Live from Atlanta

Finally, Blogger’s actually behaving itself today! got caught in this strange infinite loop last night and I wasn’t able to log in–I’m glad they’ve worked the bugs out.

I’m back in Atlanta, and after sleeping in till 3 PM yesterday, I seem to be completely over my jetlag. I’m still recovering from the nasty cold/etc. I’ve had–at least it wasn’t Norwalk at all, but it did really knock me out (and I don’t mean that figuratively, but more on that later).

I’m really glad I took Tuesday off, because I ended up using the entire day to get everything done that I needed to. All my letters/nengajo/packages are in the mail, clothes were washed and dried…I really needed every moment of that time. Chalice came by to use my computer for a bit before I headed out, and she offered to drive me and my suitcases to the station, and she and Ashley and I had a brief bottom-of-the-stairs get-together before we all headed out for the holidays. Ashley should be in Thailand now and Chalice should be on her way there, but on separate itineraries entirely.

I caught my train to Sakaide with no problems, and easily made my overnight train to Tokyo…though it’s probably not an experience I’ll repeat, because the air conditioning was hot and dry and left me really dehydrated in the morning, and I woke up at least once an hour. I was still sick, so I was really counting on getting a solid night’s sleep, and I felt pretty groggy and not-so-great when I arrived in Tokyo. I had some breakfast, found lockers big enough to stow my bags, and caught the Yamanote Line train out to Shinjuku and wandered for a few hours…I discovered the Shinjuku location of Court Lodge–a Sri Lankan restaurant chain with locations in several big cities, including one in Kobe that we went to during the Recontracting Conference–completely by accident and had a quick but refreshing brunch there. My health was seriously wavering as the day went on, and I grabbed quick naps on the trains whenever I could to keep myself going.

I got to the airport with 3 hours to go before my flight (Tokyo-Houston), which also ended up being delayed by about 30 minutes for various reasons. I really wasn’t feeling well, so I used my bags as pillows and tried to rest up for a bit. I chatted with a man about my father’s age, who very abruptly asked me whether I was dating anyone and if it bothered me that I was single, but went on to redeem himself by just being a kind conversationalist and entertaining me with card tricks while we waited.

And so the flight took off, and all was well–instead of going over Russia and the Aleutians, we actually just went over the North Pacific instead. My health was up and down…my lack of consecutive rest was really getting to me, and the cabin was fairly stuffy as well. I ended up playing translator for the Japanese girl sitting next to me, a girl from Saitama Prefecture who was visiting the US for the first time in many years with some friends–she couldn’t understand the flight attendants, and they couldn’t understand her accented English, and I think she was astonished to meet a foreigner who could speak passable Japanese. We didn’t talk much, but she was really sweet.

Right as we passed Seattle and Portland, 8 hours into our 11.5-hour trip, I started feeling even sicker and just couldn’t bring myself to eat the breakfast they’d brought out. The sickness morphed into nausea, so I got up to head to the lavatory to try to wait it out, for better or for worse–but a woman pretty much jumped out of nowhere and into the lav before I could make it there. I was starting to feel dizzy and see spots dancing in front of my eyes, and knew that I really needed to get to the lavatory ASAP. I saw that the one at the front of the next section was open, so I took two steps towards it…

…and the next thing I realized, a man was leaning over me, asking, “Are you all right? Are you breathing?”

It took me several more seconds to realize that I’d just passed out, and was lying on the floor of the plane.

Another flight attendant asked me if I could move, and she helped to drag me out of the aisle and behind the last row of seats in front of the bulkhead I had just tried to pass, and they brought several pillows and a blanket and had me lie down for a while, as they asked what happened and how I was doing. I explained everything–my mind was suddenly very clear and I realized that, not counting how embarrassed I was, I felt much better right then than I had in the past 24 hours. (They even brought the cabin temperature down for me, because apparently it was in the high 70s.) The FA who stayed with me–a really friendly guy named Jim–assured me that it happened all the time, that there was no need to feel embarrassed, and that one time, he even had two passengers pass out simultaneously. The guy who’d asked me if I was breathing–I wondered if he was one of the pilots, because he was in kind of professional attire and had one of those wing pins–actually related a story of how a woman passed out into his arms once. Jim had jokingly asked me if I had a boyfriend (seriously, was it that obvious that I was single, that two complete strangers would ask me that in the same day?), and that I should try fainting into the arms of a cute guy next time, to really get his attention.

Slowly–right as we were passing Mount St. Helens and Mount Rainier, so not after too long–he helped me to my feet and back to my seat, assuring me that nobody sitting near me had seen what happened. He got me some orange juice (and I ate my breakfast, because I was suddenly ravenously hungry), and the wing-pin guy came back with an incident report that he’d filled out, and he went over it with me and had me fill out my info, and left me with a copy.

It turns out that more people saw than I realized–I noticed that I was getting some curious looks from the people sitting around me for the rest of the flight, and that the Japanese girl sitting next to me was a little cautious when I had to get up to let her get to her seat, and a guy (who actually would’ve had a perfect view of what happened, because I passed out 3 feet directly in front of him) asked me how I was feeling when we finally landed in Houston and were waiting to leave the plane.

Seriously, international travel is never not an adventure for me. I’m kind of nervous about what adventures are in store for my return trip in a couple of weeks.

We got into Houston a little late, so I speedwalked/jogged and made it to the gate for my Houston-Atlanta flight with just enough time to make a quick phone call to my dad before boarding started. That flight was a lot more pleasant, and I got to talk with two really pleasant Southern gentlemen for the duration. I met my dad at the airport, and he drove me home, where my mom and grandmother and brother and a nice home-cooked meal were waiting. Once again, it feels like I never left in some ways, but in other ways, it does feel like it’s been a long time–they’ve had all the walls repainted and bought some new furniture and changed some light fixtures, and generally they’ve made design choices that I approve of very highly. It feels almost like a brand-new house in some ways.

Today, my mom and I are going shopping, and I’m going to get some driving practice in–it’ll be really weird trying to drive on the right side of the road again, so I’m going to need some supervision. I’m also going to start calling a bunch of people and getting plans going. I’m still a bit under the weather, but I’m a lot better than I was two days ago. I’m just glad to be back.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *