Tuesday, February 08, 2011

accidental emotions

There is a place floating in the sky, suspended in some unknown quiet in the clouds where like children we imagined them like soft comfy pillows you could dance around in thanks to many hours of watching 'the care bears' as a child. In this case, my 'caring meter' was far on the rainbow side, signaling all was congruent with earth and that precious delicate world of wishes and wonder. That is the place I go in the midst of turbulence and shaky atmosphere.

The other night I was happily embarking on a quick journey home for the first time since I moved. Everything seemed quite smooth, I questioned various emotions I might experience upon landing in the US  as I waded through a 2 hour line into customs but all in all I was appreciating the chance just to be home for a bit. We boarded, I settled in with a glass of wine and proceeded to wait on the tarmac for 2 hours due to mechanical problems. It didn't matter though, it was 230am and I was intermittently doing the shut eye head bounce. Finally as we took off I grabbed a few quick glances back at my city down below and with another glass of wine and dinner in sight the 11 hours to detroit would soon speed by like a time warp.  Then, a half hour into the trip like nails scratching a chalkboard the flight attendants began to scram and dinner disappeared on its common trajectory up the aisle. My aunt was a flight attendant for years and told me never to worry unless its obvious the staff is. They looked terrified. Scrambling around they awoke most everyone and finally the captain came on to make the emergency announcement. We had lost all radar and had to return to Sao Paulo immediately. There was a storm looming so everyone was on edge as the plane turned around and headed back with the ease of a roller coaster.

Its hard to describe the next half hour as I tried to make my way to that place, to find calm amidst chaos. All the emotions I worried about regarding being back in the US were trumped by making it safely to the ground. It was then a 30 hour blur of more customs (after the de-plane at 4am we had 250 people that had to go back through customs to get inside the airport with ONE official's window open), lots of extra hours spent in the sao paulo airport, a tasty McDonalds breakfast, standing in a two hour wait for the american airlines counter to open for the morning while I was shaking from drinking too much wine a few hours earlier, new farmer friends from north carolina that were also trying to get home to the same area and even offered to drive me as close to virginia as possible once we got stateside... it was a mixture of sunrises, sunsets, tears, smiles and new friendships that finally got me home. I almost forgot to capture what it felt like to be back for the first time knowing this isn't really home anymore... my new home down south... well I already miss it.

Thanks to the clouds, that place that saved my sanity...




9 comments:

Gil and Ray said...

Dear Jana,

I was reading this on the edge of my seat...
So sorry you had to experience such horrible experience.
I have had the exactly same problem with the radars with an American Airlines flight between Mexico and Chicago, American Airlines are trying to squeeze every last drop of life out of their falling apart old airplanes from the 80's.
I have been trying to pull away from them after 22 years of loyalty, Executive Platinum level and lot's of perks keep me addicted to them like a bad drug habit.
I am flying to Florida today and I choose Southwest, small steps... :)
Glad you got home safe and sound.
Have a great trip on your way back...ironically I am writting you from the Ft.Lauderdale Airport, just got ripped off by a stinky Haitian Taxi driver, UGH... fells just like the 3rd world that is the Miami area, they live up to their reputation.
At least my expectations are in the right place when I come down here...
Can't wait to get back to Rhode Island.


Forte Abraco

Ray

Jim said...

Glad you got down safely. Unfortunately I can relate: Luiz and I were on a plane for a short trip in Thailand when the staff started to panic (two were visibly crying), they put on their oxegen tank backpacks -- then the plane took a NOSE DIVE, freaking everyone out. Then the little orange oxegen masks popped out of the ceiling... Luiz and I said our "I love yous" and held hands. The plane lost cabin pressure and fogged up. After an insane period we touched back down... yikes. Since then we have lived every day like our last.

Sara Louise said...

How very scary this must have been! My godmother is a flight attendant and told me that same thing about when to be worried. Luckily, I've never had need to be.... fingers crossed. Happy for you that you made it safely :-)

umavidalegendada said...

Ah! That's awful! I once had a bad experience flying over the Pyrenees on Iberia. The plane dropped sharply several times, everyone was screaming and crying. When we finally got on the ground, the flight attendants voices were shaking uncontrollably, so I knew it must have been a close one. Glad you're ok! Let me know when you're back in town!

Nina said...

This is a monthly reacurring nightmare I have. Whenever I think about returning home, this is my fear. Not just an accident (but an accident too) but having to turn around in Sao Paulo or Alanta even. Thank god you made it!!!!

Jana @ Paper plains said...

@everyone- what comfort it gave me to see all your comments, i suppose if you fly enough its bound to happen to a handful and to those it hasn't, I hope it never does but like Jim said you do find yourself with a slightly more positive outlook on every single day... thank you all for your caring thoughts =)

ojeitobrasileiro said...

I just bought my ticket back to the US... I'm not quite sure if I am happy I read this post.. or freaked out by all of the above comments. Either way, I'm glad that all worked out in the end.

Danielle said...

This post was surprisingly pleasant and optimistic, despite such a terrible event! You are very strong and brave. I'm glad that you finally made it home safely.

Rachel said...

OMG, that would have been so scary! But I agree with Danielle, amazingly zen for such a situation. Gold star!

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