So I had to go out with a bang. Obvious!
First, the backpackers I stayed at near the airport to make it easier to catch my flight with minimal risk of frustration was run by a neurotic middle-aged man and his super looney mom. My relationship with them ended in a temper tantrum and a taxi ride to another place. Seriously he was a creeper and got upset that I was not social enough. The new place was slightly dirty but much more friendly!
At the airport, as I was checking about the rules and regulations concerning the checked bags for Turkish Airlines (I really had very little flexibility as almost everything I packed I had deemed irreplaceable), my phone died. "No big deal! I will just check in and send Derek an email, have a snack and a beer and get on the plane" is what I had thought.
I am standing in line and realize I chose the wrong counter to wait behind when I hear the airline representative yell "No you are the stupidest ever!" at a customer who is walking away shaking her head. There's that classy South African customer service! So.... one of my bags is slightly overweight and one is slightly under so, unless I want to spend more than $400 I need to move things around a bit. Fine. I go back to her counter and ask to weigh the heavier one to see if all has been sorted. She engages with a co-worker and presses a button AFTER TELLING ME I COULD WEIGH MY BAG! This sends my bag to god knows where without a label and unzipped. I think it is slightly funny and probably easily corrected, but she informs me that actually, quote, "it is gone and we can't do anything about it. Next customer!" Panic! I run across the lobby to get this guy who appeared to have more seniority than her and who was kinda flirting with me earlier after I am reassured by a lovely family that it is completely her fault and that she is acting NUTS.
He needs to go to some basement to get my bag. I thought this would be a simple endeavor but it takes almost two hours for him to return. Apparently security gave him a huge hassle. I am pacing around like a crazy person thinking I might actually end up missing my fight or being forced to make a choice between catching my flight without my luggage or waiting for luggage that might never come back at the expense of my ticket. That insane representative says to me: "It is a far and big and complicated place that is why you should not have done that! Hello? Hello? Melissa!!!!!" I respond with "I am not engaging with you as I am almost positive you have a mental problem." See how much I am matured these past three years?
He comes back with my bag. I am over joyed but worried about catching my flight so he uses his security badge to rush me through all security points and I make it onto the plane with enough time to send a frantic email to Derek before we take off. No beer or snack! At JFK all my luggage arrived minus a blow dryer and a few books I sacrificed to the cause back in Johannesburg.
Now in Nashville until the 29th when we head to AZ to see Montana and Harlee (and Jenna, Jimmy and Trey I suppose) for a few weeks. Mom comes down to AZ after New Years! Glad to be home and hopeful about the future, excited to see what comes next.
Farewell South Africa!