Finally – it is time to go home! My last stretch of airports is upon me as I fly from Warsaw to Munich. My flight in Warsaw is delayed by almost an hour and I sprint across terminals trying to catch my critical connecting flight – and I miss it.
I stand in line for probably at least another hour before learning that there are no more flights out of Munich to Vancouver for another 24 hours. I had been so mentally prepared to go home that I almost cried on the spot – I had no more money to spend on hanging out in Europe and I didn’t want to get a free night in a hotel only to have to spend an entire day in the airport trying to kill time the next day while I waited for a flight. So, I met with a very kind German customer service fellow who offered me an alternative: Fly to Frankfurt, stay the night, fly to Vancouver the next morning.
The weather is beautiful and the highway driven on speedily as I make my way to my final hotel – it is a very cushy establishment, and those of us who missed our flights are eager to exchange our free dinner vouchers for the buffet.
I make some friends from Serbia who are also sleep-deprived and trying to get to the United States for contract work. They invite me to sit with them for dinner and breakfast and we exchange quirky cultural stories about our homes.
Finally, though, the next morning: Our shuttle arrives at the hotel and we (speedily) make our way back to the airport in Frankfurt. Almost giddy with anticipation, I rush towards security and find myself on an Air Canada flight – Lufthansa had treated me well, but there was something extra-sweet about this flight bearing my destination’s name. I sat next to a lovely German family who were heading to Canada for the first time ever and would be landing on Canada Day as well as visiting Calgary during the Stampede – both of which were factors they were not aware of when booking their two-week trip. My excitement for them made me even more anxious to get home!
The flight itself was not very interesting, but the final moments as I watched the coast draw nearer and took in the beautiful decor of my home airport were so exciting! And my small welcome crew with hugs, a balloon, and cameras made it all the more worthwhile to finally, tiredly walk those final steps to home.