XpatAirportAdventure: in which I hit rock bottom

Friday night, for the second time in my life, I hit my rock bottom so hard I was profoundly grateful to genetics or God or Whatever Powers Be that I do not have substance abuse issues.

After checking in ten hours early, I was refused boarding at the very last minute on a plane to Brazil for a lucrative business trip that I needed and was depended on for. I’d followed my checklists, prepared for the work, was excited about the venue and people I’d dealt with on the client side.

I didn’t know I needed a Visa.

Such a stupid mistake.

I could say nobody told me; it wasn’t in the prep materials; I didn’t receive a letter like when I go to China for the same company… yaddah, yaddah, yaddah. That would all be true. In the end it comes down to this: I didn’t check, so I didn’t get a Visa, so I couldn’t get on the plane.

Standing there in the airport, less than 24 hours after moving out of my apartment, less than 12 hours after finding my new apartment (which I’ll move into in November), buried under things to do for the European Summit, exhausted and hopeful and everything else I regularly am… I had to make a phone call that would have been terribly embarrassing had I not already hit bottom below embarrassment. There was just what needed to be done.

Thank you to Z and L and F, who made it all work out fine and never gave me a moment’s grief about it. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

We all have coping mechanisms. I am thankful in times like these that I am not at all drawn to drink or drugs (though a single glass of a hearty red might have been nice about then). My coping mechanism? Room service and chocolate. Not in gross quantities at all. Deep breaths, a good night’s sleep, gratitude to others without whom we could not be up to big things… and really good chocolate. After all, tomorrow is another day!

I was also reminded of this Liz Gilbert video I’ve shared before, in which she describes missing a plane to deliver a keynote speech even though she was sitting at the gate, next to the door, awake throughout the entire boarding process while her name was surely being called. It reminded me that we are all human, and to have a little forgiveness even for myself.  (Do you find, too, that it’s easier to forgive everyone else?)

Liz Gilbert O!

Liz Gilbert at O!

The incident also gave me opportunity, I might add, to live Andrew’s little adage and say to myself, “Well, that sucked. What’s next?!”

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

  1. Oh the same thing happened to a friend of mine and he missed a wedding!! Thankfully you got it worked out, poor soul. Sounds like you fared pretty well considering what was at stake. Bon Courage and remember we are all a work in progress…


  2. I’m watching the video now and loving it. More importantly, I am sending you a GREAT BIG HUG. Here’s to good chocolate. My blog has a Tilda video ~ that might give you a giggle. 🙂

  3. “Life’s Roller Coaster” as I call it! The lows make the highs so much better!

  4. I’m sorry this incident brought you to rock bottom, dare I say now there’s nowhere to go but up? I’m so very proud of you, and envious and happy to know you. I very nearly went to Istanbul after our journey to Jordan last year but in the end it was not the right time to spend any more time away from home. Now I am dying to get to Turkey. You must post photographs!

  5. I have to remember to scroll allllll the way down to my X’s…it is rare that I make it through to visit everyone on the list so my apologies for missing your blog for a bit.
    So sad this happened to you. I would have been in tears had it been me. As soon as I read you remedied yourself with chocolate and room service I had that memory of the chocolate in Jordan, the ones you and I went mad for!!!! The one’s you had the hotel kitchen whip up for you to take home. 🙂
    Yup, chocolate fixes most things. Good luck at the European Summit, wish I could go. xoxoxo

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