Just One Breath

An American girl in Scotland, figuring things out one step at a time

My last trip to Scotland… Getting there.


As I now embark on an epic journey of catching up I will just jump in where we left off. Hang in there… we are getting to the good stuff. 😉

As I prepared for my trip to Scotland the East Coast of America was hit with a horrific Snowstorm. Go ahead and google this bad boy, December 2010 North American blizzard. A Nor’easter lead to hurricanes, high wind and then a ton of snow. The end of 2010 was a mess. Fortunately and Unfortunately I was working in the travel business at the time. I was privy to airport closures, flight cancellations and a whole host of other things that could ruin my trip to see Jamie in January. I watched and waited for the snow to end and it just wouldn’t go. At work I sat on the phone for hours with desperate customers who just wanted to be with family over the holidays and whose plans were getting smashed to pieces, and my heart sank. Would my trip to Scotland have to be postponed? I hoped and prayed it wouldn’t. Jamie and I had worked too hard to get to this point, it would be a cruel twist of fate to keep us apart now.

Finally Jan 11th, 2011 came. I was counting down the days until my trip with my lovely colleagues who were freaking out for me, an X on every day of my work calendar brought me closer to Jamie. I think I made it through those wintery weeks by sheer luck and their unwavering enthusiasm for what was to come. I was all packed and ready to head to the airport and of course, it was snowing, but the flight was still a go. The roads were wet and the grass was white as we drove along to Newark for my flight. I got flight status updates from friends at the office so I knew we were still good to go. Once we got to the airport getting checked in was a breeze and I was feeling really good. When I sat down to have a coffee it suddenly wasn’t relaxing like it should have been, it felt like purgatory. I was in limbo. I didn’t have a signal on my iPad and couldn’t go online easily to check weather or mail Jamie but my stress was just beginning. After about 20 minutes of sitting at my gate I suddenly noticed I was not at the right gate anymore. Had I missed an announcement? I ran to the board to check and my gate had indeed changed. In total my flight changed gates 3 times and I kept having to pick up my stuff and rush to the new gate. I didn’t know why and the snow was beginning to come down harder.

When I was finally able to sit down at the final gate I called my Mom. As I watched the snow swirling outside through the huge, impossible to ignore windows my stomach dropped. I was scared my flight was going to be cancelled. The gate change wasn’t the only thing worrying me, my departure time was as well. Boarding was delayed for almost an hour and a half. I was beginning to panic and I wanted to just melt into a puddle of tears on the floor. My Mom did a good job talking to me through it all. Then finally after waiting for what seemed like days, boarding was called and with an I love you I hung up and started for the gate.

Once we boarded the plane and were all buckled in the captain came on the speaker and said he apologised for the delay and there would be a little longer to wait as we were in a queue to the runway. I wanted to cry again. I felt like I was going to vomit but I was on the plane and this was a step in the right direction, right? After several minutes the captain came on the speaker again and said don’t be alarmed folks, we are going to get a little shower to make sure the plane is de-iced for departure. The word “de-iced” scared the hell out of me but I felt again this was a positive, we were going to leave, they needed to de-ice us, they wouldn’t do that if we were going to stay.

After several minutes of waiting the plane was de-iced again. My brain was in over drive, “Would we get moving soon? What is happening? How much longer? Will Jamie know I am this late? Will he think I am not coming? Did my Mom get in touch with him?” I rubbed the little Guardian Angel that was attached to my jean pocket like it was going to magically spread its wings and fly me away. My Dad had given me the angel in 1997 when I went to Scotland for my study abroad, that angel has been on every single flight I have been on since and I always felt safe with it on. Like I was attached to my Dad and he would be with me no matter what. After rubbing my Dad’s angel and taking several deep breaths I was beginning to calm until… we were de-iced AGAIN!!!! “For goodness sake! Why? Pilot please talk to us!!!” And like as if he heard my internal screams he came on the speaker and said “Sorry again folks we are going to head off now. Mother Nature has been causing some delays but we are about to go now and I will do my best to make up the time we have lost.” I felt overwhelmed as plane did its little lurch forward and I quietly sobbed into my pillow. My neighbour in the seat to my right said “Excuse me. Are you alright hen?” He was Scottish! God that accent was sent from Heaven to calm my soul. I told him I was going to Glasgow to be with my boyfriend and he was going to possibly propose to me. He congratulated me as we took off. I almost missed it. We had a nice chat for the first part of the flight until the lights went out and it was time to vegetate to a movie. I was on my way to Jamie… finally I was on my way. x heather

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