Monday, 4 July 2016

South Africa, day 1 - I'm not even there yet

I'm writing this from Johannesburg airport. I've been here for 8 hours now, and still have an hour and a half to go. It is not the travelling dream. After a delayed flight, horrible turbulence, a missed connection, the rudest and least helpful airport staff, a terrifying porter who followed me and hassled me for money and threatened to take my phone when I didn't give him any, I have spent the last 4 or 5 hours sitting in an airport lounge with unlimited marshmallows, waiting for my flight - 8 hours later than planned. I haven't really slept, and I've reached the point where I can't read anymore because my eyes are just blurring. I've enjoyed some jam sandwiches and lemon tea and tiny pots of melon, and I've never been so in need of actual hot food. I'm not quite sure what to do with myself. It feels a bit like an out of body experience. I've never done anything like this before, and I couldn't imagine what it would be like to travel by myself - let alone have the worst journey ever by myself. Although I'm basically a zombie and I haven't brushed my teeth in a disgusting amount of time, it's kind of fine. I mean, it's not ideal, but nothing THAT bad has actually happened. I'm still alive and I haven't lost anything (yet) and, with some luck, I'll be at the reserve tonight with all my new mates and have the best sleep I've ever had. By this time tomorrow, I hope today's antics will be almost forgotten. All the nervous, stressed, panicked and confused tears will have dried up and have been swapped for efforts to sing every song from the Lion King. 

I guess the point of this post is that I was so scared of going and all the things that could happen and, largely, they were worse than I expected (apart from actually surviving the plane journey), and I'm still pretty much fine. Sometimes the things you worry about aren't the things that you needed to have worried about, and all the rubbish stuff that ends up happening didn't even cross your mind and you were in no way prepared for. In amongst all of the crying babies on the plane, vomiting passengers, terrifying airport staff and South African Airways employees that you want to punch in the face, I also made a friend - a South African lady who kept asking me if I was ok on the plane, who offered to share her chocolate pot with me and stood with me at the airport to make sure I got through security ok. Even on the worst days there are the glimmers of hope - you know, as well as your boyfriend on the other end of the phone who you ring in floods of tears and he sorts you out. I figure it's all part of the experience, and it's all going to work out. It can only get better, right? I'm so ready for a sleep and a hug from an elephant. Fingers crossed. X

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