I hope you all enjoyed my last blog post, it was an epic start to my trip I must say. As I continue on with my blog series that we should dub: “The little girl’s big adventure.” or is that too simple? Let me know if any of you can think of a better one. Now with that out of the way let us continue on with the rest of the series. (Series? I feel like I’m writing a tv show. Jokes aside I think you all are anxious to know what happens next so I should just get on with it)
So let’s continue…
As I get to the airport and clear security I waited a good 10 minutes just enough to find my way to the gate before boarding for my first flight to Phoenix, Arizona. I was nervous, anxious, and a bit scared which was a bit funny since this wouldn’t be my first time flying alone or even flying across the United States as a matter of fact. It would, however, be the first time that I’ll be flying alone across the United States.
(Also a fun fact: Back in 2013 my family and I flew from San Francisco, California to New Castle, Delaware to visit my Uncle and his family)
Anyway, I’ve traveled to other countries alone and without family but flying domestically in the United States alone scared me for some reason. Plus, I didn’t want to seat next to someone I would feel very uncomfortable with (Which didn’t happen on any of my flights so I was pretty happy about that)
Once I got to Phoenix we didn’t land right away because of air traffic (Can you believe that planes also get hit by traffic too? ) I wasn’t worried so much since I had a good 50 minutes till my next flight to Chicago, Illinois. About 5 minutes later we were finally given permission to land at Sky Harbor International airport in Phoenix. Once I got out of the plane I had to check which gate I would be boarding next. Little did I know that I had to run all the way to the other side of the airport to get to my next gate (I underestimated how big Sky Harbor International airport was). Once I got to my gate I had about 15 minutes before boarding for my next flight just enough time to catch my breath, and update my family that I arrived safely in Phoenix and that I would be boarding soon.
10 minutes later, I boarded my flight and bid farewell to Phoenix to go on my merry way to Chicago, a city that I’ve always wanted to visit. Sadly enough I didn’t get to go out and explore the city, because my stopover wasn’t long enough. It was roughly a 7 hour flight from Phoenix to O’Hare International Airport. I was so exhausted from all the traveling that I ended up sleeping for half the flight which was great since I had a long 8 hour layover in Chicago. I was arriving there at about 12 midnight Central Standard Time and my flight out to Grand Rapids would be at 8:00am the next day so sleep was DEFINITELY a good idea.
I arrived safely at O’Hare International airport at 12 midnight on July 23, 2017. I was pretty happy that I didn’t need to rush to my next gate since I had about 7 and a half hours before boarding time.
So what did I do for 7 long hours all alone in a unfamiliar airport? Just read along and you’ll find out…
You’re all probably wondering why I decided to stay in the airport instead of checking into a near by hotel. Well, I thought that it was easier to just remain and explore the airport (which was pretty big) then having to go through security all over again. I’m not a big fan of airport security ’cause they terrify me, as irrational as it may be.
Back to the story…
Once I arrived at O’hare I quickly verified my boarding gate at the announcement screens (I think that’s what they’re called) and familiarized myself where it was before I finally settled down for the night. I quickly found an empty row of chairs by another gate not far from my boarding gate and sat my ass down. The awesome thing is, the area where I decided to sit had a power outlet nearby making easy to charge my laptop and cellphone saving my portable battery pack for the remainder of my trip. Once I was all settled down, I was pretty happy that the Philippines and Papua New Guinea were about 13-14 hours ahead of Chicago time so I had people to keep me company while I wait for my flight.
My father, who was back in Papua New Guinea, kept me sane (he couldn’t fly with us due to work constraints). I was alone and had no one to talk to in person and the airport was deserted, excluding a few airport employees. He chatted with me while he was at work and before he headed to bed which wasn’t till I was almost boarding for my flight to Michigan. A friend of mine who was in the Philippines also kept me company during the duration of my stay in Chicago.
About 3 hours into my layover I got a bit hungry and sleepy. It was great that a couple of fast food chains such as McDonalds and Dunkin’ Donuts were open! I bought a Large Vanilla Latte and a Old Fashion donut from Dunkin’ Donuts to keep me awake for the next four hours.
I didn’t do much while in the airport. I mostly browsed the web, talked to my father and friends, and occasionally listen to whatever was on TV. There was a TV on the wall right next to the row I was seated on. Time flew by faster than I thought and the dreaded 8 hour layover went better then I expected. In no time at all, I was getting closer to my boarding time.
7:55AM!! Finally boarding time! I was so glad that the plane was on time and I couldn’t wait to get on my final flight to Grand Rapids, Michigan. The plane ride wasn’t long; it took about 40 minutes from Chicago to Grand Rapids. It was shorter than I expected ’cause I thought it was going to be another 2 hours before I get to my destination.
Upon arriving in Gerald R. Ford Airport in Grand Rapids, MI., I contacted my friends who were going to pick me up at the airport before we head back to Battle Creek, Michigan. Battle Creek was where I was staying because that’s where one of my friends and her family lived. It was big enough to accommodate the 3 of us, my friend’s family, her adorable 3 year old. But, it was another hour drive away from Grand Rapids.
I was quiet for most of the trip to Battle Creek. I was so exhausted and needed a caffeine boost to continue on with my day so I wasn’t my usual jolly self. It was only 10:00AM EST, so I had to battle jet lag and no sleep for the rest of the day which wasn’t pleasant I must say. My friends knew how tired I was so we took a pit stop at BIGGBY Coffee Shop, a popular coffee chain in Michigan according to my friend, to grab a cup of coffee before we continue on with our drive. The coffee was amazing! (Sorry I didn’t take a photo) After coffee we continued on, because we were having lunch at my friend’s place and we didn’t want to be late AND we were all starving!
My friends family lives in a beautiful house that’s surrounded by woods, and berry bushes. It felt like we were in the middle of nowhere but it was so relaxing and pretty. The place didn’t have any creepy vibe whatsoever. I have this irrational fear of the woods because I feel like someone is always lurking and would jump out and kill me. Too much horror films and crime TV shows, I guess. I know it’s a little dramatic but I can be a bit over dramatic sometimes.
The rest of day was simple and slow. We played a card game called hand and foot, a game I’ve never heard of or tried playing before. Have any of you ever played it or have heard of it? It was fun, but I was struggling half way through the game since I was so exhausted and had barely any sleep.
PS: Even though I was really tired I loved the weather! Even if it was summer it was enjoyable! I’m a sucker for cold weather because I live in the sweltering tropics.
We ended the day early because we had to be up by 5AM the following day. We had a big day ahead of us because we were going to Michigan Adventures! It’s a theme park in Muskegon County, MI. It’s a long 2 hour drive to get there.
Stay tuned for my next adventure at Michigan Adventures and a whole lot more!!!
Also, sorry for the lack of pictures. I was really drained, so I barely took any pictures . I promise that the next few blogs will have a ton of pictures!
See you all in my next blog!
Love you all,