Traveling is something that my family has always loved to do. My grandparents have literally been around the world more than once....my dad ran out of pages in his passport because it had been stamped so many times....my mom lived in France while she was in college....my older sister traveled around Europe for 5 weeks after she was done with high school....my little sister has been to Japan and lived in Brasil....you get the picture, we travel.
Like everyone else, I have traveled as much as possible. When we were younger we went to the Rockies, Yellowstone, far north in Canada, and all up and down the East coast. As an adult, I have mostly traveled to California (twice really but I loved both times). Lauren and I went to San Fransisco together for 10 days to visit friends and then I help my bestie, Mandy, move to LA by driving with her and her two cats across the country (we made it in 36 hours). But one of the most memorable trips and places I have traveled was Brasil.
I have been there twice. The first time, I was solo visiting my dad who had been there for about 4 weeks. The second time was with both of my sisters while my dad was living there for the better part of 6 months. Both trips were amazing and I could spend days telling everyone about those memories. But I just want to share one specific memory from my first visit.
I was there for about 7 days (maybe). I had been a guest speaker at a private school that taught English and Spanish, I had gone dancing and drinking Caipirinha, I had even fallen in love with the most handsome Brasillian man I have ever seen.....ahhhhh, Cesar....he was so hot (and didn't know any English). But I will jump to the end of my trip. I was crying because I didn't want to leave. I was saying good bye to all of my new Brasillian family. I said good bye to my dad and boarded the plane.
Now, traveling South, I left Dayton to Atlanta. Atlanta to Sao Paulo and Sao Paulo to Porto Alegre. It was supposed to be the same on the way home. Note the word suppose.
I boarded the plane. The trip from Sao Paulo to Porto Alegre was not a long flight, but I didn't know exactly how long because I had passed completely out on that leg of the trip on the way down....but my dad said about an hour. So we are flying and then we start landing about an hour later. Looking out the window, it did not seem like it was Sao Paulo because that is one of the world's largest cities, and I didn't see the same city lights as I has before....but what did I know? I had to have someone help me through customs a week earlier! So the plane lands, and I slowly walk up to the flight attendant, who doesn't speak English, I point out the door and say "Sao Paolo?" She smiles a huge smile and says, "Yes!" So, naturally trusting her, I get off the air plane. I follow everyone to the baggage claim area and wait patiently for my Oakwood Lumberjack's Volleyball duffel bag. And I wait.....and wait.....and wait. All the other passengers are gone. I am thinking, I am running out of time to make my connection to home.....eff my bag, I want to go home. I find the desk of the airline I had traveled to tell them about my bag. The lady speaks English and asks what address they can send it to...I tell her I live in the States. She asks for my local address, I tell her I don't have one, I live in the States. We do this about about 4 more rounds....when finally I am really thinking I don't need anything from that bag ever again and I say loudly....."Just tell me where the Delta check-in is!" She looked more confused. At that point I knew....but still asked..."This is Sao Paulo right?!" Her look went from confusion to shock. She turned and started yelling at another employee something in Portuguese...he runs out but quickly returns. She looked at me and said, "No, this is not Sao Paulo. The plane you were on had one stop but it just took off again for Sao Paulo.
I had no idea where I was with none of my things. Luckily I had my dad's phone number in the travel journal I was keeping with me at all times. I call him....I tell him....he starts yelling. (not at me but because the airline never told him there was a stop on my flight). I hand the phone to the airline worker.....I hear more yelling....she just shakes her head yes. They hang up. She tells me they are figuring it out and I should just go sit down and relax (I was sobbing by this point). I find a seat and a lovely old man that bummed me a cigarette. I sat and smoked, wondering if I would ever get home. I didn't want to leave hours before but now it was the only thing I wanted....home. The lady comes to get me because my dad had called back. It was all figured out...I was to get on the next plane to Sao Paulo, Delta was going to hold the plane until I boarded (I made it leave solid 40 minutes late) and I was going to have a chaperon to meet me at one terminal to take me to the other one.
The plane I boarded had propellers....and it held 10 people. I was scared for my life but obviously I met my chaperon and made it to my Delta flight home......
This story will always kill my dad because of where I had landed. It is a very VERY small city named Navegantes.
So that is a place that I have traveled.....although not on purpose.