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Peppermint Oil, Coconut Oil, Palm Oil, Agar, Guar Gum, Glycerin, Sodium Alginate, Carrageenan, Xylitol.

The Journey Home.
{Part 2}

March 25, 2020

The day before we were to leave, I wake up to what we like to call a “Kaisertag” or “King’s Day” or “Blue Bird,” not a cloud in the sky, and we get to ski my favorite place in the world! I look at my phone to find a crazy amount of text messages from family back home. “Get home.” “Change your flight, get home now,” Trump announced that he was stopping international flights starting Friday, 13 at midnight.

Dad needs to leave with us, which is my immediate thought. Hopefully, I can convince him that this is for real, and he needs to fly home with us. We spend all morning trying to get through to the airlines, trying to change his ticket online. No result. I look at my father and boyfriend and say, “we need to go to the airport today and get dad on a flight home with us tomorrow if not today.” Dad packs a small bag just in case he has to board a flight then and there to get home before Friday at midnight.

My adrenaline is flowing. We need to find a solution what are our options, driving to Frankfurt is out of the question, maybe Munich, that’s 3 hours. If we drive to Munich, all of our tickets must change. We will keep that as an option. Flying to Vienna, is that an option?

Salzburg -> Frankfurt CANCELED. I see the bold letters. What the hell, does that mean tomorrow’s flight is canceled too? My dad is flustered and asked me to speak to the ticket agent. I’m focused, I think. I walk up to the counter and explain my situation slowly. My dad is to fly out on March 19th, but I would like to change his ticket to fly home with us tomorrow, March 13th. She tells me the phone lines are down and that the airline has taken away the ability for them to book tickets or change tickets. They must call to have it done over the phone. We have to come back in an hour, and hopefully, the phones are up. I ask why the SLZ – FRA was canceled, she informed me due to the virus. Awesome, now I have to wait an hour and hope the ticket can be changed to tomorrow and then pray that tomorrow’s flight won’t be canceled.

We walk around the Red Bull Museum across the street. I’m pacing, my boyfriend and dad, their geeking out on engines and motors and whatever else mechanical they nerd out on.

We walk into the airport again, of course, it’s empty. We are in Austria; everybody goes home for an hour or two for lunch, that’s the way they roll. Only two people behind a counter, and that’s just for general information. So we wait. I tell my boyfriend to call AMEX; I ask my dad to get his computer. We try everything, but it doesn’t matter. We need to talk to the woman.

She’s back! We are third online; she checks in two people. My turn, I remind her of our situation. We give her dad’s information. The phone works! Bad news, we are told the airline can’t change the ticket because it originally was booked through an agency (3rd party). We must go through the agency to get this to change. Frustration hits. We find a quieter section of the airport. Dad sets up his computer; I dial the agency, my boyfriend is on the phone with AMEX.

I’m on hold, my boyfriend is on hold, and then my mom beeps through. I quickly tell her I’m on the phone with ticket sales, when switching I end both calls. Frustration heightens, I dial back, back on hold. My boyfriend is speaking with someone from AMEX. I think, “Ok, all things are still moving forward.” I multitask and go onto the third-party booking agent’s website. There is a notice in bold, “Please send us an email due to the overload of calls.” I send an email, I’m still on hold, wait a minute, my boyfriend is talking, what is he saying? By the time I walk over to him, he is back on hold. He is frustrated, I’m frustrated, but I am determined.

Dad calls over, “Hey, I just found this.” He’s on the airline’s website and pricing out tickets. You can’t book a one-way flight at all, only round trips. I look at him, and he says, “it’s expensive” I looked at him and said you are coming home. I ask for the AMEX, I take over and book the flight. Double and triple-checking the dates and times to make sure it is the same flights we are on. We enter the credit card info, it fails. We try again, and it fails again. “Give me the other card.” I enter the details. It goes through! I turned to my dad and squeezed him tight and said, “You’re coming home with us. We are a team.” I take the computer and run back to the desk, the woman remembers me. She looks up my dad’s information; she checks us all in for the next days’ flight. She gives us paper tickets, and that is enough satisfaction for me to know that dad is coming home with us tomorrow.

I call the family and tell them the news. I tell them all to cross their fingers and pray that tomorrow’s flight will not be canceled. There is hope. They didn’t cancel the remaining Frankfurt flights that day.

We drive through Salzburg to show my boyfriend a glimpse of the city, and we head home. My dad apologizes to me that we didn’t get to ski Sportgastein. I remind him that it was more important to get you on our flight. We get home and have a “jausen.” Dad looks at the two of us and tells us to go up to Sportgastein and to take our time. We had all night to pack and clean before leaving in the morning.

We drive up to the gate; the booth closed a half-hour ago. My heart sinks. My boyfriend sees the exit gate open, throws it into first, and speeds through the exit. We come out of the tunnel and around the bend, and there it is heaven. A place where I go, and everything melts away. Darkness is unable to survive here. It is too pure. We walk over to my meditation bench and take a seat. We get up and decide to take a walk on the “Winter Wanderweg.” An hour and a half later, we leave and head back to the house.

After packing, I reach out to one of my friends who works in Munich. She tells me that Germany is closing the borders on Monday. I tell dad, he informs me that when he went to get dinner at the grocery store, he talked to his friend, the butcher, and found out that there was a case in Bad Gastein, and they were shutting the hotel down. This is bad, very bad. We need to get out of here immediately! Our flight better not be canceled. I start running energy lines to send positive vibes that we will get home safe and sound.

I barely could sleep, who could, the panic, the adrenaline. What are we going to expect in America, will we even be able to get out of Austria?
Our flight is on-time, we put on our masks and board the bus that takes us to our first plane ride of the day. No one else has masks on, do they know what’s going on? We board. Only one-third of the plane’s seats are full. This is weird; this flight is usually a commuter flight. Something seems off.

We landed in Frankfurt. Onto the next bus, to take us to the airport terminal. We get through passport control and continue to walk to our next gate. Less than half the people have some sort of mask covering their faces. I don’t feel so out of place. We get to our gate to find merged flights and 50% off upgrades. Man, this isn’t good, airlines are feeling the loss, they are begging for money. We board, Dad is in front of me. I get the Clorox wipes and hand them out. Needless to say, my hand sanitizer has never gotten such a workout in such a short period of time. I hear people coughing, why are people looking at us? In sets paranoia.

The heighten observation of my surroundings was extreme. “Always know your surrounds,” “attention to details,” recommendations made years ago from a military friend fill my head. My head was on a swivel, but all I could think was, dad is with us. We are a team. We will be safe.

We land in Newark, I am overjoyed, we made it back to the US. However, immediately I’m struck with the question, “what are we going to encounter when we get off this plane?” Rumor has it that there are heat sensors, people testing passengers as they are getting off planes, followed by long lines, and we will all be in quarantine for 14 days, but where?!

Recommended Product

Peppermint Beadlets

Experience a refreshing, invigorating burst of Peppermint in the convenience of a dissolving beadlet. Promotes oral and respiratory health. Alleviates occasional stomach discomfort.

Peppermint Oil, Coconut Oil, Palm Oil, Agar, Guar Gum, Glycerin, Sodium Alginate, Carrageenan, Xylitol.

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