I Know What Freedom Feels Like — Part III
I want to preface the coming blog post by saying…everything is falling into place. I try to be careful about sharing what I am doing because telling people my crazy plans always ends in questions and doubt. But, I trust you and you can’t question me to my face. So here’s an update: in my scheme to move to the Dominican Republic, I have 1.) bought my plane ticket, 2.) landed a remote writing job and 3.) saved more money than I ever have (I won’t tell you how much, you’ll laugh).
Things are going well, so far. I could jump for joy, but I’ll wait.
I did promise I would share the interesting experience at the Miami International Airport. It was highly uncomfortable for me, but I will turn it into a funny story. Just for you.
Photo from Unsplash
I walked with wobbling knees off the airplane and through the hot ass tunnel that leads to the inside of the airport. Just to recap, I have just finished my first ever plane ride. I was scared to death, but my repeated desperate prayers safely landed the plane, and I was alive. That was more than I could ask for.
Now, I thought that was it for me. But little did I know what was waiting for me at MIA. Not only did I have to make it to my connecting flight in time to make it to my destination, but I also had to walk 30 miles to get to the gate. That place was mad big — I have never walked so many steps in my life (inside or outside).
I walked for a good long minute and never wanted to walk again after I sat down. On top of that, I had this janky carry-on that made walking normal complicated as hell for no reason. Did I pack five months' worth of clothes for a 13-day trip into a small Amazon carry-on? Yes, but there was no way that was the issue. Couldn’t have been. (Insert side-eye here.)
You would think I was finally comfortable and rid of all of the traveling jitters I was experiencing, but no. Hell no. Aht, aht. MIA was a different kind of pain in the ass.
Oye, hablo un poco de español pero I was not ready for the abrupt change from English everything to Spanish everything. Everyone sitting at the gate was Dominican or Spanish-speaking (just a guess, but I am almost 100% sure). I had never felt like more of a gringa than in that moment. My Spanish level was not adequate for the situation, and I wanted to cuss and cry.
That wasn’t even the worst of it. Despite my not knowing what the hell anyone was saying when the boarding process began, I got in line with my boarding group. Mind you, the line is long as hell and I am standing out because I am alone, and I don’t have a drop of Latinx blood flowing through my veins. So, who is this confused-looking gringa hopping on the plane?
You’d think I had the word gringa on my forehead the way people were staring. While I stood in line, the little girl standing in front of me turned around and stared at me (directly in the eyes) and did not move. I didn’t know whether to cuss her out in Spanish or awkwardly smile so I just stood there and looked back. And we just stood there staring at each other. How awkward is that shit?
Finally, I get to the attendant checking passports and boarding passes and this nigga has an attitude. Talking to me like I was responsible for every inconvenience in his life. (Apparently, this is common when you fly economy, but I was unaware.) Now, I didn’t know whether I should knock him out with my carry-on or be non-confrontational, but I chose the latter. Between him, the little girl staring at me, and still having to ride another plane, I was over it.
I take my seat on the plane and don’t hear anything but Spanish. I pop my earbuds in and sit there, mentally preparing myself for the next part of the game: landing in another country for the first time.
This is the second or third to last part of this story. Well, of my first trip to the Dominican Republic. I’ll share more stories of my experience being there and soon I’ll be writing about my new life there. See ya next time.