Sunday, September 14, 2008

Narrative Traveling Essay

While going through my files, I found this. An essay that I had written for one of my composition classes, and it makes good post fodder. Enjoy!
What is every traveler’s worst nightmare? I will tell you, it is arriving at their destination and finding out that their luggage has been sent somewhere else. That is what happened to me two summers ago, as I embarked on a year long journey to study half way around the world. I was very excited. It was only my second time flying by myself, but this time I was headed for Jerusalem, Israel. This was something I had been planning for as long as I could remember. My parents had agreed that upon graduating high school, I could spend a year in a post-high school program in Israel, where I could pursue my religious studies and gain some independence at the same time. Little did I know at the time how quickly I would learn about the challenges that accompany independence. I was en-route from Florida to New York, and once in New York I would have to get my luggage and get ready to connect my next flight. The first flight went very smoothly, not much trouble to speak of, and then we landed in Kennedy Airport in New York. I got off the plane and made my way down to the luggage carousel to get my three, fifty-pounds, giant bags of luggage. After all, I was going to be in Israel for almost a year. When I first arrived at baggage claim one of my bags appeared pretty early. I had arranged for a porter to pick up my luggage and help me bring it to the next terminal where the International flights departed. I stood at the carousel and we waited, and waited, and waited some more. After what seemed like an eternity, the carousel stopped. It took me about 15 minutes to realize nothing else was going to come off.
That was when things started to get interesting. I went to the luggage claims office and I told them my luggage had not arrived. “We’ve been waiting for you to come in.” One of the women said. “Hold on while I look for your -” She asked me for all my flight information, which I gave her, and she started putting the information into the keyboard of the computer. When she finally found it, she told me that an error had been made. Instead of sending my other tow pieces to Kennedy Airport, it had been sent to LaGuardia Airport. It was the in the same city, but given how ineffective the baggage claims works and how bad the New York traffic is, it might as well have been in California. The woman politely informed me that it would take them at least three hours to get the luggage over to Kennedy airport/ I didn’t have that kind of time. I had to be by the other airline leaving for Israel by then!
I called my mother to let her know what was happening. My mother was livid. She had intended to fly with me to New York, but at the last minute my little brother got sick and she opted to let me handle flying by myself. She insisted on speaking to the lady in luggage claims. I’m not exactly sure what she said, but the woman was thoroughly chastened. In one brief phone call the situation changed from me getting my baggage in three hours, to getting it in one hour. “Your mother is pretty scary, you know that?” she asked me. I smiled, I knew.
I sat there for an hour waiting literally on the edge of my seat for my luggage to arrive. When it finally did, I was very relieved. I jumped up out of the chair and thanked the woman. She smiled somewhat nervously, I think she was glad to see me leave, andnot have to deal with my mother anymore. Fortunately for me, the porter was still waiting to take my luggage, so I handed it to him and we went to the terminal for the International flights. Then I gave him a very generous tip and thanked him.
After that, things went pretty smoothly. I had to wait another six hours to board my flight, and I met some of the girls who would be my class mates for the next year. When we finally got to Israel, I waited anxiously for my bags to arrive, praying that the same thing would not happen again. Happily, it did not. I got all of my luggage, right on time. Some of the other girls weren’t so lucky though. A few had to wait three days, and in some cases, even a week to get the rest of their luggage.
I have traveled a lot since that time and thankfully have never had to go through that again. I’ve learned to always have a carryon with all the essentials I might need to get me through a few days without my luggage. And, most importantly, I never take for granted that my luggage will arrive in a timely fashion. I am always very grateful when everything I checked in mysteriously re-emerges out of the black hole in the wall in the carousel.


rebecca said...


Rain is falling all around,

It falls on field and tree,

It rains on the umbrella here,
And on the ships at sea.

-------- by warcraft gold