As most of you know I am currently a freshman in college going to university in the United States and I will not lie to you all I feel like a baby again because I am experiencing so many things for the first time again that it is frightening but at the same time exciting. At the end of my fall semester instead of taking a bus like I did in Thanksgiving to go see my family, I was going to fly. I have flown before, multiple times but never have I flown on my own. My anxiety on a scale from one to ten was about a seven on that early morning. I could not stop feeling bad for putting my kindhearted mentor in the position of taking me to the airport such early hours of the morning. At least that lowered some of my anxiety because now I just had to worry about getting through the airport on my own.
Arriving at the airport it was about four in the morning, I thank my mentor and I wish her a Merry Christmas before I close the passenger door behind me. Pulling my purple suitcase behind me, I look back to make sure that I had everything before entering the airport. The line was not so bad to check in my suitcase, ever since I was a little girl I have been told to always arrive at least two hours before the flight to ensure that what has to get done could be done without having to stress over missing the flight. While the suitcase goes through a security check point of its own I begin to head to my own security check point. The line was again not long. For those of you who do not know when you arrive at the airport before any flight you have to check-in any bags you want to take along with you to the flight but do not want to carry throughout the journey. Then you have a carry-on that you can carry along with you onto the plane but you and that bag has to go through a separate security of its own. By protocol you have to remove all the layers that is not your pants, shirt, or socks and have to put in a tub to go through a scanner. The same procedure goes for your liquids (you want to make sure that all of your liquids are below the amount you can carry with you) and that if you are carrying a laptop to take out of the case. At this point I thought I was doing pretty well, even patting myself on the back a bit for being able to get through this all on my own. Until it was my turn to go through the scanner. At the airport they have these portable X-ray machines that swivels around you and inspects your body for any weapons or prohibited items. Since I have not been placed in one of these X-ray swivel machines, I could not stop the feeling like I was a criminal. Even after I went through the machine I had to get my head patted because I displayed signs of danger. I was not even wearing my hair up in fact I was wearing a beanie because I did not bother to brush my hair for the flight. Gathering my belongings I realized that one of my tubs did not return to me which caused me to panic. Going through security is a fast paced process so losing something during that I would not blame you. Scanning my surroundings I find my missing tub only one of the officers was holding it and I already knew something wrong was bound to happen.
Some of this conversation is altered but here is how I mainly remember.
"Those are my belongings" I state worriedly.
"I need you to step aside ma'am" the officer signals behind the scanner.
"Ma'am are you carrying any sharp weapons with you today?"
"...Not that... wait... *heart drops as the officer approaches my wallet* I have a sharp weapon in the pocket of my wallet"
"We have asked you multiple times for sharp weapons..."
"I am so sorry I have forgotten that there was a knife there. I am sorry. So sorry..." my voice softens.
"You cannot take this knife with you on the plane, do you have someone you can give this knife to? Or can you put this knife in your check-in luggage?"
"I already checked in my bag, is there a way I can mail the knife to my house?"
"There is a mailing center but we do not sale stamps."
"Okay... Well let me call my friend.."
Just when I thought there was a light at the end of the tunnel, I hit a wall. Not only was I feeling bad that my mentor drop me off early in the morning and sacrificed a portion of her sleep for me but she had to turn around and come back to pick up my knife. At this point I am not sure if I am able to get over this amount of guilt that has build up in just half an hour. In order to give my knife to my mentor I had to remove myself for the security check point meaning that once when I hand over my knife to her I have to go through security a second time. TWICE! Because once was just not enough... Even on my second time around I had to get my head patted. Now I am starting to think that there is something my head that even I do not know about. Forgetting what humiliation felt like, this day has sure reminded me of that sensation. I also lost my favorite beanie that day to top the whole disaster.
Well guys now you know that anything can pretty much go when you are traveling. If you are doing any traveling at some point of your life just remember to leave all potential weapons and prohibited items at home. Have someone check you before you are pulled away by an officer for further questioning. I actually thought I was going to put through customs and have more questions asked then I would of definitely broke into tears. I want to say that the most hilarious part of this all is that before I left my dorm room, I thought let me leave my pepper spray so I will not get stopped by the airport... Ha ha ha... Just do not give me weapons, I beg you. I only accepted to take the knife so that my parents knew I would be safe on my own. Perhaps this is my sign that I need to learn another way of defending myself without having to carry items that can hurt someone, even myself. In my head I was also trying to place myself in the officer's shoes and all that came across to me is that even the little ones you have to look out for.
How was your first experience traveling alone?