Updated: Aug 17, 2019
Sunday, March 31st, 2019
I pouted as I playing a game of Tetris with the items in my suitcase. My ability to fit everything in my suitcase and backpack astounded me and I’m actually quite impressed I was able to fit what I did and still have my suitcase only end up at 47lbs. (a quick “thank you” again, to Luce and Erica for being real with me and telling me I didn’t need to bring all the unnecessary things!)
Austin and Erika were talking with me as I packed and we were already talking about when I could come back! I definitely plan on going back at some point; even if simply for the reason that L.A.X. is a great transition/base airport!
On the way to L.A.X., Austin and I sat down at a small café for a quick breakfast and talked about life for a bit. I’m so glad that I got to spend time with Austin! He’s really comfortable to talk to and I’m so glad that my siblings and I can really talk about anything with each-other.
He sat my suitcase on the airport curb and we gave each-other a quick hug and a “I love you, see you soon!” as I walked in. I brought my bag to the counter and thankfully it wasn’t over-weight this time! Whew! I walked to security where I was met with a huge group of school girls going somewhere, so me and a hoard of people stood in line like cattle, while the girls fumbled with their passports and their teachers tried to harness the joking and silliness. I felt a little like those girls; unaware of what was ahead of me, silly and up for whatever was thrown at me and also fumbling with my passport. 😬 We slowly moved through the line, slowly stripping clothes and items before we had people scanning us for weapons and looking through our belongings, then rushing us off to our planes.
I found my gate and stopped by a shop to get water after a quick reminder from my guides that I’d feel better with a bottle of water on the plane. An hour later, they were herding us again, but this time into the metal cylinder that was going to fly us through the sky and drop us somewhere for new adventures.
I don’t really know why, but when I thought of flying to a different country, I imagined a group of people sitting with a bunch of goats, chickens and lambs on the plane with them. I was pleased to find that this was not the actually scene I found upon the plane, but instead, I found a plane full of regular people like me, who were just as eager to get off the plane as I was.
I was slightly nervous (as I tend to be) about who I’d be sitting next to on the plane, but I luckily got a window seat, and quickly fell asleep shortly after take-off due to lack of sleep the night before.
Upon waking up, I looked out my window to see gorgeous coastline and land masses under the plane. We were flying along the gulf of California.
I eagerly looked out my window to see if I could see any cool coastal resorts, but they were too tiny to really define. As I daydreamed, I felt a light tap on my shoulder. The woman sitting next to me had so kindly saved a tray of snacks that the flight attendants had brought for me. I thanked her profusely, and offered her the cheese as a thank you, but also because the "Lactaid" I had brought with me was inside my backpack which was stuffed under the seat that was close enough to my legs that I couldn’t bend over without getting whip-lash from the back of the chair in front of me. Airplane seats. There needs to be a change. 😓
Shortly before we started our descent into Guadalajara, the flight attendants handed us immigration forms to fill out. The really sweet lady sitting next to me helped me fill out the forms the right way- thank you, lady! These are forms that have your information on it to let the government know who you are, where you’re from, what your purpose for visiting is, and to cause you anxiety while you’re traveling due to a small removable piece that they hand you and that you can’t lose or you’ll be fined.
As we landed in Guadalajara, I could start to see the details of the city- there were tiny parks, pools and houses that were sprawled out around the airport. As well as a lot of controlled fires. I guess this is a normal thing for Mexico? Anyhow, the town was pretty much on fire with these controlled burns, but I imagine it's to try and prevent fires from spreading.
The next step was getting off the plane, getting onto the tarmac, riding in the bus to the terminal and then going through Immigration. I was texting Nathan as I was getting through so I could try and get an idea of what to do.
I followed the crowd of people from my plane, to the immigration desks. I walked up and the lady ask my name and where I was traveling to and how long I would be there. I quickly answered her questions as she stared blankly at me and scanned, stamped and handed my passport back, and then I was off to another line for customs.
On my way, I was greeted by two very adorable bomb/food sniffing dogs who sniffed my bags and deemed me safe to enter their country- thank you, pup pups!
I got into the long-ish line for customs, then finally arrived at the clerk and he asked for my customs form. …I had no customs form. 😐 Thankfully, there was another person in line behind me who spoke English and was able to instruct me to fill out a form for customs, get back in the line and then they would let me through.
I filled out the forms, went through the line again and brought my form to the clerk. He asked me if I had any food and I replied “no”. He asked me to press a button which either made a green or red sign light up. If it was green, it means you can carry-on to baggage claim. If it's red, it means they have to search your bags. I got green!! Woohoo! The clerk then proceeded to say that I was very pretty and that he wrote his number on my customs form and said that I should call him. 😑 Be hit-on in Mexico: Check! ✅
I quickly scuttled away before someone could decide that they should look through my things. and headed for sliding, frosted glass doors. On the other side, I was met with a huge crowd of people holding signs and waiting for loved ones and clients to step through the doors for them to greet and take off wherever they were going. I froze for a second, scanning the crowd eagerly for Nathan. I couldn't see him and my heart fluttered with anxiety and disappointment. I scrambled through the crowd of people and continued looking for Nathan’s familiar face. I got through and was met with a sweet, dimply, smiley Nathan staring back at me and ran over and hugged him. I had come home again and anything after this, would be absolutely fine because I was with him. ❤ If you know Nathan, you'll know he has a very dimply smile and it's adorable.
We then headed to the parking lot to meet up with our driver, Eduardo. 🚗
We left the airport, I watched the scenery as we drove by and realized that it’s shockingly similar to the Sacramento California landscape and if someone had simply dropped me off here without any of idea of where I was, I would have assumed it was the foothills of Sacramento. The plants and color of everything was really similar. I was thinking of home and started rummaging through my bag to get my customs form in my passport wallet. I grabbed my form and did a quick search through my bag, then another...
my anxiety spiked.
My passport was GONE. 😨
I must have looked like a cat trying to get a laser beam as I started frantically looking for it. Maybe Nathan had grabbed it? "Babe?? Do you have my passport??" to which he replied “no”. My stomach sank. I’m in a foreign country and I don’t have my debit cards, drivers license, passport or immigration visa. If we did find it, I had no way of proving my identity other than knowing the last four digits to a card in the wallet and the last four digits of my passport number and the photo in it hopefully resembling me enough to verify I was who I said I was. I started crying and texted Erica and she said to call the airport right away. I quickly found their number, dialed in, and got through to customer service and was lucky enough to get someone who understood English and I told them I had left my passport behind and it was likely in the customs area. She gave me a number to call for the customs area, and I only received a busy tone.
Nathan asked the Eduardo to go back to the airport even though we were already about 40 minutes into our drive. Eduardo was really kind and turned around and headed back to the airport. The whole way back I begged the universe, my angels and guides, to bring my passport wallet back to me safely, but my mind was also frantically going through all the scenarios. 1. They had it with everything in it and I got it back. 2. They found it, everything was in it, but they couldn’t prove my identity. 3. They found it, gave it back to me and all my cards were gone. I honestly had about 20 more that I was cycling through, but I had no idea what scenario would play out.
We arrived at the airport and Nathan, Eduardo and I all walked in and headed for customs. I tend to walk quickly because of my long legs, but I was speed-walking at this point- already gettin' some exercise in! 🏃♀️
Eduardo lead me to the customs security and he spoke to them and explained the situation. The security woman and Eduardo talked in Spanish while I eagerly awaited the result. He had apparently worked there for a little bit and knew the security officers on shift. The conversation continued and Eduardo looked at me, smiled and said they had it! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU. OH. MY. GOSH. 😭
Someone walked around the corner of the hallway with my wallet in their hand. I eagerly took it to assess the damage. I opened it to find that all my items were pristine and untouched. I was so incredibly thankful to Eduardo for driving us back to the hotel, but also going out of his way to help me actually get it back!
It was a two hour drive back to the hotel, but I was contently sleeping most of it. Upon arriving, I put my stuff in our room and then Nathan and I ran across the street for dinner. The restaurant across the street is actually a restaurant that offers “authentic American food” which made me laugh at the thought that we have so many places that sell “authentic” foods in America, and now I was on the other end of that scenario.
I ordered lemonade and guacamole and quickly realized that I couldn’t drink the lemonade because it had ice made from an unknown water source to me, but lemonade is also made from water and I wasn’t sure what the source of the water was. So sadly, my lemonade was left on the table. But the guacamole and chips was good and I'm excited to say that my mom's guacamole tastes nearly identical to Mexico guacamole! 🙌
We headed back across the street to go to sleep and we quickly got settled in our pajamas and turned off the lights.
Being in a different country didn’t feel the way I thought it would; I was met with kindness I didn’t expect, smiling faces as well as patience and I am so grateful for that.
I’m excited to see what tomorrow holds for me!