This trip would mark my first time ever leaving the United States. And boy, was it a long journey out.
My first leg of the journey, from KCI to Chicago O’Hare, was primarily good, until reaching the fringe of Chicago, 20 minutes out from landing.
In the vicinity of the airport was a decent thunderstorm, which definitely caused a hefty amount of turbulence going in for the landing. The bouncing and rocking was exacerbated further due to the tin can of an airplane I was in.
Normally, I am totally fine with turbulence in an aircraft. But the fact that my desire to keep reading a book, as well as the intense heat from being so close to everyone inside the plane, had caused much agony for my being as I came down with some tough motion sickness. “Get this plane on the ground,” was all I could keep thinking. “Okay, there’s no barf bags in here and I have two individuals in my immediate vicinity that I cannot avoid should something come up. Yeah, we need to land.”
Fortunately, the plane landed before I had any chance of seeing my lunch again. Descending through a thunderstorm is a very intriguing experience – clouds and darkness veil the exterior of the plane, as though you’re suspended in a place that has no up nor down. The occasional brilliant flash and streak of lightning would illuminate the world outside, which was certainly wicked cool.
One event that I must share from my arrival into Chicago was the happenstance of running into another fellow Northwest Bearcat. As I was walking the gangway out into the terminal at O’Hare, a man (faculty I can only presume) wearing a very apparent Northwest T-shirt walked by me. It took me a moment to register what was happening, but when it clicked I yelled at him, “Are you a Bearcat too?” “Yes I am, I’m in Chicago for an event here,” he said, or something along those lines. I was too stoked to believe that I ran into another Bearcat in Chi-town. Small world.
I left Chicago on a Boeing 777, which I believe is the largest twin-engine jet in operation (Wikipedia fact check: it is). I was unfortunately stuck in the dead middle of the plane, away from all window seats, with two interesting foreigners at my side. I never spoke to the lad to my left, and I only gave a few words to the dude to my right, who remarked from hailing in the United Kingdom ( the accent being very apparent). Not much occurred during the long flight across the Pond (Atlantic Ocean). I spent part of the evening watching Battleship* on the fancy monitors placed at the back of each headrest. About the time the aliens in the film started going all Michael Bay on Taylor Kitsch, I realized that I had flown out over into Canada, en route to London: I had finally left the United States.
*Rhianna was a lot like a cardboard Kristen Stewart: cold, stale, probably reading her lines from a cue card just off screen.