Turkish Travels - Part 1

I had just written this post, at least 6 paragraphs of detailed information and stories about the escapades of my trek to Turkey.  And then with an inadvertent click of the mouse it vanished.  Just like that.  I pounded my fists against the marbled desk and it did no good.  All those words lost in cyber space.  Lost.  Just lost.  Which is exactly how I felt yesterday after 20 hours of traveling.  I guess I will begin again because to not share would be sad.  Why deprive all of you the joy of reveling in lost luggage stories, running through foreign airports and bad food.

It all started with a tearful goodbye to the Things.  What should have been an uneventful hug and kiss turned into squeezes and air kisses all the way to the crosswalk with the other Moms no doubt thinking that our routine was a bit too dramatic for a regular Wednesday morning.  On to the airport.  The flight from Nashville to Minnesota was easy in comparison.  Other than the small plane and an apprehensive traveler to my right, however she was quite delightful and a writer no less.  I enjoyed her company and the little wink that God sent to me on that plane. 

After a four hour layover before my flight to Amsterdam I made use of my time enjoying lunch and a beer and purchasing some magazines.  Mindless reading for the weary traveler.  And no not People, Food and Wine and Runners mag, if you must know.  I'm not knockin' People here either.  Anyhow, after boarding the rather large aircraft for Amsterdam and the 10 hour flight that lay ahead of me I was overcome with anxiety.  And just the way things work a sweet gentleman was sitting next to me.  Eager to hear of my story and why in the world Best Buy would be relocating a family to Turkey I heard all about his family and his story.  Everyone has a story.  He had traveled the world and was quite the storyteller.  Yet another wink from God.  We sat on the runway for over an hour before departing.  Seems as though the pilots were new and had not been trained completely on Delta's systems.  No worries there. 

Ok, let me just pause here a moment and ask y'all a question.  How do those people, you know the ones I am talking about here, score a whole row of seats to themselves?  In the middle of the plane?  Sprawled out, sleeping with no care in the world, shoes off, blankets covering them and a load of pillows.  Hello?  No one asked me if I wanted to sleep, let alone stretch my legs.  Enough complaining.

I digress.  The flight was again smooth, yet long.  And strangely enough I felt alright.  That is until I realized the time in Amsterdam.  My connecting flight to Istanbul left in less than 10 minutes.  Boarding started 45 minutes ago when I was somewhere in the air, preparing for landing.  I pushed past people on the plane, not my usual style and a challenge for me when no one understood my English.  And then I ran through the airport in which there is not an abundance of screens shouting at you the gate and departure times.  Spoiled much?  Anyhow, I pass through security only to find that my seat has been given to another passenger.  Pardon?!  Oh and my luggage won't make it on the flight even if I do.  Here I had to supress my inner Varuca.  You know her, "I want a golden goose and I want it now", from Willy Wonka.  Bad movie reference I know.  I was her.  I felt that whine began and then I stopped myself.  Either I get on the plane and run into the arms of Husband Jared in Istanbul, or I wait, afraid and lonely in the airport.  Not in Turkey.  So, in my sweetest Leanna voice I asked if there was another seat and to the heck with my luggage.  Not really.  The luggage was scheduled for the next departing flight to Istanbul.  So I boarded the plane and flew to Istanbul. 

After a bumpy landing I was in Istanbul, Turkey.  Not my final destination.  With specific instructions on the Visa and customs line I again was thankful I had put my big girl panties on today.  Without them who knows if I would have made it through all these grown up situations.  I have never flown Internationally without Husband Jared at my side, able to navigate through the sea of unfamiliarity.  I did it. And rather successfully I might add.

Husband Jared was waiting on the other side of baggage claim for me.  Instant messaging me a thousand times it seemed asking me questions that I had no answers to.  Where is your bag?  Did they tell you when it would arrive?  Will we be able to make our flight to Izmir?  Is there a gate agent you can talk to?  Uh, I DON'T KNOW.  Yes, that was all I was ab le to say.  Seems as though my big girl panties didn't make it through customs.  And then, Husband Jared heard from his boss.  Whom not only 2 days ago had to deal with lost luggage in Istanbul.  He directed me to the correct office and we were able to problem solve together.  Ok, not really together but at least via messaging on our phones. 

A sweet agent named Arife  guided me behind the screened desk and paperwork was assigned.  After sharing all the needed information I was informed my luggage would be arriving the next day, Friday and they would send it through to the airport in Izmir.  We would be able to catch our connecting flight and continue with our travels.  I complimented Arife on her beautiful name and she told me it meant "Christmas Eve".  She was an angel.  She even marked my bag, URGENT.  Can I get an Amen here?  So, after yet another wink from God in a land unknown to me, I was feeling better.  Kinda. 

And then I saw Husband Jared.  My man was a welcome sight in such a strange place.  We boarded yet another plane together and landed safely, albeit abruptly in Izmir.  My feet were grounded.  Let the angels sing!  On our short cab ride through the city and to our hotel I had my nose pressed to the window trying to take in all the sights and sounds of our soon to be new home.  Overwhelmed would be the understatement of the year. 

That my friends is all I have to say about that, for now.  I am typing this post on Sunday morning in Izmir with a breathtaking view of the sea.  Yet I still have no luggage.  Seems there was a volcanic eruption in Iceland that halted all flights from Europe.  I must remind my inner Varuca to be grateful that she was able to board the plane in Amsterdam when she did.  Otherwise I might be writing this from some unknown "coffee shop" in Amsterdam.   By myself. 

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