“I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of flying,” I thought to myself as I waited in the Denver international airport security line. I simply couldn’t understand the impatience and disgruntled resignation of those around me in line. JORDAN! I was actually going. 24 hours later, I would look back at that earlier self and laugh at my naivety: it was only my second time flying and the first I’d flown alone. I arrived at the airport almost three hours early for my flight- it would be DIA to Chicago to Amman with a four hour layover in Chicago. I was ready- nervous, yet mostly excited. I found my boarding gate with no trouble and sat down to wait. Wait I did; after a three hour weather delay we finally boarded. My excitement not yet dampened, I found my seat and waited some more- a half hour- talking to the man seated next to me (an attorney) before we took off. We talked the full flight to Chicago- I didn’t read a single word of the book I’d brought. Then, as we landed in Chicago, we were informed that it was too busy to let us out of the plane and that another gate should be open in a half hour.
Suddenly, I began to do the math- it would have been a close call to make my flight in time if we had immediately unloaded. My flight was scheduled to leave in approximately a half hour. Nerves swarmed up, swallowing my excitement along with a fatigue that had set in somewhere during the long wait. Yet, I told myself, it was possible they may yet wait a bit if I hurried and communicated to the airport staff that I was on my way. As soon as I got off the flight, I realized that the boarding pass for my flight to Amman didn’t have a gate listed. I quickly informed some important looking individuals of my situation and was pointed to the international terminal. Sprinting through the airport with a rolling bag, whilst dodging thousands of other busy, moving people is no easy task and yet I succeeded. I Arrived at the terminal and immediately checked the all-knowing screens to determine my gate. Sweating and disheveled, I reached it, but the destination listed was not Amman. There, I found a group of three or so other individuals who were also looking for my flight. We reverted to asking real people, talking to three or four. Confusion ensued. We ran back and forth, up and down the terminal and all around until finally we were informed that we just missed the flight- it had waited for nearly 45 minutes for us and then left during all the running around.
I shuffled back out (accompanied by the other three) to the line where all the sad people with airline misfortunes line up. There we waited in line for about two hours- maybe more- before we could book new flights for the following day. I bonded with another girl over our hope that they would also supply us with a hotel room for the night. After another hour in which a very nice and helpful airline staff-member struggled to book my new flight, I was informed that the hotel was not to be. However, after grabbing some airport Starbucks with my new friend, I decided to invite her to grab a hotel room with me- my family, informed of my misfortunes had come to the rescue. In our utter exhaustion, I suppose we’d grown more trusting, or perhaps we just didn’t care that neither of us really knew the other- either way, it worked out. The next day, we caught a shuttle back and took the same flight together through Paris to Amman. We stuck together and at one point I had a lovely conversation with her and her cousin over face time or a similar app. In Amman, we finally parted ways swapping contact information.
From there, I discovered my luggage had been lost (though I have it now, it had an easier arrival that I did) and headed out to meet the program staff-member that had come to pick me up. We drove, cool night air whipping in the car windows, as we headed to the hotel I would be staying at for orientation. When I reached my room, only one thing was left on my mind-sleep.
*The picture featured above was from the last night of orientation as the waiters brought trays of food*