The day I was leaving, I awoke at 3:45am. Now let me tell you, waking up at 3:45am does not put me in the best of moods. I can wake up, (pretty easily actually when I have to go somewhere) but that doesn't mean I have to enjoy doing it. I was going to get up at around 4:15, but I was too nervous to sleep soundly. Since I was afraid I'd fall asleep again and NOT wake up, I decided against going back to bed. Tana and I were going to leave for the airport at 4:30, since everything was packed and placed by the door. (I also checked in my luggage the night before. If you're traveling, especially switching planes, I strongly recommend you do this. It makes life so much easier, plus you can save money in baggage fees) I took a quick shower, ate some breakfast, and we were out the door. When we pulled up to Orlando International Airport, Tana helped me with my luggage and then wrapped her arms around me in a huge hug.
"Thank you for everything," I told her.
"You're welcome! Anytime, you know that. We loved having you."
She told me she loved and would miss me and I said the same. Then she and I were off. When Tana disappeared, I started getting nervous, but realizing I had a lot more time then the week before to gather my bearings put my mind at ease.
Going through security check in Orlando was much easier then going through the security check in Newark. Before I knew it, I was at my gate then had time to chill out. I caught my reflection in a nearby window and realized I looked pretty crappy. My hair was sticking out in the back and it looked like I had a bowl cut. Oh well, it made me laugh. (besides, it was before dawn anyway.
My first flight was to Phoenix, Arizona. I boarded the plane at 6:10am, and we took off at 6:30. The flight was pretty comfy and uneventful, and nearly 5 hours later, I landed to this:
The land was flat, red, and totally interesting. I'd never seen land like that before. (Then again, I'd never been out west before, unless you count the few days I spent in Hawaii 10 years ago, and our connecting flight was in Houston.)
I had about an hour and a half until my flight to Honolulu, so I quickly grabbed some grub in my terminal. I'll admit at this point I began to get confused time wise. I was already three hours behind. I wanted lunch and that's what my brain told me to get, so you could imagine how thrown off I was when I saw breakfast items. I looked at my ipod. 11:45 my time. I looked at my phone, which automatically updates when you cross a timezone. 8:45. My pizza craving would have to wait. The only restaurant closest to my terminal was Burger King. Ew. No matter, I had breakfast (again) as fast as I was able and sped to my gate. My phone started beeping like crazy, and as I glanced at it, I felt a sense of relief wash over me. Final well wishes from family and friends, telling me to have a safe flight. Before I knew it, it was time to take our seats on the plane. As we were about to take off, an announcement came over the loudspeaker:
"Good Morning everyone and welcome to US Airways flight 20, destination Hawaii!" The whole plane cheered, and THAT'S when it everything hit me full force. I was going to travel alone. I had met a major goal and was so proud of myself. I DID IT. I settled into my seat. The pilot proceeded to tell us what the current conditions were in Honolulu and what the day's high would be. (Current temp: 75 degrees. The high for the day: 86 degrees) After the plane lifted off the ground, the pilot told us that we would be seeing two movies in flight that day: Gulliver's Travels (crowd response: "Ehhhhh.") and The Tourist. (audible booing, which cracked me up). Of course if we wanted to view these movies, we could purchase a headset for $5 dollars. Um, no thanks. (I'm pleased to say that I got around this anyhow: I unplugged my ipod headphones and stuck them into the outlet, getting sound right away for free. HAH. Why no one else in my section thought of this is beyond me. I saw ipods and ipads everywhere, and STILL people were shelling out $5 bills for headphones used by others.) After deciding that I didn't want to see the rest of Gulliver's Travels, I shockingly fell asleep. (I say shockingly because anyone who knows me knows that I can't fall asleep anywhere except my own bed.) It's a shame it was only for an hour. By the time we were getting ready to land, I'll admit we were all ready to lose it. Everyone started getting up to use the bathroom just to leave their seats. Kids began crying. I felt short tempered, but didn't show it. About 20 minutes later, we dipped through the clouds and I saw an awesome sight. Islands getting bigger and bigger. I wish I could have taken a picture for you all to see because it was beautiful.
"Ladies and Gentlemen," The pilot stated "Welcome to Honolulu, Hawaii! The time is now 2:50pm and the temperature is..." I lost him as that point because all I could think of was "WHAT the hell time is it?" I was wiped. I was so tired that I felt keyed up. Would the sun ever set? When I left the plane to go to baggage claim, I was struck with beauty. To get to baggage, you had to walk across a hallway that was outside. The temperature was perfect. The breeze tickled my hair. Birds chirped, and I was greeted with my first Hawaiian sight:
My second sight was gift shops, gift shops, and more gift shops. You name it, Honolulu International had it. I resisted the urge to buy crap before I even left the airport.
You thought I was kidding?
After an ordeal with my luggage (which was confiscated after I was late picking it up, because my plane landed late) I was greeted with a warm smile and an Aloha hug by my Aunt Lynn. After dining at a cafe and shopping for food, I crashed face down on her futon and didn't get up until 3am. 9am my time. Yeah, I'd have to work on that.