fbpx

There’s so many things that are different about Cape Town..

.
Like this gecko for example. In South Carolina, we have lizards. In South Africa, we have geckos..

.
In SC, there’s the “hood” of your car. In SA, it’s a bonnet..

.
I feel so naive coming from America and only experiencing an American life for 22 years..

.
There’s so much that we have in the states that other countries only dream of..

.
Like ChickFilA. Or a safe environment for kiddos. And when menus match what a restaurant actually has..

.
I’ve never left America until this trip. I’ve never even been to California and the farthest I’ve ever been from South Carolina is New Orleans..

.
The weather is beautiful as I sit here..

.
Sunny, warm, and windy.

.
Did you know Cape Town is notorious for wind? Not just a breeze, big winds. When I first got here, I was pushed by the wind as I got out of my friend’s car..

.
Which is amazing. With the heat, the wind counteracts and makes for something that feels like an “island paradise”. 🏝

.
I still can’t believe I’m here. My family keeps asking me what’s it like. I just say that it feels like a dream..

.
When I was in DC at my connecting flight, I had 45 minutes to get to my next takeoff. Little did I know, it was all the way across the airport..

.
The DC airport is so big that there was GPS for INSIDE the airport..

.
The flight that landed before us was delayed and sitting in our loading zone.  So by the time their plane was moving, I had 30 minutes. The airport’s GPS said it would take me approximately 23 minutes to get to my takeoff to Germany..

.
I was panicking because as I sat in my plane waiting for unloading, I was skimming over my GPS steps and I noticed there was a fucking train that was supposed to take me to the other side of the airport..

.
A train. Like a fucking train. I had 30 minutes… 😭

.
So what now? I’ve never been in a big airport alone. And I’m not the best at following GPS directions. I told all this to the kind lady sitting next to me…

.
On the way to DC, we managed to chat a bit. I told her I was going to South Africa and she friended me on Facebook so she could follow my trip..

.
I heard someone else say they had a connecting flight leaving in like 10 minutes..

.
Shit. Fuck. What the hell am I supposed to do now……?

.
So a lady behind me said I should tell the clerk at the United desk that I’m HERE so could they please not leave me..?

.
We got parked to unload and I told the flight attendant that I need to get off the plane first for my connecting flight..

.
She made an announcement over the plane speakers and said that anyone with connecting flights leaving shortly should exit first, and that anyone who isn’t in a hurry can wait a bit longer to exit..

.
I hear half of the plane say they were leaving first because their flight was about to leave without them.. great.

.
So I jumped up, my new friend got out of my way and wished me luck, and I grabbed my backpack to head for the door..
.

This was the scariest feeling I have ever experienced in my life..

.
I’ve always had my mother or father there to make sure I was okay. That things were okay..

.
But no one was there except me and the people I could talk to..

.
I did what my friend told me to do. I asked the United desk if they could let my connecting flight know that I was here but I might be late because I have no idea how to move about this airport..

.
They did that, and I was then off my way into the jungle of DC’s air travel people..

.
I was in a hurry. I think people could tell. But needless to say, so was everyone else..

.
There’s always movie scenes where we watch the people run through the airports. We call them idiots or wonder why they waited til the last minute or we feel empathy and we’re glad that’s not us..

.
But that was me. I was the young and dumb girls running..

.
The GPS directions weren’t bad. I took a few of the first steps, got about 10 minutes away from where I started, and I started to ponder this devastating thought..

.
My mind likes to roam around WorstCaseScenarioLand..

.
I almost started crying as I slowed down my pace and frantically tried to remember if United was transporting my bags from my first flight to my next flight to Germany..

.
It had already been 10 minutes. I couldn’t afford to go back and ask if my bags were sitting at the exit of my first plane trip..

.
I couldn’t afford to lose another 10 minutes. I hadn’t even found the train yet.. 😵‍💫

.
I must’ve looked pale or panicked or something because a slender young pilot dressed in his cool pilot suit asked if I was lost..

.
I was sort of lost at this point..

.
He clarified that they would most likely transport my bags to the connecting flight to Germany..

.
“Most likely” was good enough for me at this point..

.
I just needed to know how to get to the train..

.
He gave me a few simple steps and said hurry along and good luck..

.
I followed him for a bit. Up stairs, down stairs, through crowds of racing people lugging along huge suitcases..

.
Then there was a train and I jumped on while the doors quickly opened..

.
Wait. This is one of 3 open doors. Does this open door take me to gate C?

.
Fuck.

.
I saw another glimpse of the pilot dude and yelled if this’ll take me to gate C..

.
“It should!”

.
I was working with a lot of should’s and most likely’s at this point but I didn’t have time to worry about that..

.
10 minutes. My plane’s leaving for Germany in 10 minutes..

.
Since the start of this trip that morning, it hadn’t stopped. I hadn’t stopped. I could almost forget that I booked my ticket at 4am that morning..

.
It felt like complete craziness at this point and I was in over my head..

.
10 minutes ‘til takeoff!

.
I got on this train and there was only a few other passengers..

.
But there was no attendant running the train..

.
It was an automatic train that ran itself. Almost like a tram..

.
For stop 1, everyone else got off..

.
I didn’t want to get off because I didn’t know if that was stop C..

.
I didn’t even have enough time to consider asking the passengers because the doors opened and closed so fast, probably to accommodate people like me who were in a manic hurry..

.
Which one is gate C? What the fuck. Why aren’t there screens on this train saying which gate this is?????

.
Why? Why??? WHY?!!!!???

.
I have to figure this out. This isn’t impossible. I just have to run as fast as I can once I get off this train. But where do I get off?

.
On the next stop, 5 people got on.

.
A friendly couple told me there’s signs outside of the train saying what stop it is. They got on at stop A. Then there will be B, then my stop, gate C..

.
We chatted for a few moments before the gates opened again. They wished me good luck on my way to Germany then South Africa..

.
I am forever grateful for the friendly informative people I encountered and for me. I pushed past the fear of being incapable for believed I could do this. I feel it’s important to pay yourself on the back when there’s no one else around to do so. That’s something my mother taught me at a very early age, breeding the independence in me for my start..

.
The couple and the other 3 folks got off at gate B. I was alone..

.
Heart racing, holding onto a pole in the middle of this small train as the gates closed and I was hopefully off to get C..

.
I was full of hope. Hoping this was all going to work out and I could get to this gate C without being left..

.
What if I don’t make it? Will they really leave me? What happens with my bags? Do they go to Germany without me? Are they there at my connecting flight at all?

.
My thoughts were intervened abruptly by the doors opening..

.
I saw GATE C in big block letters on the wall..

.
It’s time to go Ginger. I got out of those gates and was greeted by a huge set of stairs. I fucking ran.

.
There was only 5 minutes left and I had to make this flight..

.
I was greeted by a huge flight of stairs..

.
I fled up those stairs like my life depended on it. I have asthma. And that didn’t help this predicament..

.
I was up the stairs and fleeing past people who were also fleeing, just not as fast as me..

.
As I was looking for gate 23 in the C area, I heard that the flight for Germany was about to leave. And they were waiting for a guy and Ginger Winn..

.
Oh. My. Gosh. Could this really be happening…..?

.
Gate 23. I was at gate 5. Oh. My. Gosh. My legs were giving out. My lungs were giving out. I had been running for almost half an hour now. I’m not that physically fit..

.
I thought I was going to die. Gate 15.. Gate 20.. Gate 22…

.
I was so close. I could see gate 23 as I came up some stairs..

.
There were two gentleman who started to smile as they saw this young girl with a backpack out of breath and scared..

.
One smiled and said, “You must be Ginger. We’ve been waiting for you.”

.
I apologized but they assured they wouldn’t have left me. I handed them my ticket, which I had clenched in my hand for I think the whole time I was running..

.
Then I thanked them with all my heart and headed down the chute to the plane..

.
Compared to my last plane to DC, this one was the real shit. I’d never seen anything like it..

.
Instead of 4 rows of chairs, there was 7. And I noticed the roof was much higher as I found my seat, huffing and puffing, trying to catch my breath..

.
I was so late that there wasn’t even room for my book bag because everyone else filled up the overhead storages. The nice flight attendant found a spot for me though..

.
I shoved it up there, walked back to my spot, and crashed into my seat. I was still shocked from my journey here..

.
I was shocked but guess what? I made it!! I was really here!! I was on a plane out of the USA, for my first time abroad, headed to fucking South Africa..

.
As I write this, I get testy eyed. Soft jazz music is playing in the background with a warm African breeze..

.
That young Ginger who almost missed her flight was so excited to experience what life was like outside of the US..

.
In my plane seat, I tried to breathe. The exhaust was coming into the cabin though as the engine roared to life..

.
I asked for a water and eventually my heart rate slowed..

.
I really just needed a nap. By this time, it was about 10:30pm and I just needed to go to sleep..

.
I did it and really made this happen at 22 years old..

.
Sitting on that plane, I knew I’d wake up in Germany and I felt as though the world was in the palm of my hand. I’ve never felt so high in my life (and I don’t do drugs)..

.
By the way, I never actually slept on that plane ride. I never slept during my layover in Germany and on my flight to Cape Town, I slept for about 4 hours. I was too nervous and excited for what was ahead of my in Cape Town, South Africa..

.
I’m here in Cape Town now. Every 2 hours or so, I hear the engine roar of one of those huge planes that took me here. And I see the plane fly by, sometimes red, sometimes white, against the usually blue sky..

.
It constantly reminds me that I’m not supposed to stay here. I’m supposed to leave and return to my home country in about 6 weeks. But I don’t intend to..

.
I intend to extend my tourist visa for an additional 3 months. Then in total, I’d be in South Africa for 6 months. After that, I’m not sure what’ll happened but I have a plan..

.
You’ll hear about that very soon 😏

.
Until then, enjoy the weather whenever you are. It’s summer here and I’m finally starting to feel like this is reality, not a dream. I’m not going to wake up. I actually made a plan and went through with it..

.
It just took creating a goal, making steps to achieve it, and following those steps. And a shit load of dedication when it looked like it was impossible to come here..

.
Stay dedicated my friends..

.
🧡🦁🐙

Leave a Reply