22 August 2007

Four More Months . . .

Well, it has been a long and arduous journey to make it here to the final four months of my first two years of medical school. I spent a short and beautiful summer making new friends, seeing old friends and hanging out with my family. I also answered far too many questions about how I liked Grenada and how much fun it must be to "be drinking mai-tai's and living on the beach." I tried to be polite, but I really should have directed everyone to the blog to read about the police, the effort in collecting my packages and ridiculous adventures I have had just trying to get here!

And, speaking of ridiculous adventures, I, of course, have another fun story about my journey down to Grenada. It all began in the spring, when the university decided that we would no longer be attending classes on the island of St. Vincent, but would instead be traveling back to Grenada to complete our second year of school (holy crap, we've almost been here for two years!).

Well, since the decision to switch islands was made so late in the school year, everyone in my class needed to scramble, not only in finding a place to live, but also to find plane tickets to get back to the island. My normal carrier, the hated American Airlines, was booked solid a week before and a week after classes started. And, since I was not remotely interested in doing the "island tour" of which I am so familiar, I decided to try a new airline - enter Air Jamaica.

Many of my friends have flown Air Jamaica several times and are very happy with them. Champagne service, hot meals and direct flights are the norm and so I was ready to actually enjoy my trip (for the first time!). So, I booked a flight on a Saturday morning for a 6.40am flight to Montego Bay from Chicago and a direct flight from there to Grenada a few hours after landing. I was thrilled.

Many of my friends are also aware of my unhealthy obsession with working at the Wisconsin State Fair. Having been a fixture in my life for the past 12 years, I am confused as to what will happen in my life if I were to actually stop working there. Unfortunately, working this job also means 16-hour days and a serious lack of sleep leading up to my final rush of seeing friends, family and packing! (As an interesting aside, I believe that I only ate two meals in my home in the last 14 days before I came back to Grenada - how sad is that?).

So, despite all this work and the shopping and packing and breakfast meetings and lunch meetings and dinners at the Fair, I managed to be prepared to leave by Friday afternoon for my early Saturday morning flight. Recall, if you will, that my flight on Saturday left at 6.40am. As a seasoned traveler, I understand the ridiculous nature of air travel and the reasons for being at the airport two hours early for my flight. So, my lovely mom and I agreed to be up by 3.00am and leave the house by 3.30am in order to arrive at O'Hare by 5.00am. These decisions were made on Friday around 8.00pm.

Around midnight, on Friday, we again reconfirm the details of our morning excursion. Mom says, "I'll set the alarm for 4.00am and we'll be out of the house by 4.30am." Without thinking, I completely agree and we both head to bed. Recall, again, my flight leaves at 6.40! Everything in the morning goes smoothly, but we don't get out of the house until at least 4.45am! However, we are completely unfazed, and continue on our merry way, oblivious to the fact that we have left over an hour late!

After we stop for gas and get back on the road by about 5.15, it occurs to me that it is actually 5.15 - and we are still approximately one hour from O'Hare! So, I start driving in earnest. As usual, there is serious construction in Illinois, along with horrible toll-booths every few miles, but I am completely unaware of anything around me . . . except the clock! My mom leans over in the front seat and declares that she never even thought my little car could go that fast! Flying through tolls around 100mph, all I could think is that this is just another in a long line of problems that I have in reaching Grenada without incident. All flights were booked to the island for another week, so missing this one would be devastating.

We cruise into the terminal around 6.05 and by the time I sprint to the counter, it is 6.10! I am, obviously, the only person there trying to check in for an Air Jamaica flight 1/2 hour before departure. The agents' only instructions are, "Run!" And so, run I did! I get to security with my little bags of liquids all separated out and my medical supplies in my carry-on. The liquids go through fine, but the TSA officer has a real problem with my stethoscope and other pieces of equipment. I can't believe it. He wants to know how all the pieces work!

Finally, he finishes with his inspection and I grab my things (shoes still untied) and book toward the gate. I run up to the counter and hand my ticket in as I see the plane sitting at the gate - I'm going to make it! As I ask where to go, I realize, there are still a lot of passengers at this gate, but I am assuming that they are waiting for another flight.

False! The flight hasn't even boarded yet! I am saved! And I look like an idiot for running to the gate while everyone else is still waiting! Sweet! Eventually, we board the plane a few minutes late and set off for Jamaica. I suppose it wouldn't be the same trip to Grenada without a significant incident (see any previous post about travel for more information). I would hate to hope against hope, but it almost seems as though my Karma has shifted. Why, you ask? For the simple fact that my luggage made it with me and I did not even have to spend any nights sleeping in an airport!

Sorry for the weakness of this story, but it's just another example of the Grenadian adventures I have come to know so well. Check the pictures page in a few days for shots of the new house and a new blog soon regarding the amazing ability of our new semester to be so much like the old. Stay cool and use the a/c as often as possible in my memory (as we no longer get it for free!).


Blogger Rita said...

I am glad to hear that you survived your last trip down, and you are quite correct that It would not be a trip without a little adventure. Have a great semester. can't wait until you are back in the states for good.

11:44 AM  
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