So I’ve been meaning to post something since last week, but it’s been short of hectic this past week. So last weekend I went home again. It seems crazy that I continue to go to the one place I know I can easily get back to when I can basically go anywhere in the free world, but I enjoy being home. Getting there was insane. Our airport badges had arrived and a co-worker had to drive out to the airport anyway, so two of us interns tagged along with him to get our badges and then head to our flights. Well, my flight was delayed for an hour due to air traffic control, so I went out to lunch with said co-worker who was driving before heading through security and whatnot. Well, I got on the flight no problem, boarded the plane, and then was ushered off the plane twenty minutes later along with everybody else because ATC informed us that there was no way we were going to take off in the next three hours. Damn weather in New York was keeping pretty much NYC bound grounded.
I called my mom to see if she could put me on another flight, but she wasn’t home. I wandered over to the departure board to discover, yes… The flight to Newark was on time and leaving in twenty minutes. I started making my way over to the gate when I hear them announce the final boarding call for the flight. I was trying to book myself on the flight on my phone, but it was so slow and for whatever reason, it wasn’t working. Finally, I ditched the phone idea and started running to the gate like nothing else. I did NOT want to be stuck at the airport for another 3 hours! I get to the agent out of breath and ask her if she can put me on the list. They haven’t called standby passengers yet, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed. She’s looking and looking and all the other standby people are glaring at me. The thing about the non-revenue shuffle is that if you have a higher boarding priority than someone who has been there all day, you have a better chance of getting on a flight. And when people make these last minute changes, it can really screw with everyone else’s plans. But I just wanted to get home!
Finally, she tells me she can’t change the flight over because my ticket has been voided. Stupid fake boarding on the plan to LGA! She was incredibly nice, though, because she then let me use the computer to book myself on the flight. And then two people later, I got to board. Hehe. And I wasn’t the last person, so the other standby people who had been glaring at me weren’t completely hating me. It’s funny how much you wish for missed connections, traffic, alarm clocks not going off – all those things you fear when you’re flying somewhere – as a standby passenger. And then that last person who gets on the plane is everyone’s worse enemy. You hate them. That person is the devil incarnate when you realize the flight is being closed after he or she boards the aircraft. And then there are the instances in which you do board the plane. And everything’s awesome and perfect and you feel amazing because you can get on the flight. And then they tell you to deplane because there was someone more important than you who showed up and you now need to give said person the highly coveted seat you became so excited to get. This hasn’t happened to me and I hope it doesn’t, but hearing other non rev shuffle stories makes me think it will eventually. But the sound of that aircraft door closing and pushing back from the gate is an extremely gratifying thing that I will no longer be taking for granted.
Anyway, I got home and joined my mom for dinner at my favorite Italian restaurant before heading BACK to the airport to pick up the boyfriend. His flights were a complete mess in itself as well. He was flying from Pittsburgh and he was on– GASP – another airline’s last flight of the day. And since the weather was terrible at LaGuardia, it was postponed until the following day. So I managed to put him on an overbooked flight to EWR and he did get on the flight after a few delays. Awesomeness. But that meant going BACK to Jersey and all that fun stuff. What we do for the people we care about.
Saturday we went to a family thing. Good times. I like my family. 🙂 They are quite amusing. Although, I did get eaten alive by bugs. Stupid bugs. I hate bugs. I got to stay in New York until Monday because I was traveling for business so I had all of Sunday to be a lazy bum. I don’t know why I was so tired, but I just couldn’t help it. I was exhausted. The boyfriend wanted to go explore the city or catch a show or something, but I was too tired to do anything aside from sleep most of the day. I felt bad, but we did end up going for a “scenic” drive around Brooklyn and ended up at the beach, so not a terrible waste to the evening. Monday morning I got to spend some quality time with Dad, too, so always a nice thing. But then I was off to Detroit, via Newark for recruiting at the University of Michigan.
It seems kind of ridiculous that I would go help to recruit after only working here for three weeks, but I certainly wasn’t complaining! And it was enjoyable. Met some interesting people not to mention enjoyed weather that was NICE! Ann Arbor has seasons! So leaves were starting to change and it was actually a little chilly at night. It was awesome! And the campus is gorgeous. I wish Riddle had such a campus. You know, like one that you could actually not have to worry about passing out from a heat stroke when you walk the fifty feet from your car to a class! But I got back to regular work on Wednesday. Which is still enjoyable, but it was nice to do something different. I’ve traveled somewhere on business every week since I’ve been here, so now I’m worried that this week I won’t get to! Which won’t be terrible, but I am enjoying the new aspects that traveling on business offers!
Friday was an interesting day. For the last month, everyone has been getting up extremely early on Fridays in order to get to work early in order to leave early to get flights to places. This entire week started showing the less than eager side to get up for work. We all started getting to work ten minutes later every day. Typically, on Fridays, however, we would be at work a good half hour before we were there on any other day of the week, if not earlier. Heck, one of us got here at 4AM the week before! But this Friday was the “WE ARE WAY TOO TIRED FOR THIS.” So by the time my alarm went off for the fifth time, – the time I usually get up – the room was still dark. My roommate’s alarm had gone off a few times, but she had made no attempt to get up. I think we both thought along the same lines of “I’ll get up when she gets up.” Such failed logic when neither of us are all that motivated. But eventually I did get up. And then I even meandered to the Kolache Factory to get breakfast for my department. A decent walk that of course I got lost on and led to a half hour detour of the city. But the food was appreciated and the rest of the day went by pretty quickly.
One of the other interns had a car, so three of us hopped in her vehicle and made our way to the airport hoping to catch our flights. All of them were overbooked. I was trying to get to Denver and had five different ways of getting there if the direct flight didn’t have space for me. But all of those flights seemed to be booked as well. We got to the employee parking lot twenty minutes before the flight I wanted to get on was supposed to take off. Insanity! We took the shuttle to the airport, thankfully got to flash our employee IDs and hurry through the security line.
Ten minutes. I’m throwing my shoes in a container and one of the TSA officers wishes me luck. Sliding my feet back into my shoes, but not all the way, I take off yelling good luck to the others for them to make their flights. I’m racing through the terminal hoping they haven’t changed the gate number that I was e-mailed an hour earlier. Of course the gate is all the way at the end. I’m dying. I’m so out of shape. I get to the gate and I hear my name! Out of breath, I get my ticket and have such a smile of satisfaction. I walk down the ramp finally checking my phone. I was number nine on the standby list of a flight that was overbooked by ten people. There was no way I should have been on the flight, let alone the fact that I had JUST gotten to the airport. I finally put my shoes back on the right way when I take my seat and let my people know I have made it. But now I’m sitting. Waiting. And waiting. It’s now 4:10 and we’re still just sitting there with no attempt to even get passengers ready to push back. In fact, the cockpit door is still open!
“Ladies and gentleman, we are aware we are now fifteen minutes behind schedule, but the captain’s plane just landed. He will be with us shortly and we will then begin our flight to Denver.” A flight attendant says a few minutes later. I’m there before the captain. There’s something slightly satisfying about that, but also incredibly disturbing. This means they aren’t closing the flight yet. This means that any late passengers might be able to unseat me if they want to get on this flight. I was one of the last people to board. Now I’m getting nervous. I’m telling you. The sound of an aircraft door closing is one of the most glorious sounds to hear for a standby passenger. Once in Denver, I had a decent amount of time to kill before the boyfriend arrived from NY and our flight for Great Falls, Montana departed, so I explored the airport. I had the luxury of visiting the Red Carpet Club with a pilot who had been sitting next to me for a while before his next flight left for a little bit. I got discounted food for being an employee and then read my book for a while before the boyfriend arrived. Then we got more discounted food and waited for the next leg of our journey.
The flight to Great Falls was awesome. The plane was TINY, but it was also pretty empty. Good stuff. We arrived at midnight and then picked up our rental car without any problems and we were off! We were heading to Glacier National Park – about 150 miles from the airport. The plan was to drive until I was too tired to drive anymore and then get some rest. Exactly what we did. We managed to get about thirty miles away from the park before finding a parking lot and trying to get some sleep. Not the greatest of sleeps, but as the sun started to come up, we were energetic enough to get moving. We drove up to the park with no problems and without getting lost (WITHOUT A GPS!!)!!!!
The first place we stumbled upon was Two Medicine. Absolutely gorgeous. A lake with mountains with the sun still rising. Phenomenal. And we were the only ones there. It was beautiful. We weren’t exactly ready for the whole hiking bit yet, though, so we continued to drive up to St. Mary’s, where you can access the Going to the Sun Road. We stopped along the road to take pictures here and there, but it was hard to resist the urge to just continually take pictures. Everything was so gorgeous. So perfect. It is amazing there. We finally stopped when we got to Logan’s Pass and the boyfriend decided he needed to rest for a bit. The road was closed to cars passed that point, so I decided to walk up it a bit. Everything is truly indescribable. Pictures cannot truly justify how amazing it all looks. I love this kind of stuff.
When I got back to the car, I decided to rest my eyes a bit too since it had started to rain. Not long after, however, the cloud was gone and we decided to check out some of the trails. It was COLD, but definitely worth the views. Breathtaking. Again, pictures cannot even come close to describing it. Not to mention the foliage and all! Absolutely gorgeous! At one point, my boyfriend told me I looked happier than he had ever seen me. I can’t describe it, but there’s just something about being in such a place that I can’t help but feel that there is absolutely nothing wrong in the world. I have been extremely fortunate over the last year or so in opportunities to explore some of the world and it simply doesn’t get old. There hasn’t been a single place that I haven’t enjoyed seeing or being in, but there is definitely something different when it comes down to seeing the natural wonders this planet has to offer. As awesome and amazing as New Zealand is, I must say that Glacier National Park is a LOT closer and slightly easier to get to if you can’t make it all the way over there! Most certainly worth a visit. We were only able to go for the day, essentially, so we crammed a lot in, but I think a good week is a necessary amount of time to truly take in everything the park has to offer.
After our hike, we returned to the car and headed over to West Glacier. On the way, we took some turn offs to catch some more spectacular views and jogged down a mile path to St. Mary’s Falls. Amazing. Quite possibly my favorite part of the park that I saw. It was all spectacular, but WOW! I don’t know what it is about waterfalls, but they definitely have this impact on me.
After admiring the falls
and climbing up rocks that were off the trail to get some even more awesome views of the falls and surrounding lake, we continued on to the west side of the park. The Going to the Sun Road was closed at Logan’s Pass, so we had to double back and go around the perimeter of the park, but it wasn’t a bad drive. It started to rain so it worked out perfectly for driving because it let up once we got to Apgar’s Visitor Center. Of course I got a pin and a deck of cards and some postcards. I don’t know why I need to buy all these things all the time, but I do enjoy looking back at them later on. We headed up to Avalanche Falls and filled up the water bottles from a creek that made the boyfriend and I reminisce about another hiking trip in the Dolomites last year.
It’s remarkable how much the U.S. has to offer. Other countries definitely have some amazing sites, but I’ve already referenced sites similar in two countries and I haven’t even left the state! It never ceases to amaze me. The hike up to this amphitheatre was exhausting. Definitely not a “mild” climb as it was advertised, but certainly worth it. And we saw a goat! WAY up in the mountains, but it was there! In hindsight, I should have brought my hiking boots and not depended on my well-worn in Timberland sneakers, but my feet didn’t hurt too much the next morning. The rest of me was sore as, but again, well worth it.
We headed back sooner than we really wanted to, but I was afraid the sun would go down before we got back to the car and I was not overly fond of the idea of hiking down the tiring trail in the dark with no flashlight. But that did mean we were able to watch the sun set behind the mountains at Lake MacDonald on our own private beach. Well, we were the only ones there at least. Spectacular! After enjoying the view, we hopped back in the car and made our way back to the airport. There was a 6AM flight Sunday morning that would have been awesome to catch as there was not much else we could do. We made it most of the way there before pulling over for a “quick” resting of the eyes. At three in the morning, I woke up again, absolutely freezing. My teeth were chattering! After attempting to get warm and fall back asleep, it was deemed hopeless and we decided to continue on to the airport, where they would at least have heat!
Checking in for a flight we were not booked on was harder than I had anticipated. For whatever reason, it couldn’t be changed by the gate agents so I had to make a wakeup call in New York so the mommy could assist us. Have I mentioned how much I love my mom? 🙂 The agents seemed to think there was no way we would get on the flight anyway, but we were definitely being helped because we got on WITH extra seats on the flight to boot! To continue our epic streak of goodness, once we landed, we strolled over to the gate of the flight leaving in twenty minutes to check in for the flight Mom had also booked us on. Five minutes later, we were given tickets to board the aircraft back to Houston. I know I have been EXTREMELY lucky with these flights. My prayers were definitely answered time and again by the guy upstairs. He’s definitely keeping His eye on me. So many amazing and good things have happened to me and I know I couldn’t have done it alone.
The boyfriend returned to Houston with me, so we had a little more quality time together before heading back to reality on Monday, when he flew back to New York and I returned to work. Yesterday and today have been packed with creating drawing changes and watching post season baseball – WHOO, YANKEES ARE UP 4-1 RIGHT NOW!! With that being said, I must be returning my full attention to the game, but I think this will provide you faithful readers with enough for now!