Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Alaskan Frontier: Day 1

Simply stated:  EXCITED!!  

Despite the excitement of those around me this morning, I greeted comments of best wishes with a grin and a nervous laugh, still uncertain if it was really my name on the plane ticket.  The rush and stress of packing caused only the setting sun to catch my attention.  Early as always, Ashley knocked on the front door to help me run a few last errands and then head to the airport.  I believe her exact words were “You don’t have a husband right now, you need someone to wave bye to you.”  Therefore, the two of us made our way through the agriculture scan, boarding passes, and then to security where we waved goodbye to each other as if we would never see each other again. 

I am pretty sure this made some people in the airport rather uncomfortable but it provided the comic relieve I needed.  Boarding pass in hand, shoes tied, and computer properly stored I headed for my gate.

The seating area was rather full of exhausted tourist and taking a seat next to the scream child was not worth the rest.  Although, thinking back to my time spent in the waiting area, others probably grouped me with the crazy tourist as I walked around taking pictures with my phone.  The plane was peacefully sitting at the end of the ramp, waiting to accept its final load for the day.  Only the tail of the plane was lite, dawning the Alaskan Airlines emblem.

Seat 7F is where I was headed.  I waited patiently as the hundred or so people boarded the plane before me.  Atlas, I headed towards the light for the all too familiar downhill walk to the plane.

I gave pause to admire the humor in this sign:

My career in biomechanical corporate research and/or photography may never earn me enough money to walk on the short-carpeted strip, oddly placed in the middle of the floor, as if to announce “I am special” and I am fairly certain that is fine with me.

As always, I made friends with the flight attendants as the line grew longer despite the repeated announcements of, “when storing your overhead luggage, please step out of the aisle so those behind you can pass.”  Flight attendant’s really do not have a glory job.  Their ability to stay calm when interacting with people at high stress levels, wondering if they forgot their toothbrush, makes me certain I would be a terrible flight attendant.  

Eventually I made it to my destination of 7F, placed my bag into the overhead compartment (while not standing in the aisle) and slid passed those already seated to my home for the next six hours.

Side note:  The shirt that I am wearing is from a dear friend (okay, I am her adopted daughter) back in Charleston, SC.  Laney is one of the most amazing people I know and my life was changed forever the night we met at Sisterhood for the first time.  This shirt is part of an effort to raise funds for her trip back to Haiti, working in the deaf communities.  I love listening to her talk about how God is moving in Haiti or reading emails (no matter how lengthy they are) about how excited she is to return.  Therefore, I wear this shirt to “Make Room for Hope” throughout the world, if only by starting a conversation.  Love you Laney!

Traffic along the aisle dwindled, with only the occasional flight attendant walking passed to ask others to please store their carry on luggage and return their tray tables to the upright and locked position.

After a short 45 minutes, the captain made the announcement we would be first for take off (once we left the gate) and the flight attendants should take their seat.  It was not until the “bong” of the Fasten Seat Belt sign illuminating that I was made fully aware that Alaska would be on the horizon at dawn.  Deep breath, hard swallow, internal pep talk…..I can do this!!  The plane lurched forward and sensation of weightlessness soon hit my stomach.  We made a sharp right turn and Oahu disappeared.  The only sign of movement came from the illumination of the passing clouds by the crescent moon as we made our way further over the Pacific.  The dark ocean below us made me feel closer to Tim, wondering if we were flying over him at that very moment.  If only he was here with me, holding my hand, sharing in all the excitement. 

Now I must sleep.  See you in Alaska!

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