On July 29th, I stood on the stairs of my apartment, suitcase precariously balanced on the stair beneath me. Little by little, I made my way down successfully and left my suitcase in the genkan (entryway) while I ran around doing all the last minute things I needed to do. Gas off, check. Water heater off, check. Unplug everything that I can possibly unplug? Check. I was good to go.
My taxi driver/friend picked me up took me to the train station. After I managed to haul my suitcase into the elevator and ride up to the platform, I was pleased to find that one of my favorite teachers and two students were there waiting for the same train. It turned out that they were headed to Hokkaido to observe a big competition of some sort. (I had trouble understanding what the competition was, but it sounded impressive.)
I somehow managed to haul my suitcase onto the train (I still can’t believe I was able to do it in the condition I was in) and I was off to the airport. An hour (and one incident where I proved that I know the train system better than both the teacher and students) later and I was at the airport. I met Cassie and she helped me haul my stuff inside.
From there were just tried to kill time around the airport. Miyazaki airport has a few stores and interesting things outside of security, but practically nothing once you get inside. And since security takes all of three minutes (unless you have knitting needles in your bag and cause the security officers to get very confused, not that I’m naming any names here), it was in our interest to stay outside of security for as long as possible. The only reason we were in the airport so early was because I wasn’t able to check in online and was worried we would run into some problems.
Things went pretty smoothly from there. We got to Tokyo, grabbed the bus, and checked in at Narita. Cassie and I both got delayed at the check in counters for a variety of reasons. (For me, it was mostly waiting for a wheelchair to arrive and explaining that I didn’t need an ANA staff member to escort me because I had Cassie to help me out.) Other than us getting to the gate a little late, everything went really smoothly about boarding.
And then, of course, nothing really exciting happened for the next eleven and a half hours while we all sat there waiting for the US to get closing and desperately wishing that we knew how to wrinkle time.
A wheelchair was waiting in Chicago to whisk Cassie and I through immigration. After that, Cassie and I parted ways. She’s from Chicago and met up with her sister there. Meanwhile, I was becoming increasingly grateful that I had gotten a wheelchair as I was carted from what felt like one side of the state to the other. Once we got to my gate, I tipped the attendant (I seemed to have forgotten the exact way that tipping works, but oh well. It all worked out fine.) and walked around by the gate a bit to stretch my legs out. My ankle had done fairly well during the flight, but was still pretty stiff.
Then just one (too long in my opinion) flight stood between me and my family/rest. Thankfully, other than a little bit of turbulence, the flight was uneventful. My aunt and one of my cousins met me at the airport. The perfect end to a loooooong trip.