Take Offs and Landings

I had envisioned my arrival to Indonesia like the climax in a  romantic movie. I get off the plane, get my bags and then my boyfriend would be there waiting for me and I could drop my bags and run into his open arms…

As the wheels of the airplane touched the landing strip lined on both sides by grassy field, I’ve already unbuckled myself. I am the first one to pop out of my seat  midst the yawning and stretching passengers. I grab my backpack from over head and am racing off that plane before the lady next to me even realizes that we landed.

My pace is only hindered by the necessity to claim my possessions that will serve me for the next 18 months. Baggage trickles down the conveyor belt slower than the snail races that I used to orchestrate as a child. My eyes eagerly searching for any sign of my boyfriend. I guess that he already passed baggage claim for his flight.  I make my way through customs nervous about the champagne and copious amounts of liquid toiletries that I had brought. Luckily customs doesn’t feel like really checking anyone’s stuff today.

On the other side of this line would surely be where my boyfriend would be waiting for me. I scanned the crowd of drivers holding signs for my name, the sea of faces for Shane. He should be easy to spot in the  5 foot-few-inch high sea of  Indonesians.

ShitFuckWhyAmISoStupid Panic begins to set in as I not only fail to spot the 5’10” white guy that I am madly in love with, I also fail to spot either of our names being held up by the drivers now closing in on the fresh arrivals. Do I have Shane’s number written down? No. Do I have a phone? No, I happily cancelled it and wiped it clean a day ago before I left.  Wifi to search for it in emails, facebook messages etc? No. Every line of communication leads to a dead end.

I am just about to wander around in circles with my mountainous dolly of luggage when I make a new best friend. I don’t know my new best friend’s name, all I know is he wants to wheel around my luggage and will get me wherever I need to go, which is….

“What is the name of your hotel Ms.?”

“I don’t know.”

“What is the number? Address?”

“I don’t know, I’m really just trying to find my boyfriend, he is meeting me here.”

“Oh what is the number of your boy? You can use my phone. You call your boy. I take you to hotel”

So I lead my new best friend in a series of circles, back in to check for Shane again, back out in case we just missed each other, Look over there it says meeting place…Duh, he would be waiting for me at the place labeled explicitly for meetings. Fuck. Look for Wifi. Find a cafe. They only accept rupiah. Get dollar bills changed. Realize that I exported my contacts from my phone to my laptop…But wasn’t Shane’s number kind of messed up in my phone? Get NBFF to try to call it. No avail, guess it was wrong in there after all.

Now tears are forming behind my eyes. They’re there stinging and reminding me that if I don’t figure this out soon they will ruin my mascara just to shatter any remaining shred of my  romcom fantasy arrival in Indonesia. I just….need to get rid of this Indonesian guy that I has refused to leave my side for the past hour as I go on Andrea’s Wild Foreign Airport Ride, but if I get rid of him and I find Shane’s number then I won’t be able to call it.

I am now trailing behind my overzealous dedicated pack mule, tears streaming down my face as ladies in hijabs discreetly sneak perplexed looks at the lost tourist girl. I explain to him between sniffles that, “I just don’t know what to do…” I am about to dismiss him and find a nice dark corner of the airport to cry/live in, but I have to give the meeting point stroll one more shot before I reserve myself to a fate similar to the girls from Taken.  

 I scarcely exit the airport for the fifth dismal time attracting 2 more Indonesian airport elves to my envoy of misery, when I hear a the single most divine 3 syllable utterance sent straight from the heavens to my very own altitude damaged eardrums.


My head whips around, my heart skips a beat, and there he is, my own chivalrous prince angel, proof that some kind of cosmic power can be contacted and appeased through public display of tears. I wrap my arms around Shane for an sweaty embrace only the thick humid air of Indonesia or Bikram Yoga could make possible.

It definitely was a  bumpy and turbulent landing, but now I am ready to takeoff in a new land, and will remember to better prepare my landing gear next time.

4 thoughts on “Take Offs and Landings

  1. You are a great writer Andrea. we are really looking forward to reading your blog. My favorite line, “Now tears are forming behind my eyes. They’re there stinging and reminding me that if I don’t figure this out soon they will ruin my mascara just to shatter any remaining shred of my romcom fantasy arrival in Indonesia.”


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