Just waiting to go....
And so I sit here - alone in Helsinki. The group has all split and gone their separate ways - Ellen days before us should be home now, Malinda and Tara are flying to London to connect to their flight home to Chicago (and nearly missed their flight due to a major delay taking off from Bangkok and fog on the ground here in Finland), and Cory and Ally are off to Manchester to connect to their flight home. I am the last one here and it is so quiet (not just because I was sitting next to Cory on the flight from Bangkok - ha ha). The airport is quiet - still. I didn't know quite what to expect for a Sunday morning in Finland.
I am thinking over the last 30ish hours. We left Cha Am (thank you Jesus - I don't think I will ever go there again), and had a very bumpy bus ride to Bangkok. So bumpy that I hit my head on the roof of the van several times and nearly peed my pants because I had to go so badly and the ride was so bumpy. Just as I was at the point of pulling out a plastic bag to go in, we stopped to get gas (it took nearly an hour - what's up with that?) and I had a much needed break. I think that may have been the point that I started to get really sad. I didn't want to leave Thailand. I have not done everything I wanted to do, and am just starting to get it all figured out. As much as I love everyone back home, I want more time.
Getting to the airport was surprisingly easy - we caught the rail and made one change, which took us right to the airport. So - we had some five hours to kill before we could even check in with the airline. I wandered the airport - listening to music and watching people. Such a diverse place - full of travelers from absolutely everywhere. Ally and Malinda got the attention of Iranian travelers with their card games while we waited. Cory got laughter from a Thai woman because his name means something dirty (that's what he told me - and his sources may have been sketchy on that one). Everything seemed to happen in slow motion, yet time was just ticking away.
I cried in line getting my ticket. I cried after we passed through security. Cory suggested that we have some drinks - so we got some cheap Thai rum (duty free) and cokes and sat and drank. And drank some more - two bottles - not the big ones, but two nonetheless. We drank until my tears were tears of laughter, and had one of those conversations that will stay with me for a long time. We were a bit obnoxious on the plane - laughing while people were trying to sleep. Cory pissed off the woman in front of us - the same woman who refused to switch seats so we could sit together - and was rewarded with the nastiest look ever. Never one to stand down, he retaliated throughout the flight by getting up frequently and making sure to grab the back of her seat each time he did so (I would have been pissed off too, if I were her). But, it was sheer entertainment for me. I was trying to hang on to the laughter for as long as I could before it all came to an end.
We all barely had time to say our goodbyes before we split off. I said a prayer for all of them and for myself that we arrive home safely and changed for the better.
And here it is right now - four and a half hours to go until I board. Not a long time, but enough for some reflection. Still tearful as I write this, I am in dire need of a nap and a shower. I have been in the same clothes since leaving Cha Am (it seems like a lifetime ago). I am sure I am a little jet lagged and hungover as well, but that is ok. Yesterday - or some day that isn't right now - I heard that Brad Pitt said once that he likes to embrace the messiness of life. That is what I am doing and have been doing this past month. I have been through the ringer of emotions, been scared, lonely, stuck, withdrawn, sick, loud, and very messy. But I have known such joy. Such laughter. Such life.
That is what I hoped to get from all this, and I am not the least bit disappointed.