I was planning on writing a whole nice blog about going to the Hamam yesterday afternoon and laying on a hot rock with about 20 other women in nothing but bikini bottoms while we waited for the washers to come and clean our bodies. I was going to follow-up with a bit about the amazing oil massage I got after that had me so relaxed and so happy that I left the Hamam thinking, this was the BEST thing I did in Istanbul hands down.
Then today happened.
This morning went by swimmingly. I had breakfast with my friend Oya and her cats before getting in a cab and heading to the airport. There was a bit of traffic, but nothing too unmanageable. I arrived at the airport with two hours to go before my flight took off. Awesome!
The lines to check-in were horrible, but I finally got to the counter and was told I’d have to pay 50 Euro for my second bag. Bah! The woman at JFK let me on board with both bags without payment, but you know, I didn’t complain. I mean, I knew I was going to have to pay at some point.
However, that wasn’t the problem. The problem was that they wouldn’t let me check-in at all because I didn’t have a return flight from Japan.
As you can imagine, I started to freak out. Like hyperventilating freak out. I asked what time check-in was closing and they told me at 11:50, you have 40 minutes to go to an agent and prove that you’re leaving Japan before your 90-day tourist visit runs out.
So, carrying all of my bags I dashed to information, who told me to go next door to the internet cafe place that I overpaid to use their services, but that’s besides the point, to use the internet to book a ticket.
This was no easy feat. The woman behind the counter was only helpful after I started crying. I only started crying because I couldn’t type anything correctly on the Turkish keyboard and I was running out of time. Finally, with her help, I was able to buy a ticket for under $678 getting me from Tokyo to LA on January 7th. Yeah, that’s right, I’m headed back state side on January 7th, which is a bit over three months of traveling. Not as planned, but I’ll figure it out.
That’s what I kept thinking as I booked this ticket, I’ll figure it out. For a fleeting moment I considered not bothering catching my flight, letting it go, staying in Istanbul a bit longer and then going home earlier than expected, but in 40 minutes decided that was NOT AN OPTION and went about dashing around to make this happen. To be able to write this blog post from a TGI Fridays in the Moscow airport.
As I sat on the plane and wrote notes in my journal, I realized that THIS may be the greatest flaw of Sara Stroman. I react. I react without thinking. I react without any sort of process. I just react. And that’s fine and all when it relates to thinking fast about how you’re going to get to Moscow so you can get on with your dream and there’s an interruption.
It is NOT okay when you’re reacting to other people’s emotions. Or even to your own emotions.
I am crazy. Maybe not certifiable crazy, but I’m crazy. I’ve done some crazy things in my life. And I stand behind all of them because as Mamy told me yesterday, “you’ve got a clean heart.” Because I never want to not be able to stand behind my own actions and thoughts and craziness, and also because I am a fan of quick resolution. But sometimes, just sometimes, I need to appreciate that things happen for a reason and that I have to trust the process.
Today, as I cried from stress and fear and my own fear of possibly losing this opportunity because of my own silliness and lack of follow through, I was crying from an angry place. In that angry place, I felt shame. Shame at not considering every angle of the situation. And then I forgave myself because I took action, because I made something happen in the confusion and the fear.
But what about when you can’t make something happen in the confusion and the fear? What if I hadn’t been able to buy a ticket and get checked-in and go through passport control and security, again? What if I had been stuck in Istanbul? I would have felt shame then, too? But I would have had to realize that it happened for a reason, even if that sucks and is trite, and trust whatever was to be the next stage in the process, right? Trust whatever I’ve decided to get me through the next stages. Right!
So I got on the plane and realized that crying stressed out Sara Stroman is not the Sara Stroman I want to be in the next situation. It doesn’t mean that I want to be super controlled or invulnerable either (I firmly believe that the crying allowed the girl at the internet cafe to see me at a vulnerable point and encouraged her to help me), but it means that I need to tone myself down a bit and trust myself and instincts. The fact that I am a bit crazy helps me push forward in areas that I might not otherwise, but I need to stay on the path and calmly believe in myself and the process no matter where it finds me.
For now, it finds me in the Moscow airport getting ready to take off for Tokyo. On January 7th, I’ll head back to LA and I’m sure I’ll be ready to be back home by then, but we’ll see how it all turns out. Trust the process as I go, one step at a time.
Next time, I’ll be writing from Japan and the safe cocoon of my friend Mark’s apartment. Here’s to adventure!