowhere in my entire life.

it all started on tuesday. i drove to spokane to visit beth and adorable not-so-baby-anymore jessa. we went downtown...had lots of fun together. then went shopping with amy, which was also fun. AND amy and derek cooked me dinner--they are like star chefs or was really good :) and then after a bit of laughing and talking (moreso me than amy), we finally fell asleep.

and good thing, too, because my flight came early in the morning. and amy was kind enough to drop me off at the airport...and i checked in at the southwest counter.

my flight from spokane to oakland took off on time and was pretty smooth--as far as i can remember....although i can't remember much because i was asleep and i woke up with my mouth wide open more than once.

once i arrived in oakland, i just happen to walk far enough to find my gate, which wasn't posted yet because i had such a long layover. much to my dismay, a starbucks--which i felt i desparately needed--was no where in i took a seat in what i thought would be an isolated corner. not at all the case. i had a family come sit by me with what appeared to be 4 little girls, who all looked exactly like one another....they turned out to be 2 girls and 2 boys--slightly resembling Hanson (remember them??). and on top of the shock factor from this family of quadruplets who were of 2 different sexes, the mom laid the youngest one (less than 2 years old) on her lap--totally horizontal--and whipped out her boob in the middle of the airport and stretched it down to about where her knee/the baby's mouth was to nurse. weird.

i got up to get lunch (which was 1/2 of a disgusting burrito) and sat back down a few seats away from where i was sitting before. and luck would have it that i sat down next to a girl--on her cell phone--that was talking about condoms and how she had just found out, the night before, that she was pregnant and she didn't remember who the father was. quite a umm....colorful conversation.

so i finally boarded the 45-minute-delayed plane headed to st. louis. it was full flight. little did i know that we had to stop in phoenix to drop off & pick up other passengers. but because the plane was delayed, they didn't want to stop and take another hour to refuel. so we took off from phoenix with just enough fuel to make it to st. louis.

it wasn't until about 70 miles out of st. louis that the problems began. there were 'big thunderstorms' in the city, as they were explained to us and we weren't allowed to land until they cleared. so there we were.....low on fuel, flying around in circles "on hold" from the control tower waiting for clearance to land in st. louis. i was freaking out.

but lucky us, we DID get clearance from the control tower in st. louis just in time because the captain said that we had 'just enough' fuel to make it back to the airport. and i didn't quite believe that there was a big thunderstorm....until we got a little closer and i saw the most incredible lightening storm that i have ever seen in my life....and funny thing was that we were flying right through a metal airplane. again, i was freaking out.

well, we landed. and right when i turned on my cell phone, jon called. bad news....he couldn't come pick me up. which actually, i was thinking, was okay because my flight got in really late and we wouldn't have gotten back to where he was until really late....and with him getting up at 3 a.m. everyday, it wouldn't have been good for him either. i was fine...(remember i am sitting on the plane thinking this)...i'd just get a hotel room or rent a car and drive to where he was.

but that is where the problems began. i got off the airplane and noticed that wow! the st. louis airport was much smaller than i expected. WRONG. the entire main terminal of the airport had NO electricity. the pretty lightening storm we watched from the sky in our metal airplane had knocked it out...and left another 500,000 people without electricity.

and WRONG again. there was a big baseball game in st. louis that day and every hotel was overbooked. and WRONG again. i had to be 25 yeras old to rent a car from the company that wouldn't cost me an arm and leg. and WRONG again....the soonest flight that left to Fort Leonard Wood was thursday at noon (and it being wednesday, i was thinking it would be a loooonnngggg wait in the airport without electricity).

so i was stranded. no hotel. no car. no jon. no plane. no electricity. pretty much just me. and my suitcase (which almost didn't arrive either).

luckily, my mom came to the rescue. some nice people came and picked up me, let me stay at their house (they were trustworthy, don't worry) and took me to the bus station in the morning.

and on the way to the bus station the next morning, there were trees down, signs broken in half, roofs off buildings, and cars swerved into the medians along the freeway. CRAZY. crazy that of all the days to visit st. louis, i chose the one that marked one of the biggest storms in history. and crazy that my plane flew right into the storm. and crazy that we were almost out of fuel. and crazy that God totally provided and protected, despite the crazy circumstances (protected me, protected jon from driving...the list goes on).

onto my 6-hour adventure on the bus: was scared more for my stuff than myself in the bus station. sat next to a smelly smelly boy for all 6 hours of what was supposed to be a 2 hour bus ride. stopped to get gas 5 times but couldn't get it until 1 exit before my stop because the electricity hadn't only affected the st. louis area, but had also knocked out the gas pumps for miles and miles.

and finally got to Fort Leonard Wood. and like i said before, i had NEVER been so happy to be in the middle of nowhere in my life. :)

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