Only a handful of people know that I only have two weeks left on the island. I have one foot firmly standing on Saint Lucia soil and the other foot stepping back into California.
I am excited to go home and spend time with my three sons and daughter-in-law, my granddaughter, friends, my dog Barkley and a newly acquired kitty, Riley. I am looking forward to seeing my youngest son, Kevin, who is coming to help me move.
I spoke with my granddaughter and she is anxious for me to watch her take tap dancing lessons. I have another granddaughter who will arrive in November. I anticipate and look forward to this next chapter but I feel a pull from Saint Lucia, the country I have grown to appreciate and love.
Two weeks later. It is near midnight. It seems as if I have been travelling for hours. Oh, I almost forgot – I have been travelling for hours.
Edward picked Kevin and I up at my apartment at 1:00 p.m. I looked around one last time at the two bedroom apartment that had become my home.
|The main road in my village where I walked|
to the highway to catch a bus
The lines at Hewanorra Airport were longer than I have ever seen. I get lucky. They took my three over-packed suitcases without weighing them and gave Kevin and I boarding passes. We look over at the three hundred people waiting in a line nearby realizing this is the line to get through security.
|My last glimpse of Saint Lucia|
|And, finally - the plane is here|
No one dares get in our way. We are focused. We successfully navigate our way through Miami Airport getting through customs in record time.
Our luggage is among the first bags thrown onto the luggage carousal. I find two carts, Kevin throws the bags onto the carts and we run through the airport, clearing the last x-ray check in record time.
I yell over at Kevin, “Over here”, knowing where the re-check for Los Angeles is located. A few beads of sweat are on my forehead but I have a feeling of complete satisfaction that we were going to make our flight. A woman behind the ropes approaches. Breathless, I say, “LAX”. She looks at me in an almost bored manner and simply says, “too late” as she pointed to the re-booking line. I look in the direction of her pointing finger and witness the sedentary line with three hundred impatient, grumbling and angry people. This is a fitting welcome to my former life.
The American Airlines agent tells us how "lucky" we are because our flight delay was late due to maintenance. Most of the people in the re-booking line were there due to weather delays. She explains, "If your flight was late because of weather, American would only re-book your flight".
Quietly, I wondered why this was considered lucky. Wouldn't lucky be considered getting to our destination ahead of time? Or, wouldn't lucky be a free first-class upgrade and getting to our destination on time? Isn't lucky not having to pay for over-packed, bulging bags checked with 'Heavy' tags fastened to them? Alright, I could continue to contrast my definition of lucky with American Airlines definition, but you get the point I'm trying to make.
After standing in the line for over an hour, and trying to put a 'I feel lucky look' on our face, we are re-booked for the next morning and handed food and hotel vouchers. We were on our way to find the hotel shuttle.
Tomorrow the journey would continue with yet another stop and change of planes. In the end, this simple 'lucky' trip became an adventure which included more than 24 hours, two countries, three states, one missed flight, a hotel stay, three bus rides and a car ride before arriving home.
During our Close of Service Conference, we were warned about re-entry into the United States and the readjustment that people feel. Twice I’d vacationed at home since leaving for my Peace Corps assignment. I am sure these warnings don’t apply to my situation.
My next and maybe last post will describe three stories where I found myself looking at simple things in a very different way.