Sorry about not keeping you as updated as I said that I would. Things have been crazy busy....
I was asked to attend the 12th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates' because I was being awarded the first Medal for Social Activism - how cool?
So we left last Friday for CHICAGO!! Again, how cool?
it did take us 30 hours to get there and 30 hours to get back - 2 hours to Johannesburg; 1 hour waiting in the plane; 12 hours to Istanbul; 6 hour layover in Istanbul; 10 hours to Chicago; and then all that in the opposite direction to get home (it's okay, you can say it, ARE YOU CRAZY??!!) I think we were a little bit. But it was totally worth it! Even though we were only in Chicago for four days.
There was clearly drama...
I mean, what would life be without drama. It keeps life a story worth telling.
My drama was wheelchair drama. It's becoming a trend that whenever we travel my wheelchair decides to do something stupid. I'm not sure I like it, but hey, what can you do?
The first thing that happened was in Istanbul. When we arrived, I had been awake for close to 28 hours ( I woke up at 5 on Friday morning to finish some school work to hand it in before I left for Chicago). So, I was a little tired...
We get off the plane and the PAU people put me into a regular 16 inch wheelchair. Not my own chair. This is the point where we should have known that there was a problem because nobody understood what we were saying from the time we set foot out of the plane. They told us that my wheelchair was waiting for me at the 'disabled resting place'. We figured everything was cool. How wrong can a person be?
On our way, we went through customs and they started to wipe down and check the wheelchair...This is when I started wondering. Why would they check the wheelchair if it belongs to the airport? They generally don't do that. When we got to where we were meant to be, there was no wheelchair in sight, mine anyway.
I got a little nervous at this point. We were sent to various people that were supposed to tell us where my chair was. The second information desk was my undoing. The man there asked my mom if the chair was for her...
That was the end of my being in control of my emotions. I started crying. Now, keep in mind that I actually just wanted to be sleeping as that was my 29th hour of being awake, and then you add the stress of not knowing where my wheelchair, my legs, was. It was just too much.
Nobody understood why I was in such a state. REALLY??
Eventually, we got to the Turkish Airlines Transit Desk, where they sort out all problem-passengers. We told them our whole story and the first thing they ask is where we're going. So we told them, Chicago. They informed us that the chair had a tag that said Copenhagen.
They had given me somebody else's wheelchair! What?
This all happened before 6:30 in the morning.
The Copenhagen chair was meant to be on a flight at 8. So we were fighting for somebody else as well as myself. Just imagine the state I was in. I was hysterical in tears and laughter. Interesting place to be emotionally, I have to say.
Then....this amazing man (pretty too) who spoke not one word of English, understood the situation. He told his people to tell us that he knew what was happening and he would find my chair and put it on our next flight. Could have kissed him!
We got another chair for the 6 hours. And the other chair went to Copenhagen. Let me tell you that things like this are the reason that I got the Medal for Social Activism. Not easy stuff. It's super stressful, but in the end it's so worth it.
When we got to Chicago and I saw my wheelchair I had a little party all by myself. Arriving at the hotel, my wheelchair battery had no power. We tried to charge it and it didn't work. So we thought that the chair was damaged. Turned out that it was the charger not working with the electrical current in the US. Crisis averted.
Coming back was less eventful. I got my wheelchair for the 6 hours in Istanbul. But we did nearly miss our next flight because the wheelchair people didn't come to fetch us.
As I said earlier, what's life without drama?