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Stepping out – Running through Hethrow in wedges

Stepping out – Running through Hethrow in wedges

“This one step – choosing a goal and sticking to it – changes everything.” Scott Reed

Why did I decide to do this? Leave my family for 11 days, fly halfway across the world to Italy for a photography workshop with Bob and Dawn Davis… this is crazy.  My young children, husband, and small fish needed me.  In reality, I needed this time both personally and professionally.  It didn’t help that I had stayed up 2 nights in a row to trick my body into the Italian timezone.  Plus having to say goodbye to my youngest (age 7) as I lay face-down on the Chiropractors table.  Apparently I had thrown my back out dancing the weekend before and now I was supposed sit for 14 hours in a British Airways cocoon.  I said my goodbyes while waiting for the doctor, and as my little girl slipped out the door with my mom, tears began to slip through my eyelids no matter how hard I tried to hold them back.  I was officially a wreck, and hadn’t even left town yet.
Stepping out is hard.  It requires a tenacity; a focus against fear and self doubt.  It requires a letting go; a perfect surrender of all control.  As I boarded the plane, all I had was hope: hope to arrive safely, hope my husband would keep all the schedules together in my absence, hope the children would be fed well or even fed at all, hope the fish wouldn’t die in my absence (although I must say I do hate cleaning his bowl) and hope that I would have a great time.  Stepping out and following your dreams is hard, but once that first step is over, it gets easier right?

As I settled into my 38 inches of British Airways personal space, I tried to not think of what I was leaving behind. I needed sleep and thought I would get it on the plane, but alas, nerves turned to excitement. I just couldn’t sleep with so much promise in the air.  So I did the next best thing. I ate. I began to consume all the snacks they could throw at me, plus some I had brought in my purse. The flight to Italy was interrupted by way of Hethrow Airport in London.  I had heard to give yourself at least 2 hours between connecting flights in order to navigate through such a busy airport.  Advice I know now  is all too true, but I was a Flight Attendant in my former life so obviously that wouldn’t apply to me.  I gave myself an hour and a half.  The funny thing was, I ended up having 2 hours to spare.  The captain came on the intercom and told us we had a tail wind and were going to arrive early, I just didn’t hear the second announcement when he came on and told us we were in a holding pattern due to traffic. Instead, I was eating more snacks… and looking out the window.  We finally made our descent and how fast it was too. Never before in my whole career as a flight attendant had I felt what I was feeling in my stomach.  It was like pressure and pain in my entire organ cavity.  My first thought was, “Oh my God, It’s the big one, I’m having a heart attack!” Then I realized it was gas from the snacks, sodas and descending so fast. “Oh God, Make it stop!”

We finally landed and disembarked.  Off I go into Heathrow, following the crowds reminded me of cattle walking slowly in the same direction.  “Moooo,” my inner voice kept saying.   I noticed the clocks said 13:35.  But honestly, there was so many people that all I could process was “Mooo”. Then I realized what 13:35 was.  My gate for the flight to Italy was closing at 2pm.  I had 25 minutes to find my connecting flight to Rome.  So, I did what any normal person would do.  I began to panic and run.  From departure sign to departure sign, I searched for my flight number but couldn’t find it.  Terror.  “Had they left without me?” “Did I have the right flight number?”  I began to ask cows around me, “Are you going to Rome? Are you going to Rome?”  “No! Gineva.” “No! Copenhagen.” ” No! Brussels,” was their reply.  No one, it seemed but me was going to Rome.  And why wasn’t my flight on the board?  Moooo!!!!!  I saw a sign for other concourses and began to run in that direction, managing to scamper around all the other cows slowing me down.  It was then, out of nowhere, came the loudest burp that had ever left my body.  I mean, it was German loud.  Deep too.  Embarrassed and yet relieved, I had to keep on going. I had to get to the other concourse. It was funny, the more I ran, the more I burped!  By the time I reached the tram, I had burped at least 5 times, and honestly it was uncontrollable.  As the Tram doors were closing, a dark haired man lunged between the doors at the last second and asked. ” Is anyone going to Rome?”  Ahh, my savior!  “Yes, I’m going to Rome! I’m with you!  Where do we go?” I asked.  “I have no clue” he said, “I was hoping you could tell me.”  “Mooooooooo,” I thought.  Burp!

What I didn’t know about Heathrow is that when you change from Concourse B or C to Concourse A, (which was where my flight was) you have to go through security all over again.  By the time we reached the end of the security line, we had nine minutes to catch our flight.  It wasn’t going to happen.  The line would clearly take half an hour at the least to get through.  That’s when my new cow-friend decided to tell me, “I lost my wife.” “Huh?” my reply. “Beg your pardon?”  ” She’s somewhere in the airport ahead of me, probably at the gate.”  At that point, Flight Attendant Rochelle from my former life stepped into gear as a nice lady in a uniform was passing by.  I told her our situation, that we had nine minutes to get to our connecting flight and asked if there was any way she could help us?  Thank God!  She ushered us over to another shorter line and handed us an orange Express ticket to get through security faster.  “I’m not sure you’ll get through this line in nine minutes, you better hope for a delay,” she said with a smile.

By time time I got through security, with a nice pat down I might add, my cow-friend still hadn’t found his wife and I had to leave him behind to find gate 23.  I looked up after collecting my bags… Gate 1.  “Once again, this is the final boarding call for British Airways flight 225 service to Rome at Gate 23,” the lady said in an English accent.  I did I what I had to, I started to Run! Gate 1, gate 2, gate 3, Burp!  Gate 4, gate 5,  gate 6, Burp.  And on and on it went.  Running in wedged heels, burping my way through Heathrow and leaving all the other cows behind.  “Why did I decide to do this again?” I thought.

They say the first step towards a goal is the hardest, but they never tell you that mid way through to your goal, you just might have to break into a sprint with your wedges on.  I finally made it to the gate and was one of the last ones on the plane. The pictures below are just a taste of what I would have missed had I not stepped out and began to run. More to come…



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