As everyone knows, thanks to me not being a very private person, this weekend I got on a trip. I could’ve not told anyone this, except that said trip involved getting on a big steel bird. Said big steel bird goes up to 38,000 feet that way *points to sky.*
Yanno, it occurs to me that my fears don’t make sense. Things that (I’ve been told) SHOULD scare me, like walking around an unfamiliar city alone in the dark trying to find the nearest Starbucks, and swimming out as far as I can in the ocean trying to find dolphins, don’t. But perfectly normal, perfectly safe things, like getting on an airplane, or talking to people, do.
When I booked the tickets, 2 of the missionaries were with me, one of them was actually helping me fight with the airlines. They were puzzled that I was already having a panic attack.
I’m glad they didn’t see me at the airport. I had an almost full blown panic attack: shaking, crying, could hardly walk. They were nervous about letting me on the plane because they did NOT know if I was going to be ok.
I was so afraid I even forgot why I was flying. When Joana dropped me off, she prayed that I would have a safe flight and “… that she has a good time with Callie.”
Me: (not out loud) Callie? What does SHE have to do with this?
It helped when people talked to me. The first flight I talked to a flight attendant named Callie, who told me she had flown five times that day, and was heading home. I thought it was so strange that she could go to the airport, fly to 5 different places, and be back home in time for dinner. Well, a late dinner, but anyway.
Then on the next flight this one flight attendant was really nice. I kept apologizing because I kept asking things like, “what’s happening?” “What was that noise?” and, “how much longer are we going to be on this plane?” I know I must’ve been super irritating. But the lady just looked at me and said, “no, you’re not! You’re nice! We get people yelling at us.”
Really? What kind of good would THAT do? Well, I guess I just read what I typed, and I could picture it being said in a yelling tone of voice. My tone of voice was “I’m attempting to be respectful but inside I’m really panicky.”
She was super nice. She gave me extra food (some chocolate biscuit things and cheesy potato skins. I didn’t have the heart to tell her I was vegan) and a magazine.
When I got to Maryland, as I excited the airport, I felt such a huge sense of, “YES! I AM ON TOP OF THE WORLD OMG I AM BRAVEST PERSON ALIVE THANK GOD THAT’S OVER AND OH YEAH CALLIE!!!!!!”
Anyway, Friday Callie had a lot to do, so off I trotted to the D of C! When I saw the words “National Mall” on my map, I was like, “is that what I THINK it is?” Sure enough, there was the capitol, off in the distance. And then I started crying. See, up to the point where Callie actually picked me up, I didn’t think this trip was actually going to happen. God always had a way of getting between me and the dolphins, and it seemed like he would do the same thing now. Seeing the capitol building, realizing, “holy cow I really am in my favorite city in America!” Was what made all that real to me.
I played around in the Museum of American History for not too long before Callie called and asked, “ready to come home?”
Well, no, actually, I wasn’t.
Saturday Callie found a church she liked. We went to Reaching Hearts church, which apparently is run by Michiganders. I think that is why Callie likes it so much. I, however, for the most part just sat there wishing he’d preach a sermon that made sense, and thanking God that the church had open wifi.
Afterwards, we went with the church to go help out at the homeless shelter. During which time I got super panicky. Because I’m at a point where things could go wrong, and I could become one of them. I got so panicky I had to leave. I almost ended up taking Callie’s car with me, but it turned out she was done at that time anyway.
So then Callie talked with me for a…. long time. I know I shouldn’t have told her, but I did. She is the only one I’ve told who has taken me seriously. I don’t think she knows really what to do about it, but it was just such a relief to be taken seriously that I wanted to start crying again.
The next day was Sunday. Callie took me to the Baltimore Aquarium so I could finally see dolphins! I teared up when I caught my first glimpse of the blue gray mammals peeping up out of the water. When we got closer, I couldn’t stop watching them.
And this is a picture of ME at the dolphin show. I am very not bored:
Callie sat through THREE dolphin shows with me. I think this girl should be nominated for sainthood. I couldn’t get enough of these sleek, graceful animals. And then the water turned yellow. I explained to a bunch of children that you should never drink yellow water.
There was only ONE thing missing:
Me: Hey Cals?
Me: are you going to disown me if I jump in the tank?
I think she needs to talk to Jesus about that mean streak she has.
Anyway, after I was finally done with the dolphins, Callie took me out to eat at a vegan restaurant. She tossed me a menu and said, “everything’s vegan.” I stared at the menu and thought, “I have…. options?” And then I didn’t know what to order. I ended up getting a sandwich, which was very good, but I liked Callie’s better. Then I bought a chocolate lava cake for Callie and I to share. I ended up letting her eat most of it, because it was very rich.
Then Callie ran off to go study the bible. I took a nap. Then we did homework together. It hought about asking her to drop me off at the metro so I could go to DC instead, but decided that I really should study for my German test. I failed the test, so I wish I’d just gone to DC.
Callie said I could visit again if I wanted to. I want to, but I’m not sure when I’ll next be able to afford it. Next time, I’m SO going to burn a whole day at the holocaust museum, tour the capitol building, tour the whitehouse, and…. then I will have run out of things to do.
Or maybe not. Maybe at that point, I’ll start all over again. I mean, heck, now that I have a friend in the area, I could (conceivably, if someone donates) visit more often.
Then again, maybe that was what I liked best about the area anyway: it’s almost the only part of the country I didn’t have an attachment to.
Oh well. I love you Callie, and it sure was good to see you too. But next time, you’re SO pulling out all those old family albums and showing me the ugly baby pictures.
And that’s all I can think of to say about my vacation. The plane ride back was a lot easier than going. I discovered that I am fine once we reach cruising altitude. Takeoffs are the hardest. Landings are easier, because I know we’ll be on the ground soon. In fact, I think my favorite part is when we are close enough to the ground that I can say, “yay! If we have to make an emergency landing, we won’t die! We might take out all those other people on the ground, but we won’t die!”
Actually, that’s a lie. My favorite part is when the plane’s wheels touch the ground. I swear, if God wanted us to fly, he’d have given us wings!