I don’t know if you’ve ever flown Aero Mexico before, but I wouldn’t recommend it unless you absolutely have to.
We arrived at the airport with very little time to spare, waited in line for about an hour, and at last got our boarding passes. I needed three. Only one of mine printed. And my ticket was changed to stand by.
|Waiting in line in Guadalajara|
I looked to the man at the desk, trying not to look panicked.
“It’s fine,” he told me, crossing out the STB with a Sharpie. “You will get your seat assigned at the gate.”
I nodded lamely and turned to rush through security.
Our team arrived at the gate to find they were holding the plane for us… since the ten of us made up nearly a third of the flight. We were handing over our passes one by one. When the woman at the counter got to me she stopped me.
“You’re standby. You have to wait. We have a flight at 10, one at 4:30 and another at 8:00 tonight.”
I looked wide-eyed between her and our trip leader, a faint roaring in the back of my mind. I didn’t want to be stuck in a Mexican airport alone! Good grief, my Spanish is terrible and I didn’t know what I would do by myself in a foreign country.
The leader explained to her that the printer at the check-out counter had broken and that my ticket wasn’t supposed to have been changed. He told me that he and I would switch if we had to. I nodded, trying to blink back tears. (I cry. It’s annoying and happens at the drop of a hat due to any strong emotion such as HOLY-CRAP-I-COULD-GET-LEFT-HERE-IN-A-MEXICAN-AIRPORT scared. Not thrilled by it, but it’s what I do.)
With a minute to spare before take-off, I was given a seat on a plane the size of a test tube in front of and beside some of our team members.
We flew from Guadalajara to Monterrey and found we had to go through security again. This time, the woman checking our boarding passes did not speak English. She was very disgruntled that my pass was for Monterrey and no further. I showed her the bar code for my luggage was labeled for Grand Rapids, but wasn’t sure how to explain that I needed other passes.
After a rather tragic attempt of a few of us to mime this, she begrudgingly motioned for me to follow her to who-knows-where. I looked to the rest of the team, disapointed that this was not going to be simple and once again frightened.
I followed the security woman silently through strange hallways. I tried once more not to cry. The lump in my throat bulged as I realized that this walk was awkward, but I could barely make small talk with her if I tried. Not unless we wanted to talk about her favorite color or the time or how much something costs or where the bathroom was. I felt so helpless and confused. Desperate, even. Not to mention, I really had to pee.
|Saying goodbye to Mexico|
I looked to the woman in her stiff grey suit and her stern expression as she looked straight ahead of us. She was probably in no mood to take a bathroom stop on our way to wherever.
We emerged at the front of the Monterrey airport. She motioned for me to stay put in the check in line as she brought my one and only boarding pass up to the man working there. They talked back-and-fort in rapidly whirring Spanish of which I only got snippets.
I looked up at the giant Delta logo mounted to the marble wall behind the desk.
God, just get me back in that terminal and home. Get me out of this country, I pleaded.
Do you trust me? The words felt like a small echo in my chest. I had felt them there all week.
I am in no mood to play trust exercises, God, I just want to get back to the team and home!
I took deep breaths, trying not to sob in front of the line of spring-breakers behind me.
This is what travelling alone would be like, I realized. I want to travel, I have to get used to this. I began to take inventory of myself.
I am okay. Things are getting worked out, I will be with everyone again shortly. I have plenty of time to get to the gate and visit a bathroom before I would have to board. Everything was fine. Not what I would have planned, but fine.
I looked upward and nodded. Alright, I trust you.
The security woman came to where I was in line. Handing me my boarding pass, she told me in heavily accented English, “You wait. He help.”
“Gracias.” I nodded, feeling relieved.
|My first sight of snow upon returning
Upon getting to the check-in counter, I was able to get the rest of my boarding passes and was even upgraded to an emergency exit row for my trouble.
I was fine. I was safe. I was headed home.
It struck me how simple the morning was, but how quick I was to jump to the worst possible scenario. I am becoming more and more aware of how badly I am at taking things in stride. God has taken care of me thus far and he has promised to continue to do so.
I arrived back in Grand Rapids without any trouble and have begun adjusting back to life at home and at work.
My week in Mexico was a beautiful experience that I will forever cherish. God was at work and it was wonderful to experience that with his people in his creation.
Thank you all for your prayers and encouragement. Your intercession on our behalf was so necessary and I know I speak for the rest of the team when I say thank you.