Sunday, September 4

Journal: Tuesday August 23

I’m writing this portion a couple of days after it actually happened, just because this is the first time that I’ve gotten to compose.

Tuesday morning started very early for me, at about 4:30. Now I can better understand and relate to what my parents go through when they come to Dallas from Guatemala and have to get up early. For an 8:00 flight, we had to leave the house by 5:30, since we had to be at the airport by 6. And, since I value my showers, and since I’m sure my fellow passengers also value it when I take showers, I got up at 4:30. Anyway, getting ready went fairly smooth.

We got to the airport by 6 and made it to the check-in line for American. That line was moderately long, so it was about half an hour before I made it to the actual check-in desk. This time though, I asked the check-in person for an English speaking assistant. To my surprise, this woman, named Ingrid, ended up volunteering to walk me through to the gate.

The next part I’m a little ashamed to admit, mainly because I wasn’t thrilled how things ended up going, but pleased. Ingrid suggested that if I were to ride in a wheelchair, that it would be lots easier in going through security. I wasn’t convinced of this until my parents told me that the security line was very long, and that it might have taken easily an hour to go through normally. So, I took the wheelchair, under protest.
And, it was quicker and easier. I almost blew my cover though when a security man was feeling around me in the chair. I thought of offering to stand up, but then I remembered my situation, and said nothing. If I had stood up, then that would have messed up my chair image I suppose. Anyway, my parents couldn’t go with me through security and we had to split up. That was hard. I’m not sure I realized just how hard until my Mother leaned over me and was crying. My Dad didn’t cry, but he was sad as well. As I was being pushed off, I kind of felt like I do when going to surgery in the hospital. Since in that situation, there’s a point when you’re separated from your loved ones, and you are pushed onto the O.R. This left me with the same feeling. It was then that I was filled with sadness, but I knew I couldn’t be with them forever.

The rest of the airport time went fine, up to when I boarded. The plane trip coming back went smoothly as well. I found that I was more tired that I had realized though, since by this point, I had been up for 3 and a half hours. The in-flight movie was actually one I recognized and had seen before, “Hitch.” But, since I was tired, I slept for an hour or so, and then did a little work on my PAC Mate note taking device. The rest of the flight was uneventful.
The plane arrived about 25 minutes early at DFW Airport though, so we taxied around the airport until we could go to our gate assignment. Since we arrived early, there was still another plane there. Anyway, when I finally deplaned, I discovered that whoever had been called to assist me through immigration and customs, was not there. I ended up waiting about 20 minutes for the proper person to be called. My older brother Neil, who came to pick me up, later told me that he was wondering where I was and was about to check out where I might be, even though he couldn’t go too far in the airport since he didn’t have a ticket. Anyway, the man who was to help me finally came and we were off. What I liked about this guy was that he had dealt with blind people before, and was very good in giving me information about the immigration/customs process.

Going through immigration wasn’t that hard, though it was far more information rich than it was in Guatemala. After answering a few simple questions about my visit and if I had brought anything back, and what, I was on my way to baggage and then to customs. Customs was even simpler than immigration, where a woman basically just looked over my papers and then said, “Welcome back.” And then my escort and I were on our way to meet Neil, which we did soon after that.

And that’s my trip. I saw a lot, learned a lot, and got to spend some good time with my parents. I’d like to go back to Guatemala at some point, but it may not be for another 2 or so years, since it does cost quite a bit. Though I bought my tickets a month ahead of leaving. If I had purchased them even further in advance, I might have actually paid a reasonable price. Oh well. That’s all I have to say about the trip. Hope you enjoyed reading it.

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