Misadventures of . . .
Now that I'm home and rested, I can focus on my work again -- not that there wasn't any work involved going to Brazil. As I said, it was a bit of a whirlwind, starting with the late flight out of San Francisco, which started the delays debacle in the first place. Coincidentally, the day I flew out of California was also the day Mother Nature decided to grace us with rain. Finally. But it also meant that flights would be delayed, and they were, specifically my flight from San Fran to Houston, where I was to pick up a connecting flight to Sao Paulo, then on to Belo Horizonte. I missed that Sao Paulo flight, and in doing so, set my trip back by two days, missing the initial scheduled time of my presentation (Friday). I was in a hotel in Panama City, Panama when I should have been wearing that goofy hat and singing the praises of natural perfume's hedonistic pleasures. But there was a reason it ended up the way it did, with my presentation re-scheduled to Sunday, and it all comes down to comfort and ease on that stage. I spent the night, 13 hours, sitting in an uncomfortable chair, exhausted, in the Houston airport, just me, three or four other stranded travelers, and the guys buffing the floors, on Thanksgiving Eve. That was the loneliest I've felt in a very long time, far from family and friends, no where near my destination, and doubt running rampant through my mind. Was the Universe trying to tell me something? I spent about five minutes wallowing in self-pity before my better self said to me, "Oh, for sh*t's sake, Justine! Make a plan, get to Belo Horizonte, stop your whining!" So bright and early the next morning, Thanksgiving Day, I stomped up to the airline customer service rep and said, "Look, I need to get to Belo Horizonte. I don't care if you have to re-route me to Finland, get me to Belo Horizonte!" And they did. Or, they tried. I arrived in Panama for my connecting flight to Belo Horizonte only to discover we were late again. By about half an hour. All because the toilets on our plane out of Houston had issues and we had to wait for repairs before flying out. I'm not complaining about it. It would have been tragic to have to deal with toilet issues at 32,000 feet in the air, right? So the airline put me as well as a handful of other passengers who missed their flights due to toilet in a hotel near the airport. I got to my room, washed off 24+ hours of traveling, crawled into bed and slept for 14 hours straight. Then back to the airport and onto a plane to Belo Horizonte. I arrived at my destination in the middle of the night, was shuttled to my room in the heart of the city, and slept again. I woke bright and early the next day and made my way to the congress, and it was amazing and beautiful and heartening from that moment on. I met amazing people -- beautiful people, inside and out, people I knew only from online connections came to life in front of me and I realized how precious and breathtaking they all were. It's about the people, isn't it? It always is. It doesn't matter where you are, it's the people who make the place special.