I was more reluctant than usual to go home this time. It gets much more difficult to say “goodbye” the more Francisco and I see each other; although we know it is more like an “I’ll see you later”. On the other hand, I was not only leaving Francisco, but also the cultural events that occur throughout the month of January AND my beloved Perfect Weather. Not to mention the memories that could have been…
It took me 2 days to get on the plane because tourists took over the Santiago International Airport. This meant that I had very little chance to board any plane in the first place since I’m flying stand-by with LAN Airlines
I had to get back ASAP because classes were going to start in a couple days; even though I totally dreaded going back to the East Coast snow and leaving behind my first South American Summer. (Have you noticed that I despise snow yet?)
The three flights I applied for with LAN Airlines
were completely booked, so my choices were to 1. Stay in Chile, or 2. Apply for the jumpseat…for a 10 hour flight to NYC.
Operation: Convince the Pilot to Allow Me to Sit on the Jumpseat.
It’s kind of weird applying for jumpseat seating since you have to be approved by the pilot. You go over to the area where the crew gets ready before the flight, awkwardly ask around for the pilot, explain your tragic story with a lot of fluff and desperate facial expressions to convey the necessity to leave that very day.
I’ve done this a couple of times as a back-up option, and in all instances, the pilot was really nice. Sometimes there are other people applying for the jumpseat, as in this occasion, but the other guy luckily boarded the plane with an assigned seat.
I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to do this, but there was no telling when I would be able to get home since everything was booked for days.
(WARNING: The comfort you see in this photo lasts about 10 minutes)
I painfully sat in the cold, noisy, non-supportive, stewardess seat for 10 hours. It was right in front of the bathroom, so whenever someone passed by and looked at me, I felt like a homeless woman looking back at them. Not to mention I was in need of much sleep and I thought my neck and back were just about close to deteriorating.
The good thing was that the stewardesses were really nice and gave me a warm comforter rather than those thin fleece blankets. There are two normal seats at the back of the plane reserved for the stewardesses for napping, and I rotated with them and ended my trip in a regular seat since it was morning and all of the crew were up and about.
Home, Bittersweet Home
Just when you though things would be better back home, from JFK, I made my way to Penn Station only to find myself waiting for a one hour delayed Amtrak train that would eventually leave me in the snow infested city of Lancaster.
When your significant other offers to let you stay at their place during the summer and you live in a different hemisphere, take the offer! Who needs a college education anyway? 😉