HOLDING PATTERN

storm sunset

Morning arrived far too early, particularly after a most trying night. The realisation of our having squandered the precious last few hours hit us both hard. Apologies were made and we resolved to keep going, to move forward despite the difficulties.

Months will pass until we see each other again and the lessons learned from this trip will not be easily forgotten. I would have liked to have had one more day to make up for the day we lost but I knew this was not possible. I dragged myself out of bed, stuffed whatever could fit into my small suitcase, and headed out the door by 06,30h. He then dropped me off at the airport and we parted ways once again.

The flight to Newark from Shannon was about an hour longer than usual. I ended up watching three not-so-great movies as I usually cannot sleep whilst traveling. Although I wished I had eaten more the previous day, I had to make do with what I had available to me.

The new food program offered on international flights on United Airlines introduced this month was not too bad. A three-course meal includes free wine or beer alongst crackers and cheese for the first course, a main course, and then the dessert. I had a vegetarian Indian couscous dish though I was confused as to why we were eating dinner for breakfast.

Once we arrived in Newark, I had less than two hours until my flight to Austin. I found the Flora Café I ate at last time I was in Newark but did not realize there was a newer one by my gate. As I set about to pay for my Falafel sandwich on the iPad menu, the 'waitress' came over to inform me the machine does not work and she would take my card to complete my payment.

Seeing how I was interacting with a computer as I placed my order instead of a real person, I selected 0% tip as my payment option. When the lady returned with my receipt, I noticed she added an 18% gratuity to my bill. After my protests of the added amount, she removed the extra charge.

The flight to Austin took longer than anticipated due to the thunderstorms resulting from tropical storm Bill. Once in Austin, the pilot tried to land but the force from the winds was too great. We were then in a holding pattern high above the clouds for 45 minutes. Afterwards, we were diverted to the airport in San Antonio due to the plane needing to be refueled.

In San Antonio the clouds were getting darker overhead. We were told no planes were allowed in or out of Austin for at least an hour. As we parked on the tarmac, people started to get out of their seats to use the toilets. A lady with shades of red hair was talking about having to be in Austin due to her wedding this evening at 20,00h.

Her fiancé was going to be deployed after the wedding and she said she only hoped they could be married. The flight stairs were brought to the plane and the pilot allowed anyone who so desired to leave the plane. I wonder if the lady made it to her wedding in time.

Whilst waiting, I was able to charge my phone on my laptop due to the lack of electrical plugs on the plane. I then texted my boyfriend and we had a short Skype session. Four hours after the plane was to arrive, we were finally back in Austin after the short flight from San Antonio. I then headed straight home from the airport.

In life, there will be times when we are in a holding pattern for one thing or another. Much patience will be needed but how we react to this need for waiting will make all the difference in the world.